Trina Machacek: A toss is not a throw

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

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It was pure luck that paired me with my other half. Somehow, and for some reason we were a good throw and catch couple. Over the years I learned just how to throw things to him. He was on the roof and needed a hammer. Up it went. Down in the well pit and needed a new pressure switch. Coming down without the part falling in the mud. There are couples like that.

If there had been time and desire, I am sure we could have played softball in town as pitcher and catcher. Well on second thought I would guess he would want to be out on the mound pitching, and I would have been elected to squat down 50 times a game. AARRGGH.

I got to be a pretty good thrower. There is an art to it. I learned that when I threw something at him. Well now wait, that doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Luckily, I didn’t have any reason to throw things AT him in anger. I threw a ton of stuff though over the years TO him.

Here’s a little secret that worked for me. I would hear, “throw me a tape measure,” or “throw me that blue-handled hammer,” or “throw up the dog!” HAHA no dog, but a plastic Santa once. I got to where I would just look at his hand and envision what I was throwing to him as it landed in his hands. Worked every time — until this. Out of the blue he needed a flat screwdriver to untighten a ring on the stove pipe to clean the chimney.

He looked down at me from the roof and said, “toss me up the flat screwdriver.” I think the earth shifted a bit to the right. Maybe it was to the left. But I grabbed the screwdriver, tossed it and it went maybe two feet off the mark of his hand. It wasn’t earth shattering. I had missed before. But only by a few inches. Two feet off? I never missed by two feet. It was the word “toss.” Because a toss is not a throw. Any ball player knows that.

You toss a frisbee. You toss a dime at the county fair into glass dishes or fishbowls to win a goldfish. You toss out an idea in a brainstorming meeting. You can even toss your cookies. But you only throw a tool or a bag or something tangible. That’s the way I see it. A toss is a toss. A throw is a throw. But! Yes, a flying through the air “but.” A toss is not a throw.

Since that fateful day my toss and throw have never been quite the same. I can still see him standing on the roof. Hand at his side as usual. Up went the screwdriver, off, way off to the right. Hit the roof and rolled off. We laughed like some sort of crazy wind caught it. No problem. I grabbed it and dang if I didn’t toss it again. It took four or five times for him to finally grab ahold of the flying screwdriver and stay on the roof too.

There are many things in life that are close to the same but different in ways that only become apparent when you least expect it. Take milk for instance. Yes, milk. The cool refreshing smooth glass of milk. What color milk do you buy? There is red capped, whole, bone growing milk.

Next is blue, 2 percent that touts it is less fat therefore you feel you can drink more? If you don’t drink more, will you soon be svelte? Maybe. But not as svelte as if you buy the dreaded purple milk, nonfat, glow in the dark, almost milk! Milk that, in my years of milk-ness always spoils the fastest in my refrigerator.

Well, OK. It might seem to spoil faster because I have an aversion to it, so it sits until it goes bad. Is it only my mind that sees purple, fat free milk as weirdly tasting? Like I will from now and forever see a big difference between a toss and a throw. I will stick with the blue milk and a throw.

Let’s hope though, that we never throw in the towel at laughing at the things that come up in life that will always make you say, “Well never really looked at it that way before.” You’re welcome. Blue milk all around. Just throw me your glass.

Trina Machacek lives in Diamond Valley north of Eureka. Her books are available at or email her for signed copies at


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