To Pick or to Pluck?

I’m an insomniac. It began when I had babies and tossed around in bed awaiting their cries. Through the years my insomnia has escalated for a number of reasons: the sound of a dog about to heave all over my comforter, the howls of coyotes, or the raid of my garbage can by a raccoon. While these are contributors, the major cause is my own mind. Even when I’m overly tired, the moment I lie down, my mind speeds into overdrive. Sometimes I relive a memory or a recent encounter, but most of the time, I contemplate nonsense. Do penguins have toenails? If tomatoes are fruit, then is ketchup a jelly or a jam? Does an owlet know its an owl? And three or four hours later, I’m still awake foraging the refrigerator for a 4:00 AM snack, followed by another bathroom break.

This week was the bulk trash pick-up in my ‘hood, which occurs only 4 times a year. It is heralded as the time to have the landscape thoroughly pruned, with tree limbs and miscellaneous debris left at the side of the road to be tossed in the voracious garbage monster truck. This is also the time to place at the road all the no longer-wanted stuff, like old mattresses, broken patio furniture, old tools, TV’s, sofas, bookcases, etc.

Many things never get eaten by the garbage monster, for folk cruise the neighborhood looking for treasures. Last night, as I was contemplating what needed to go to the road I wondered: “Are those folk who scavenged others’ trash pickers or pluckers?” Hmm. My mind ran rampant! I pick the guitar or banjo strings, but I pluck the harp’s. I pick my nose (when I was young), but I pluck my nose hairs. So do I pluck or pick the bookcase from the refuse?

Agreed. Obviously, my insomnia has reached a new low, but it forced me out of bed again. After a quick stop at both the bathroom and the refrigerator, I chose a dictionary. (No, I wasn’t turning on the computer at 3:00 AM. My cell phone and iPad were sound asleep. Why wake them? Sometimes, I enjoy perusing through a book.) I found pick was defined as choose or select, while pluck was defined as remove or pick. Now, I know; it’s as clear as San Francisco fog!

On a more positive note, I spent the next three hours reading random stuff in the dictionary, where I learned about soursop trees and that Carry (not Carrie) Nation wielded an axe to smash bottles and furnishings in saloons. I was startled awake by the doorbell. As I stood to answer it, I tripped over the dictionary. Ye gods, it’s noon.

Maybe tonight I write a nursery rhyme: Peter Pipe, porch pirate picker-plucker, picked and plucked a pack of purple packages…. Ye, Gods! Hope Amazon doesn’t switch to purple boxes.

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