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December 9, 2006
Our boarder was seized with a sudden determination to earn his keep, and washed all the pots from a three-soup cooking binge with which I had been seized earlier in the day. In his zeal, he emptied a large pot of perfect chicken stock, which had been cooling on the counter, right down the drain. I only discovered this when I went downstairs after "Washington Week in Review" and saw that pot gleaming in the drainer. Hmmn...where's my stock? I wondered, and then realized that he hadn't known what it was and had sent it down the drain into oblivion. Cooling chicken stock looks like...well, like not much. Not much like anything you'd want to eat.

Oh, well. I use cheap chicken parts to make it, and can easily go and get some more. It's not as though making chicken stock is hard -- you just toss everything into a big pot and bring it to a boil. You let it bubble quietly on the back of the stove for a couple of hours and then you strain it. You let it cool before you decant it into convenient containers, which is where our boarder came in.

A year was what we offered, and the year is almost up -- he arrived in late December. A year might have been enough to get on his feet, with some good decisions along the way, but he doesn't always make the best decisions and so he is not on his feet yet.

But he's also not flat on his back. He remains clean of the drug habit that gripped him throughout all the years in which a person usually figures out how to navigate the world. He has worked more than he has not, though not at a job that will lead much of anywhere -- such jobs are hard for a person like our boarder to find.

We shall see. The jury is still out on our boarder, as it is still out on all of us. What will you do today? Will you make a mistake? Will you be at the wrong place at the wrong time? If so, it'll cost you, but you will probably recover more quickly if you are middle-class and prosperous than if you are not. We don't fall as far or as fast as the poor do, and our landings are usually a lot softer.
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