Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mercenaries and Toilet Tissue


I’ve been walking around the house singing, “Stop the world and let me off. I’m tiring of going round and round.…” I’ve had those lines suck in my head for days. I can’t remember the rest of the lyrics but I’m pretty sure they don’t have anything to do with a Pandemic or being on a path to environmental suicide or being a flaming liberal living in a country run by an alt-right president. Nope, belting those words out this week may have started as a reaction the Pandemic but on closer examination I found nothing but good memories attached to the song including the first time I was introduced to those lyrics. It was back in 1958 and Patsy Cline was crooning them out from my cousin, Shirley’s record player. It was the summer I was unofficially indoctrinated into the country/western music fan club.

That summer she and her three toddlers were living in a small travel trailer parked behind our cottage, while her husband was overseas in the Army. She was a good singer and in the evenings when she wasn’t playing the likes of Hank Williams or Johnny Cash records she was playing her ukulele and leading us ‘cottage kids’ in sing-alongs. Other nights she’d make a batch of fudge or popcorn that we munched on while we played poker sitting at a picnic table under a single light bulb strung in the trees. It was a good summer of laughter and music and a naive belief that the world would always be that way. Shirley was a beautiful woman back then and not much older than we teens she entertained. Her life filled up with bitterness not long after that summer and I never saw her happy again. “Stop the world and let me off.” If only it was that easy to escape our woes. 

I got my credit card bill for the month when I went crazy reading books on my Kindle. $55 worth of downloads, mostly books about Navy SEALS, Mercenaries and Delta Force military types. I took one look at that $55 and went directly to Amazon and signed up for Amazon Unlimited, hoping I understand the fine print correctly. For $9.99 a month I get to read unlimited books and I can cancel at any time. With the state of our clusterfucked nation I can’t seem to stop reading trash books about muscled-up men who are out to save the world from all the bad guys. I have, however, branched out to other authors than the first one who got me hooked on the “military elite” genre. I'm shocked at how many of them are out there.

Today I had to laugh at myself, though, when I realized I used military lingo in a conversation with my brother: “We need more intel on that” and “copy that” I said in our phone call. If I start swearing like a Navy SEAL please do an intervention. If these books are 75,000 words long (just guessing) at least 7,500 of them are the F word. And if I start planning a trip to California with aspirations of becoming a Frog Hog (aka a slutty woman who sets her goal on bagging a Navy SEAL) handcuff me to a chair in a shrink’s office until I’m cured of turning fictional alpha guys into my safe place. The world doesn't need anymore cougars.

I woke up at 3:30 a few nights ago and couldn’t fall back asleep. My niece is very sick. She says it’s the croup. Her two grandsons had it and she was taking care of them. Then her daughter and son-in-law got it. My brother stopped to visit and he said she was really mad that he walked in the house, fearing that he’d get it too and she made him march right back out. If they all get the coronavirus on top of the croup, when their immune systems are so low---I don’t even want to think about it. Apparently my subconscious mind has no such qualms about doing just that. Since I couldn't stop the world and get off, I grabbed my Kindle at 4:00 and relished the thought that I, too, could be a sniper who gets a clean shot of an international terrorist, making the world one less bad guy safer. Yup, some of the women in those books are as badass as the guys.

Seriously, these books are so out of character for me that I’m afraid to reveal that I’m reading them except to my blogger friends. Not that that’s anything new. I tell you guys things I wouldn’t blurt out in my offline life. For example, I rub my eyes way too often, given the fact that it's one of the ways you can put the coronavirus into your system. It’s eerie how something I’ve probably done subconsciously all my life suddenly becomes a death threat. God, where is my SEAL when I need one? I'm pretty sure he'd have a cure tucked away in one of the pockets of his cargo pants. Oh, yes, you know you're old when you find yourself lusting after what's in a man's pockets rather than what's behind his zipper. (Did I just type that? Ya, I'll do anything if it makes someone laugh.)

