There are some things we overhear in our daily lives that stay with us, and sometimes they impact our writing.

“I understand Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals. I don’t know who invented glasses, but Franklin, he did the bifocal part.” This came from Cliff, an old neighbor of mine. Old men remember the strangest things, and this trivia is only interesting when you hear it from them. If I tried to tell someone in a bar that Ben Franklin invented bifocals, I’d be laughed at.

“Oh, crumbs!” This was exclaimed by a well-manicured blonde Southern woman. It’s obviously a word used to avoid saying shit. Why choose crumbs? Maybe it’s a motherly word.

A man who had a hernia coming out of his belly button called the extra flap of skin his  “yankerhorn.” He didn’t know where he was, or what day it was, but he knew to call it his yankerhorn. His wife hates that he calls it that.

“I skated like Tonya Harding today.” A young, short, flamboyant Asian man wearing pressed and pleated chinos told me this. He chose Tonya Harding, the woman who broke Nancy Kerrigan’s legs. Not Kerrigan, the victim. No, he chose Harding, the one who’s been on Celebrity Death Match.

What have you overheard recently that might have triggered new writing?

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