LB: Another Reason to Love Your Union or Guild

(Palliative Care now available via Writers Guild of America West & East)

by Larry Brody

In this case, I’m talking about my particular guild, Writers Guild of America West. With a very few exceptions, I feel well taken care of by these folks.

(Yeah, that sentence you just read is mostly for those new writers who keep asking me, “But why should I join the Guild?” There are many other reasons as well.)


A close relative of mine just ran an obstacle course made up of the kinds of Palliative Care talked about here. It seems to me that if she’d been eligible, i.e. a WGAW member, the process would have been much less stressful to her and her family.

LB: Live! From Paradise #211 “The Cloud Creek Gang”

(Image from the intro to this column's previous web incarnation)

by Larry Brody

I love when I learn something.

Especially when it’s completely unexpected.

Today’s case in point comes courtesy of the group of creatures Gwen the Beautiful and I have begun calling “The Cloud Creek Gang.”

Huck the Spotless Appaloosa.

(Let’s hear it for Emmy the Bold!)

Rosie the Romantic Arabian.

Emmy the Bold.

Decker the Giant Hearted.

Belle the Wary.

And Ditsy Dixie, the young yellow Lab who gives not one hint of being anywhere near growing up.

What is it they’ve been ganging up together to do?

Ah, that’s what I’ve just learned.

Thanks to a nifty little gift given to me by Youngest Daughter Amber’s Boyfriend. A strap-on headlight I can wear to see into nooks and crannies in the house and across our property while keeping my hands free.

Yep, I look like an idiot wearing it. Absolutely. But without my headlight I never would’ve known what the Gang was up to when the dogs barked and growled and yowled in the night.

Without it, I would’ve (and did) believe I was saving the dogs from the horses, and the horses from the dogs, when, at two or three in the A.M., their frenzied noise forced me to wake up and stumble downstairs and outside.

There I would see shadowy dog forms leaping at equally shadowy horses whose heads were pushed over the fence separating the backyard from the corral. Worried about the safety of all the creatures involved (and eager to get back to sleep, glorious sleep!), I would call the dogs and they’d come running inside.

Decker and Belle would curl up on the floor of the great room, while Emmy and Dixie bounded upstairs to hog as much space as they could on our not-so-big bed. Secure in the knowledge that I’d prevented at least one if not several veterinary emergencies, I’d get back under the blankets with Gwen and snore away—

Until a couple of hours later, when the dogs would sound off again as though the most life-threatening critters anywhere had appeared on the porch and, with more than a little encouragement from my worried wife, I’d rush down and let them outside again.

It was no easy gig, the Doggy Doorman thing.

Until a couple of nights ago, when I discovered what really was going on. I woke up before the barking started and, driven by my unending curiosity, I strapped on my new headlight and slipped outside to see Huck moseying across the corral to the fence with Rosie right behind.

I’d always thought the horses and dogs spoke separate languages, but in the new illumination, I watched as Huck looked over at Emmy and called out with a whinny. “Emmy? You ready?”

“Absolutely,” Emmy barked.

Huck turned to Rosie. “Ready,” she said.

Emmy whined at the other dogs. “Ready,” they too said.

Ms. The Bold turned back to Huck. “Go for it, my friend.”

Huck made a sound like a laugh, and there went his head, over the fence and then down toward the grass. Immediately, Emmy pounced at him. But Huck was faster than she was. She got nothing but air as he jerked his head up.

Huck nickered, like another laugh. “Missed!”

“Try again, big guy,” said Emmy, and she backed away just a bit to give him room, even as the other dogs moved in closer.

Huck did his head-over-the-fence thing again, and beside him Rosie did the same. Emmy and the other dogs sprang at them—

And the usual wild cacophony ensued, animal voices punctuated by hoofbeats as the horses pounded the turf and bucked and reared, keeping the dogs at bay. Only Dixie came close to either of their faces, by springing up and down like Tigger in the old Disney Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons.

“Stop!” I roared. And, to the dogs: “Get over here! Now!”

Three dogs rushed to me. Only Emmy held back, and that was for just a few seconds, a time so short I wouldn’t have noticed it if not for the headlight. A few seconds in which she turned back to Huck and winked. “Thanks, Hucky,” she said.

“See you in a few,” was Huck’s reply.

But he didn’t see them till after sunrise. Because when the dogs made their “We’ve got to get out of here! Now!” move, neither Gwen nor I responded.

Because now we knew the truth. Danger? Ha!

Nothing was going on out there but the four-legged Cloud Creek Gang having fun.

My experience has taught me that– Part 1

(image by Nataliya Vaitkevitch via Pexels.Com)

…The four most exciting words in the world are:

“And then everything changed.”

…The four most frightening words in the world are:

“And then everything changed.”

Your mileage, of course, may vary. God knows that I go back and forth from one of these responses to the other at least a dozen times a day because:

“It’s all about moving along, yeah?”


Happy as Larry!

Received a get well card earlier this week from a friend who surprised me by saying:

Get well soon! We need our Larry to be as happy as Larry again!

I thought that was a weird phrase so of course I asked everyone’s good buddy Google about it. Turns out that once upon a time this was a common phrase in the UK. Here’s just a part of what LiteraryDevices.Com had to say:

The phrase “as happy as Larry” means a very happy person. The phrase is most suitable for the person who always remains happy, laughs a lot even when the things are not in their favor. Also, the phrase is used as a simile to compare a person’s happiness.

Phrases.Org.UK goes into more detail, explaining that the first literary use of “as happy as Larry” “is from the New Zealand writer G. L. Meredith, dating from 1875 or so: ‘We would be as happy as Larry if it were not for the rats’.”

I’m grateful to both sources for informing me that the phrase probably originated in Australia and was based on one (or, perhaps, both) of the following:

  1. An Australian boxer named Larry Foley (1847-1917), who, depending on the storyteller, was happy because he never lost a fight, or because he won a purse of £1,000 in his last bout
  2. The Cornish/Australian/New Zealand word “larrikin,” used as slang for someone who enjoyed “larking about”

As someone who has indeed enjoyed larking about, I’m partial to the second explanation. But I also feel honored by the comparison to such a fine figure of a man as the historical Larry Foley, who clearly was my kind of guy, as shown in my brand new signature icon here:


What do you think? Is this a viable way to represent “Happy as Larry” Brody?