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505th Friday Blog Roundup

i09 had a post about the personality test that came in The Pigman — which, yes, I read in middle school.  You are given a brief situation and then need to mentally debate the actions of the characters.  Ready?

A husband and wife live on one side of the river.  They have a good marriage and genuinely love each other BUT the wife has a lover on the side.  She hates this fact about herself and tries to resist the relationship, but she goes to this lover every time her husband goes away.  The lover lives on the other side of the river.

One day, the husband needs to leave on a business trip.  The wife begs him to take her along, but he tells her that she’ll only be in the way.  He leaves without her and she goes to her lover’s house.

One morning, she is leaving her lover’s house, trying to beat her husband home so he won’t know about her infidelity, when she encounters an assassin on the bridge that spans the river.  She knows that if she tries to cross, he will kill her.  She doubles back and goes down to the water where she asks a boatman to take her across.  He agrees, but asks for a great deal of money.  She doesn’t have the cash, so she goes and asks her lover to give her the money so she can get home safely.  He tells her that getting across the bridge is her own problem.

So she tries to cross the bridge, and she’s killed over the river.

As i09 writes, “The cast of characters in this little drama is – husband, wife, assassin, lover, boatman. List the characters in order you consider them responsible for the wife’s death.”

Scroll down and put your answer in the comment section.  Then come back here to read the rest of this post and click here to see what each character represents.


Yes, this is your weekly reminder to back up your blog, social media accounts, and email.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

And if you don’t know how to back up your blog, read this post on BlogHer that talks about manual backups and plugins.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Searching for Our Silver Lining has a post about feeling silenced.  She so eloquently points out: “There’s a problem that emerges when one is silenced. For most humans, voicing worries and frustrations is a way to process what is happening. A form of problem-solving … Silencing takes all of that away, leaving the person instead involved with a growing shapeless form that tortures and torments. It also instills a sense of shame and guilt, all the while destroying.”  Go read her post in full.

Tales of a Batty Nurse has an emotional post about searching for and finding her birthmother’s name.  It’s a brief post, but it summarizes so well why children should always have access to their birth records.

It’s not an IF post, but I feel that it speaks to a general feeling that pops up often in our community.  I love the honesty and openness in Sassymonkey’s post about depression.

Inconceivable! has a post about her tattoo, and I love this sentiment: “When I first started considering getting a tattoo, I wasn’t particularly serious. I was worried about the permanence. I worried about making marks, about forever altering myself in any way.  Then infertility hit and I realized something: life was going to put marks on me, whether I willed it or not.”  The ink she chose is pretty too; prettier than infertility and loss and stomach bruises and surgery scars.

Lastly, Amateur Nester has a post about weight gain and infertility.  She writes of the extra pounds: “It’s all due to a combination of fertility drugs, not being able to exercise during treatment cycles, poor eating habits, and not feeling motivated to exercise during non-treatment cycles.”  Infertility, the gift that keeps on giving!  As someone who had to buy new jeans (and cried hard doing so), I stand by her in solidarity.

The roundup to the Roundup: How did you rank the characters?  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between July 25th and August 1st) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 Jillian { 08.01.14 at 8:16 am }

Wife, lover, boatman, husband, assassin

2 Brianna { 08.01.14 at 8:54 am }

Wife, Husband, Lover, Boatman, Assassin

3 Michelle { 08.01.14 at 8:57 am }

Assassin, Wife, Lover, Boatman, Husband

4 a.m.s. { 08.01.14 at 9:13 am }

Assassin, wife, lover, husband, boatman

5 nicoleandmaggie { 08.01.14 at 9:50 am }

The assassin and only the assassin. Oh, and I guess the criminal justice system of that area for allowing assassins to threaten and take the lives of people.

The wife is a victim of a patriarchical system at its worst. Her infidelities do not mean that she should lose her life, and it’s bizarre and wrong that she should have to choose between her life and having her infidelity found out.

6 nicoleandmaggie { 08.01.14 at 9:51 am }

Also I don’t think that’s a very accurate personality test.

