A To Z Challenge – U


When NBC convinced Johnny Carson to move his Tonight show from New York City to California, the changeover happened quite quickly.   His Burbank studio was ready far before he had a chance to buy or rent accommodations on the Left Coast.

He was put up for almost two months in a luxury suite at a ritzy local hotel. I don’t know if it was just having to live in unfamiliar, if posh, surroundings; if there was some friction between him and hotel staff and management; or if it was just an easy target for the gag-writers jokes.

Every night for weeks, there was a snide comment, and the Sheraton Universal was changed and referred to in his monologues as the Sheraton Unspeakable, the Sheraton Unreasonable, the Sheraton Uninhabitable, the Sheraton Untenable, the Sheraton Unbearable.

It was almost amazing how many U-shaped insults were crafted.  Finally, one night it became simply the Sheraton Unique, and we come to the word for this post about


I recently composed a post about how huge percentages of the population have an overwhelming compulsion for conformity. They must be like everyone else, and everybody else must be exactly like them.

When the grandson was small, he was diagnosed with a variety of food allergies. Several of them caused behavioral problems, something the non-plagued are often not aware of.  Certain chemicals and compounds in food can cause physical and neurological stress, in turn causing moodiness, edginess, irritability, anger and lack of focus.

As a child it was relatively easy for his mother to watch his intake and ensure that he took his medication. As he neared puberty, and his character was developing, he regressed to sullen disinterest, if not disobedience, more so than most tweens.  Careful cross-examination revealed that he was sneaking foods from classmates, and not taking his pills.

When he was asked why he was doing this, even knowing his allergies, his answer was that he didn’t want to have allergies. He didn’t want a restrictive diet.  He didn’t want to take pills.  He just wanted to be like everyone else.

It didn’t take long to prove to him that ‘everyone else’ wasn’t like ‘everyone else.’ His Mom and his Grandma had to avoid certain foods and take medications.  When he looked closer, he found classmates with similar restrictions and needs.

Grandma, the chef, pointed out that the spelt-based cookies, cakes, bread and rolls, even the spelt-crust pizza, with lactose-free cheese and tamarind sauce, instead of tomato, were treats that no-one else got to have. Did he want her to stop making them for him?  The way to a man’s head, as well as his heart, is often through his stomach.

As a knowledgeable adult he can control the allergic affects, although he is still careful. As well as being a friendly, caring young man, he is largely indistinguishable from the rest of the herd, but he takes pride in knowing that he, like all the rest of us, is one-of-a-kind.  He is unique!  I don’t know why more of us can’t embrace that.

6 thoughts on “A To Z Challenge – U

  1. Unique. What an interesting word. We are all set up to be different from one another but yet all we want to do is conform. It doesn’t make sense. But what does in this world? Glad your grandson embraced his uniqueness. If we all did, it would be a much happier place. Good post, Archon!


  2. Daniel Digby says:

    You didn’t mention whether he was most unique or simply very unique.


    • Archon's Den says:

      He is simply very unique. He steers clear of ‘outré’. 😳
      ‘Unique’ is the word where my son is an even bigger language-Nazi than me. He insists, quite correctly, that it means ‘one of a kind’, and should not be modified with ‘very’, or ‘most,’ and yet….
      The idiots in The Price Is Right audience, with the costumes and signs are trying to be unique – to be noticed – to be called down to play. But!! The cross-dressing guy in the Bo-Peep dress, with an inverted ice-cream cone jammed on his head, dripping in his eyes – is the most unique. 😯
      The grandson never wanted badly enough to be on The Price Is Right.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim Wheeler says:

    Interesting stories, especially about your grandson. Well done.

    Something bad there is about hotel rooms, never mind the size or the cost of the furnishings. They are impersonal. The furniture isn’t yours and you are surrounded by strangers. Also, I’ve noticed that they are uniquely (ahem) low in humidity for some reason. Adjusting the temperature is often difficult. I wonder if living in Trump Tower is like living in a hotel?


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