Hank Howls About Decisions

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One autumn evening, when I was nine years old, my parents told me that I would be alone in the house while my dad took my little brother to Indian Guides, and my mom went to bridge club.  The three of them quickly left, and there I was, alone at night for the first time.  From my spot on the couch, I could see the stairs leading up to the second floor.  The steps made a right turn near the top, and all the lights had been turned off on the second floor.  As I looked up at the dark on the top of the stairs, it occurred to me that there could easily be a dangerous man watching me from behind that curtain of darkness.  Then I thought about the basement, an area certain to contain several monsters if not more.  As the minutes went by, I became more frightened.  I was virtually surrounded by dangerous creatures.  My very life was in mortal danger.

That’s when I made the decision that saved my life.  I bolted for the front door and ran out into the night.  If those monsters wanted to eat me for dinner, they were going to have to catch me first!  I walked around the neighborhood until my parents came back. Then went home and lived happily ever after.

The plots of many novels hinge on the decisions made by the main characters.  As a reader, perhaps you’ve found yourself sending mental rays of concern to the protagonist of a book to help them make their decision.  ”Don’t go in the basement!  Don’t bet all the orphanage’s money on Fireball in the ninth race!”  Of course, what makes the novel interesting is the protagonist often does those things that you don’t want them to do.  Then you have to read the rest of the novel to find out what happens. Here are a few books in which decisions play a major part of the plot.



Sophie’s Choice by William Styron     The term “Sophie’s choice” has become an idiom meaning the necessity to choose between two unbearable options.  In this major novel, Sophie recounts her experience in a concentration camp and the time when she was forced to choose which of her children would live and which would be killed.

Poisonwood Bible*  by Barabara Kingsolver      In the 1950′s a strong-willed Baptist preacher moves his wife and four daughters to  the Congo.  Each chapter is narrated alternately by the wife and four daughters.  As the missionary dream turns into a disaster, each of the female protagonists must make decisions to cope with the situation.

Huckleberry Finn* byMark Twain     In this satire of the antebellum South, Huck must decide whether or not to help his friend Jim, who is a slave, escape.   What makes this decision difficult for Huck is that he has been brought up to believe that anyone who helps a slave get away will go to hell.  This classic is worth reading again and again.

Into Thin Air*  by Jon Krakauer     In this true adventure a group of mountain climbers becomes trapped by a storm near the summit of Mount Everest.  Leaders of the expedition can only save a limited number of climbers.  Which ones will they choose, and what happens to those who are left to their own devices?

Deliverance* by James Dickey     Four middle-aged men take a white water canoe trip. Only one of them, Lewis,  knows what he’s doing.  Two of the men get into a confrontation with a couple of backwoods  assailants.  This is the infamous “squeal like a pig” incident.  One of the locals gets killed and the men are forced to decide whether to hide the body or take a chance on a trial in that inbred area of wilderness.  Additional misfortune follows as Lewis breaks his leg, the men are waylaid by the surviving assailant and more.

* I have read and enjoyed these books.


from  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_humor.html#vmms0e23Rqrv7lFE.99

A joke is a very serious thing.
Winston Churchill

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
William James

from cleanjoke.com
A man goes into a bar with his dog. He goes up to the bar and asks for a drink.The bartender says “You can’t bring that dog in here!” The guy, without missing a beat, says “This is my seeing-eye dog.”"Oh man,” the bartender says, “I’m sorry, here, the first one’s on me.” The man takes his drink and goes to a table near the door.Another guy walks into the bar with a Chihuahua. The first guys sees him, stops him and says “You can’t bring that dog in here unless you tell him it’s a seeing-eye dog.”The second man graciously thanks the first man and continues to the bar. He asks for a drink. The bartender says “Hey, you can’t bring that dog in here!”The second man replies “This is my seeing-eye dog.” The bartender says, “No, I don’t think so. They do not have Chihuahuas as seeing-eye dogs.”The man pauses for a half-second and replies “What??! They gave me a Chihuahua??!”
A Minnesota couple decided to vacation to Florida during the winter. They planned to stay at the very same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday. His wife would fly down the following day.The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her e-mail address, and without realizing his error, he sent the e-mail.Meanwhile…..somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister of many years who was called home to glory following a sudden heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she fainted.The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: 16 May 2003
I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is not as uneventful as mine was.



Author: hank

I am married with two daughters and one grandchild. After teaching in the inner city of South Bend, IN for many years, I now work at the St. Joseph County Public Library. I started keeping track of the books I read when I was sixteen years old, and now have read over 1700 books with a page count of more than 500,000.

One Comment

  1. That e-mail joke! Ha! These are all great books in your Decisions blog.

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