7 WGAG { 08.01.14 at 9:55 am }

wife, assassin, lover, husband, boatman

8 a { 08.01.14 at 10:06 am }

Assassin, Wife, Lover, Husband, Boatman

9 a { 08.01.14 at 10:17 am }

The explanation is nonsense, though, when you think about it. Those character equivalencies are arbitrary and meaningless.

10 Northern Star { 08.01.14 at 10:37 am }
11 Sharon { 08.01.14 at 11:01 am }

Assassin, wife, lover, boatman and husband. (Though, to be clear, I really don’t think anyone is at “fault” except the assassin, who committed a criminal and immoral act.)

BTW, the link to find out what each character represents didn’t work for me. ?

12 It Is What It Is { 08.01.14 at 11:35 am }

Wife, assassin, lover, boatman, husband.

13 It Is What It Is { 08.01.14 at 11:39 am }

Oh, and I LOVED this post over at no ways to say it as it is powerful and poetic and rings so true of the important things in life:

Best thing I read all week (well, on-line anyway).

14 Heidi { 08.01.14 at 11:47 am }

Oh man, I haven’t thought about this in ages. Not only did I READ The Pigman in junior high; I also TAUGHT it to junior high kids. My answer is assassin, wife, lover, boatman, husband. (Though really the only one who’s guilty is the assassin.) I mostly think the whole thing is BS, but I suppose one’s ranking of culpability does reveal SOMETHING. For me, my ranking seems completely logical.

Since the link isn’t working, here’s the explanation the book gives.

This is what each character symbolizes:

The order in which you rank the various characters indicates what is important to you. Thus, ranking the assassin first means that MONEY is most important to you.

15 Katie { 08.01.14 at 12:48 pm }

Assassin, wife, lover, boatman, and husband. This was an interesting exercise, but I do not, for the life of me, understand how any of these are related to the interpretations though. You would think that the boatman would be more representative of money and that putting the lover or the husband higher on the blame-list would actually suggest that you value sex/love LESS.

16 nicoleandmaggie { 08.01.14 at 1:11 pm }

I expect that Paul Zindel also thought rape was the woman’s fault if she wasn’t a virgin and dressed in something other than a full nun’s habit. Just sayin’.

17 nursecaffey { 08.01.14 at 1:33 pm }

Assassin, wife, lover, husband, boatman

18 Sara { 08.01.14 at 1:46 pm }

Assassin, wife, lover, boatman and husband

19 Serenity { 08.01.14 at 2:10 pm }

Wife, Assassin, Lover, Husband, Boatman. I am curious as to the link. Will check it out now.

20 Mel { 08.01.14 at 4:27 pm }

I think the meanings are bullshity, BUT I think it’s interesting that we all rank them differently.

I had the assassin, first and foremost. Because he killed her. The lover next, because he could have helped her, but he didn’t. The wife next, because she made poor choices that put her in harm’s way (sort of?). The boatman next, because there was a price to cross the river and he was just doing his job stating the price. And the husband last because he was barely involved in the situation.

21 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.01.14 at 7:25 pm }

assassin-wife. That’s all.

I used to love Paul Zindel. Time to reacquaint.

Is Wife = fun or is Wife = contentment?

I can see my own values as the latter but not as the former.

22 Melanie { 08.01.14 at 11:17 pm }

Assassin, wife, lover, boatman, husband

23 fifi { 08.02.14 at 12:55 pm }

Assassin, lover, wife, boatman, husband.

24 Bronwyn { 08.02.14 at 1:32 pm }

Assassin, wife, others.

The assassin, like *actually killed her*. I don’t think that should be overlooked. Also, I want to know who sent him to kill her – I’m pretty sure they don’t kill unless specifically sent and I’m not sure how that part of the story escaped the moral narrative.

Then actually I’m rethinking the wife because beforehand I thought well did she have to cross the bridge, couldn’t she have just been found out, but then if she thought it was better to take her chances with death then I have to agree with nicoleandmaggie. Also, if it was a targeted assassination then probably she just figured she was screwed anyway.

