The Black Cat (1895–1922) was an American literary magazine that specialized in short stories of an “unusual” nature.

Apparently, I have been up to mischief.

My mischief became clear to me when I was recently with a group of elders at an assisted living community. We were talking about social connection and were listening to the elders share what this meant to them, how they might be heard, and what was important to them. What gave them purpose. What gave them, or any of us, a reason to get up in the morning.

As I was presenting these questions to them, one woman, who had 91 years, sat up in her chair and said:

“You mean mischief?”

Yes. Mischief. As usual, the elder nailed it.

It is such an interesting word, isn’t it?

The Cambridge Dictionary says mischief is “behavior, especially of a child, that is slightly bad or causes trouble but is not intended to harm anyone”.

Interesting that they specify this behavior to a child. So, if an adult engages in mischief, is it called something else? What about a 91- year old woman who gets a twinkle in her eye just by thinking about mischief?

I also find it interesting that mischief is only “slightly bad”. Just enough bad.

What resonated most was the idea of mischief causing trouble, and not intending to harm anyone.

Hmm. Maybe like a revisionary gerontologist?

There is another definition of mischief. One I did not know. In the law, “mischief rule” is “a principle used for the interpretation of a statute. This principle is used by the courts to determine the intention of the legislators. This principle aims at finding out the mischief and defect in a statute and to implement a remedy for the same.”

In other words, what is the mischief or problem for which this law was created to solve? So, a mischief might be understood as something that is wrong. Something that needs to be changed. Maybe something that needs to be revised? Perhaps the mischief that is the current paradigm of growing older and growing with dementia?

You have not heard from me in awhile and I have missed Being Heard. But I am back. This is what I have been up to. My own kind of mischief. And I have lots to share.

Stay tuned. We will make a merry band of mischief makers.


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