I haven’t been to my first senior shopping day yet at the grocery store. Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:00 AM to 8:00. (Health care workers get other special days and times.) Ohmygod, how am I ever going to get up that early? One of my friends who has gone said most of the shoppers were wearing plastic gloves and the employees were all cleaning floors and the check-out lines. Toilet paper is being limited now that they have it back in stock---why didn't they do that early on? Stories of people helping each other are all over internet and the funny memes about toilet paper are making me laugh right out loud. There’s the bouquet of toilet paper a florist cooked up and an 18-wheeler that had a single pack of toilet paper strapped down on the bed of his trailer going down the expressway. The miniature toilet paper earrings and a cake made to look like a roll of toilet paper both tickled my funny bone. Did you ever think you’d see a day when the world would be obsessing about toilet tissue?  ©

57 comments:

  1. OMG you had me laughing so hard I was crying... especially the SEAL cargo pocket versus pant zipper comment! Monte, I'll take what's behind the Zipper while my Friend here will take what's in the Cargo Pant Pocket you're holding! *Winks* There must be some Freudian reason you're reading Military Elite Books, but being no Shrink, my best Guess is we're all feeling vulnerable and like we need a Hero of some kind to protect us and take out the enemy? How about 45 losing his shit at that reporter now that he's realizing he can't bullshit his way out of this one? He's melting down publicly and hopefully that will be enough to kill his chances of re-election? *All body parts crossed and a Hail Mary Full Of Grace...*

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    1. A agree with your assessment of why the alpha male military books are appealing to me now. I don't even like guns and muscled up men. But they are take charge, get it done kind of guys and we could sure use a but of them in D.C. right now.

      45 could have a total meltdown in front of a camera and his fans would still thing he's doing a wonderful job.

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  2. I've never read a book about any military elites, so this is a genre I'm just learning about here. I'd suggest that hunky men blowing things up won't be saving our butts during this virus, it'll be sensible women with the magical ability to get things done who'll save the day. In fact I suddenly have the desire to read Practical Magic and Chocolat again.

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    1. Whatever works to get us through these stressful times is a good thing in my world. Never read Practical Magic. I'll have to check it out.

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  3. What happened in Shirley's life to turn her happiness upside down?

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    1. She dropped out of high school, got married young and pregnant. Her husband went in the Army and came home once a year to knock her up again. After the fifth baby he took up with another woman, divorced my cousin and never saw the kids (or her) again until they were adults, never paid a dime in support. If it wasn't for my parents there were times those kids would have gone without food or clothing. That's the thumbnail version. There was more.

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  4. Wow. Those books...! I had no idea they even existed. Shows you what an esoteric reader I am.

    As far as the whole Toilet Paper Fetish, I'm still absolutely astonished. I'd really like it if one of the TP Hoarders would take the time to explain himself.

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    1. One of my blogger friends linked an article written by a shrink who explained why the paper hoarding gives people a sense of control in their lives. Before all this happened I'd been trying to use up my pantry so I wouldn't have to move it. Now I'll have to start all over on that task.

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  5. Hope your niece and her family recover quickly.

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    1. I got a text from her yesterday and she said she's doing much better. The rest of her family got it earlier than she did and are near full recovery. But I do worry about my great-niece (her daughter). She was sick a lot last year and her immune system was already stressed before the coupe. She's a teacher so she gets exposed to a lot of germs.

      Thanks for asking.

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  6. Like Sue I can't help wonder about what shattered Shirley's life. She sounded like such a really great person.
    As for books. Check out Amazon's Best Sellers. They post 100 free everyday. I have found some pretty good writers there. Your Seal author was there a lot. Also most public libraries now have a plan you can subscribe to. You can access most of their books, they will download to your Kindle and will be whisked away in two weeks. Keep reading, it will keep us sane.

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    1. I gave the thumbnail version of what happened to Shirley in a reply to Sue above.

      I didn't know about the 100 free every day at Amazon. The way I'm blowing through books I need a new one every two days. I've found another "military" I like so much better than the first---Riley Edwards. Her characters are more complicated. I've only read three of hers so far but they aren't formula driven.

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  7. We gotta laugh some time to help us de-stress! You surely do help with that. I love your sense of humor! Thanks so much for your honesty!

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    1. Writing is a good way for me to de-stress and I'm grateful when others "get" me.

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  8. you are so funny with your fantasy that I bet navy seal guy will be happy to have you by his side. It makes me giggle that people go so crazy over shortness of toilet paper, you can always wash your behind like lot of Asian countries did few decades ago.

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    1. People could always start subscribing to the newspaper again too. That's what people did here for toilet paper. LOL

      I'm not sure if SEALS have a soft spot for grandmotherly types but hey, you only live once. I'd even learn how to bake cookies if it would help.

      Nice to hear from you again, Asha.

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  9. It's about to get interesting out here. Because people were not self isolating, we are on shut down ... only can go out for NECESSITIES or to be outside in the fresh air ... six feet apart. Starting tomorrow .... ten days of RAIN!!