I also need to know more about the boatman. Did he know she was trying to cover up an affair whilst avoiding an assassin? If he knew about the affair I’d say that raises his culpability somewhat, although on the other hand he might have been thinking, lady, take the bridge. If he knew about the assassin that might raise his culpability depending on the likelihood that his services would actually save her (again – targeted assassination…?) and the likelihood of him coming into harm’s way. This brings up questions about the layout of the river/smallness of the town/style of assassination/etc etc. If they were around a bend on the bank of a busy town trying to avoid a knife assassin who isn’t particularly keen on tracking down this woman (but would still, for some reason, kill her) AND he knew about the assassin it’s like, dude. Seriously. But I can see other scenarios.

Do we have a map of the area, census information? Can we get a better idea of time/place?

The lover isn’t looking good, I can tell you that. I am just going to go ahead and assume he knew about the assassin.

I don’t know about the money/sex/love thing but I think I might be giving some sort of insight into my personality regardless.

25 Bronwyn { 08.02.14 at 1:35 pm }

We should probably also ask about the boatman’s personal responsibilities (wife/children/aged parents…?). The lover’s responsibilities are not so much my concern as he should have thought of that beforehand.

26 JustHeather { 08.02.14 at 3:05 pm }

I loved The Pigman in junior high. And I loved this little personality test so much, that I actually wrote it out and used it on friends a few years later. Also, when the 2nd book (Pigman returns?) came out, my teacher let me read it before she did!
I also have these books in my collection at home (even one in Finnish, I think), although, I haven’t read them in years and years. Maybe time to read them again.

My answers: wife, lover, assassin, boatman, husband.

27 Jamie { 08.02.14 at 11:39 pm }

Wife, lover, husband, assassin, boatman

28 Aly @ Breathe Gently { 08.03.14 at 4:50 am }

Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples – after donor eggs, she’s just received her first BFP & I am SO excited for her.


29 Eva { 08.03.14 at 5:57 am }


The reasons: Asssassin – plain wrong, you do not kill people

Botaman: for overcharging and not helping her to get over the river (assuming that he KNEW that otherwise the wife would be killed and if at all possible your are held to help somebody in such a situation and him being a boatmen, help would not even by difficult to provide)

Lover: for not handing her money to avoid her death (he is less guilty than the boatman, assuming he would like her to be found out and stay with him and because he was in a relationship with her, and he was the one she chose not to stay with, so this might make him less culpable of not helping than the boatmen)

Husband: since she is so much afraid of him that she rather dies than tell him about her affair

Wife: it may or may not be okay to have a lover, however, in no case this should be followed by death, so whatever she did if some random assassin kills you, you are not guilty of you own death and in any case, she should be the last on the list to be guilty of dying in such a situation!

30 Eva { 08.03.14 at 6:02 am }

and I have to add somehing (since I am European) – to put any measure of “guilt in regard to her own death” for the wife is something very connected to the US justice system, that seems to be very occupied with finding out about the moral standing of victims as if this would have any influence on the amount of punishment… ? Remember this one guy from the IMF who raped somebody in his hotel room ? Why was the case closed or somehow put away, because it was found out she was not an angel ???? The previous behaviour of the victim should not influence the way a crinimal act against this victim is viewed!!!!
If killing somebody is not the appropriate response for somebody having an affair, then there is not amount of resposnibility on the wifes side.
Sorry for the rant, not sure why I feel to strongly about this. First time to comment, I like your blog!

31 Katherine A { 08.03.14 at 2:39 pm }

Thank you so much for including me in the Round-up! Definitely made my day :).

32 fifi { 08.05.14 at 10:44 am }

No, the wife didn’t deserve to die, but her actions did leave indirectly to her death. The same way that someone who crashes their car while speeding doesn’t deserve to die, but their actions had consequences. I did see her as less culpable than everyone else except the husband.
I fail to see how the husband is culpable at all. There’s no indication that he’s violent or that his wife is scared of him. She doesn’t want him to find out about the affair, but that could be because she doesn’t want to hurt him.
Unless of course he hired the assassin, in which case he goes to the top of the list.

33 Infertile Girl { 08.05.14 at 11:01 pm }
34 Lauren { 08.06.14 at 12:21 am }

I really relate to this post about how after loss you see the blessing of watching your living children grow up, rather than lamenting the end of a stage. http://losinglucyandfindinghope.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/an-incredible-privilege/

35 Battynurse { 08.17.14 at 1:58 pm }

Thanks Mel for the mention. Yes I am way far behind on my blog reading.

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