Friday Five

1. Crazy in Love. I’m totally flattered that the folks over at accepted one of my essays for publication. This week’s theme is Best Subway Stories. My piece has everything you could ask for in a subway story: love, intrigue, drama. Oh, also a pocket knife and a missing ear lobe.  And it’s completely true! When you’re done here, please click through to the piece and let me know if you would have done differently.

Just as the doors closed a guy and his girl wandered into the car. Let’s see…how to accurately describe them. Disheveled? No, not messy enough. Slothful? No, not lethargic enough. Insolent? Not rude enough. Well, suffice it to say it was clear that they were only up that early in the morning because they had been up that late.

This essay is part of my e-book collection The Subway Chronicles: More Scenes from Life in New York available on Kindle worldwide.

Do you have any crazy public transit stories? 

2. Drum roll, please. In case you missed it, last week was the Third Annual Great Books to Give…and Get. If you have some difficult-to-buy -for folks on your holiday list this year or if you want to send Santa a big old hint, there’s nothing better than a good book as a gift.

For the first time this year, there was a giveaway, too! One lucky commenter will win a book of his/her choice from the list.  (Hey, this is exciting!)

First I tried to get Reggie to choose the winning name from a hat, but then he ate the pieces of paper, so that didn’t work out. I decided to get a little more official, this being the first giveaway and all.  I entered each commenter’s name in

And the winner is…our favorite coffee drinking, LL Bean wearing, baton twirling

Darla from She’s a Maineiac

Darla, I’ll have my people get in touch with your people.


3. Your bookshelf.  Since we’re talking about books, I have to say that, despite my efforts to pare down over the years, my shelves are wedged tighter than a toothpick between two molars. My e-reader helps immensely with this problem, but many times I still want the physical book. Then I am loathe to get rid of any books I already have. Which is silly. I mean, am I really going to read that copy of The Canterbury Tales again, the one I haven’t touched since high school? How about the book I picked up because the reviews were good, but I couldn’t even finish it? What does this say about me?  Furthermore, what do my shelves say about me?

They do say something, don’t they? On Thanksgiving, I was invited to a friend’s house for the Big Meal.  I hadn’t been inside their apartment before. Immediately I gravitated toward a series of bookshelves and checked the spines.  An array of classic children’s books.  Art books. A few popular non-fiction titles and a volume by Bill Bryson. No Between Shades of Grey. Whew. I think we’ll all get on just fine.

Thessaly LaForce has just published a book called My Ideal Bookshelf (illustrated by Jane Mount) about our bookshelves. She believes that the books we choose to keep say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. (Why else are you keeping that copy of War and Peace?) She spoke with dozens of authors like David Sedaris, Jonathan Lethem, Maira Kalman, Jennifer Egan and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) to get the dirt about what books they hold in high regard by keeping them around. What is also fun is that you can order these images as notecards or prints or you can even commission your own “ideal bookshelf” from LaForce’s website.

James Franco’s Bookshelf, © Jane Mount

I thought it would be fun to take a pic of my actual bookshelf.

Oh, look. The Canterbury Tales.

What would be on your ideal bookshelf?

4. The five-second rule. Admit it. You’ve done this. You’ve dropped a cookie / piece of cheesecake / burger on the carpet / tile / grass. You’ve looked over your shoulder, confirmed no one was watching. You’ve scooped it up, dusted it off, popped it back on your plate and ate it.

But then you wondered, didn’t you? Did you get it within five seconds? Maybe it was six. In terms of microbial grossness, the difference between five seconds and six seconds is, in our minds, the difference between yummy goodness and overrun with E.coli.

I’m afraid I have to burst your bubble. Apparently, the five-second rule isn’t really a thing. Researchers tested a variety of food items and those left on the floor for only five seconds still picked up 150 to 8,000 bacteria, depending upon the porous nature of the food and the type of floor surface. Typically it takes about 10,000 bacteria to make a person sick, but the insidious bacteria are more potent at lower levels.

Reading this report makes me want to adopt a no-second rule policy. Then again, Reggie recently ate a Hershey’s kiss he found on the sidewalk which was crawling with ants. He was no worse for the wear.

Do you follow the five-second rule?

