Pass the Olives

Jumbled Opinions on Living, Democracy, and Making Things

About Pass the Olives

Pass the Olives? Why?

(The site is still pulling itself together, but I’ll give you a sneak peek at the reasons why Pass the Olives has any meaning at all.)

Drawing of the artist painting a picture of an olive.

From my copy of the Abraham Lincoln High School January 1960 Railsplitter.

At Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, I spent as much time as I could in the art room. All of my study halls, after school as long as the building was open, and many hours when I was supposed to be in other classes but used pink permission slips claiming an emergency need on behalf of the art teacher.

In my junior year my art teacher, Larry Hoffman, drew a caricature of me in my January yearbook. Using a long-handled brush, I’m painting a single perfect olive in the middle of a huge canvas. In a pixie cut, with dangling earrings, and wearing a long elegant gown I am paused to view my work.

I could make no sense of it at all. Seeing my blank expression, Mr. Hoffman said, “You are like an olive. People either like you or hate you. Your taste is distinctive and has no substitute.”

At seventeen, all I understood was that I stood out. A little olive sitting alone on a big canvas. This is not what a seventeen-year-old wants to hear—then or now. In a world of mostly apples with a few peaches and raisins mixed in, it was years before I could understand what he really meant. And that it wasn’t the worst thing to be an olive.

But I was in my late fifties before I could finally say with confidence, “Pass the olives.” I found I liked living as an olive—filled with cheese and wrapped in bacon. On a small plate with a few other olives. But I didn’t say it out loud until I started this blog in 2020 or so. “Or so” because I posted it privately on and off after registering the domain name in 2011. It took that long to go public and leave all my other domains behind.  There have been many: SharonVillines, MacGuffinGuideToDetectiveFiction, Sociocracy, SmartNeighborhoods, AffordableCohousing, DemocraticSociocracy, TripleThreatWebsites, and more.

I wasn’t ready to go public until I finally committed to writing on my own behalf and not under the guise of a superego. Gradually, I’m pulling my writing from Websites, email discussion lists, and print media (remember that?) together here, rewriting when necessary to say what I would have liked to say in the beginning to ensure that my opinions are even clearer.

The posts in Pass the Olives are the viewpoints that earned me my continued reputation as an olive. If you don’t like olives, you will probably not want to read these. They are in the Things-the-Way-I-See-Them genre sometimes leaning toward the This-Is-the-Truth and Listen-to-Me. Well, coming from an olive, they are usually a bit more than leaning.