5. Reggie’s least favorite activity. Reggie has taken over #5 this week to show you the indignity he had to suffer.

And then she made me smell like lavender and chamomile.

Here’s hoping no one made you smell like lavender and chamomile.

Have a great weekend, everyone!



  1. Good morning, Jackie and Reggie! Once again, so much great news (except of course the bath, dear Reggie, but boy do you look handsome! And lavender-scented is NEVER a bad thing!)

    Jackie, a great big congrats, my dear on your story’s publication!! Promise me you will celebrate copiously this weekend. I’m thinking chocolate…(When am I NOT thinking chocolate, right?;))

    As for the 5 second rule…I was never a believer until I married a biologist who has cured me of my “oogie-phobia” — sort-of. I am good for more like the 3-second rule, but for me, that’s progress!

    Funny you should mention bookshelves. We are making a local move today and my morning’s job is–yup!–packing up our book shelves! If I’m not back in a week, send Reggie!!

    Hugs for a wonderful weekend!


    1. Do you know what is right across the street from my office? Jacques Torres gourmet chocolates. I think they pipe the chocolatey smell right out into the street. It’s intoxicating (and very dangerous!).

      Good luck on packing your bookshelves. Reggie will be happy to help, provided that you have the right motivation, i.e. turkey.

      Thank you and hugs right back!


  2. I’ve missed you, Jackie. Sure, you’ve been here – but I’ve been gone. So good to return and find wonderful news. Congrats on being featured on
    Reggie looks adorable. Sweet puppy dog.


  3. Reggie looks adorable and must have smelled wonderful too after his bath. I’m not sure I’d survive that if I did it to my cats.
    I sure like that there is no alphabetical order on our book shelf. That’s such a no go for me. I have a very personal system, nobody understands it but me. But it works.


    1. It’s funny that you mentioned the organization of your bookshelf. Mine is arranged mostly by categories that I have completely made up in my mind. I doubt anyone else could find a book, but I can put my finger on it in seconds.
      I imagine your shelves are quite full too!


  4. Love your story, Jackie. Are we surprised he took her back? Nah! Horrified? Yup. Do we think he even survived that stab wound?
    Is there anything better than pursuing a new friend’s bookshelves? I don’t think so. Alas, the e-reader has changed that. *sigh*
    Reggie’s got the long suffering look down pat. But man he’s CUTE!


  5. Ohhhh, I had Motherless Brooklyn on my shelf for years! Finally donated it to the library before we moved. Was it good? (Please say no. :))
    I loved that story in your book, along with all the others. Congrats on the acceptance!
    Never believed the 5 second rule, but 8000? That’s kind of horrifying.
    The photo of Reggie and your caption made me laugh out loud.


    1. Motherless Brooklyn wasn’t very good at all. So no worries there. (That’s not true, but I want to make you feel better. 🙂 )

      Thank you very much for your lovely comment about the book. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it.


  6. Congrats on your subway story. Thankfully, the only time I’ve been on a subway, nothing like what you described in your story ever happened. Crazy!
    I had a feeling about the five-second rule, still I live in denial about it. Oh and that photo of Reggie is priceless, by the way.


  7. Congratulations on the story, that’s awesome! Reggie is adorable!! And no I don’t live by the five-second rule. Sorry but anyone with a black lab should never consider it (that said, I live with someone who goes by a lot longer than a five second rule!). Great Five!


    1. Thank you very much, Julia!
      You are completely correct — the 5 second rule is not a good option when you have pets. Especially pets that shed. Though I’m guessing Abby doesn’t mind. 🙂


  8. Interesting! My wife just finished ‘A Walk in the Woods’, too!
    I think I saw an episode of ‘Mythbusters’ where they tested the 5-second rule. Pretty gross. Still, I’m not sure those floor Cheetos are safe. 😉
    Aw, Reggie! Poor guy!
    Off to check out your essay! Congratulations, Ms. C! That is AWESOME!!!


  9. Congrats on the publication, Jackie! Pretty cool! I don’t know that it counts as a “transit”story, but I just finished “Wild,” and, I swear, I was WILD about it. Can’t remember if you’ve read it or not. It may be the best memoir I’ve ever read!

    ANd poor Reggie. Our dogs hate baths, as well.



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