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    1. Rain on top of isolation, that would not be fun. I just got back from getting a haircut and they have a big bottle of hand sanitizer by the door with a sign to use it before going any farther. That was really smart. I didn't even take my purse in. They cut out all serves involving the face, nails and feet.

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    2. I am so jealous that you got a haircut. My regular appointment is cancelled since my salon is closing for at least two weeks. Needless to say, they can't fit me in since they are always booked solid and I'll be going 12 WEEKS! between my cut and color. Things have gotten real. HAHA

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    3. I just heard the state is closing all the hair, nail and tanning salons! I am so glad I got mine yesterday!

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  10. We're not on shelter-in-place here, but we older folks are supposed to self-isolate. So far it hasn't bothered us -- we have changed when we do our grocery shopping -- to times when the store isn't busy. Fingers crossed!

    My left eye is itching like mad, it happens from time to time because I had shingles in it a few years ago. So I try to remember to either let it be or to use a tissue. It's nothing serious, just another habit to change.

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    1. If you did want to truly self-isolate you sure would have a great place to do it in, up at your mountain retreat.

      I itch my eyes way too much but try to do it with a tissue or the inside of my shirt if none is around.

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  11. I’ve never heard of the Patsy Cline song. -My mind immediately went to the British musical “Stop the World: I Want To Get Off” which opened on Broadway in 1962. It was a quirky production with lots of good songs. Those are the words that have come to my mind this week.

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    1. When I went off looking for the lyrics of the Patsy Cline song I ran into that Broadway show with the similar title. By they way, over the years around 20 others have recorded it including my heart throb back in the say...Ricky Nelson.

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  12. At the "Coronavirus Super Friends" press conference this morning, I noticed Dr. Fauci briefly dabbed at his nose with his suit sleeve just above his shirt cuff. I worry about him. He's 79, in the high risk category and has to stand in close quarters up there with Trump and all his sycophants.

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    1. I noticed the same thing. They stand so darn close it kinds of cancels out what they say about social distancing ourselves six feet away from one another. If any of them get sick I'll bet they'll try to cover it up.

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  13. Okay, I’m laughing out loud and it’s making me cough! Good thing I’m self-isolating so I don’t pierced by dagger eyes all around me. Hah!

    Deb

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    1. Next time I'll put a warning at the top if I think something will make you laugh. LOL

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  14. You made me laugh again - I love your blog. The visual from the summers outdoors with Shirley reminded me of summers in my childhood....lovely memories. When I was young, my grandparents lived upstairs, and the youngest aunt and uncle lived there, too. They had 45's and I still remember "Running Bear" playing on repeat with a good dose of Patsy Cline. Good times.

    As for the SEAL's dreams, well, I'm envious. My crazy dreams lately involve random people from my past with no apparent connection to reality. Disturbing, really. I'm worried about so many things. And, like you, reading takes me to a different space where I can tune out. That and Netflix. We've been watching Peaky Blinders, a show I didn't think I'd like but am quite engrossed in FWIW.

    Maybe I will see you between 7 & 8 at our big box grocer. I'll be the one in the baseball cap looking really sleepy but determined. LOL.

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    1. I'll look for that baseball cap! I'll be wearing an emerald green coat if it's still cold. I really don't want to go that early but I think it's smart idea.

      Ohmygosh, I remember Running Bear! We played that all the time and sang along. What good times.

      I'm afraid to get Netflix while I'm still trying to downsize. I'd never move from the living room.

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    2. Hope, I can just see the two of us going around the store asking other women, "Are you Hope Springs?" and "Are you the widow of Misadventures?" LOL

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  15. We absolutely need to stay cheerful and if that includes jokes about toilet paper I’m all for it.

    As for the SEALS doing heroic stuff I see advertised in my Bookbub cheap offers, no I have not succumbed. Those gleaming tattoo’d muscled bodies leave me cold, particularly as the pictures never show anything but the midriff and a very low, suggestive, jeans line. No, I couldn’t keep up.
    What I do buy is cosy thrillers, equally trashy, and often I get bored half way through and start a ‘proper’ novel. But I do agree, we, and certainly I, need escapism. There’s enough misery around.

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    1. In my off line life I don't like those tattoo'd muscled bodies either. Cover art has always been a bone of contention for me. Very few books have good cover art, in my opinion.

      I've tried the 'cosy thrillers' and liked some but I never stick to one genre for more than a couple of months before moving to something else. My favorite fall back is books rewritten in the voice of dogs. Dog detectives and mysteries.

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  16. If my memories of my days as a Navy wife during the Vietnam War are at all accurate, that proportion of F-words in your books seems about right. ;-)

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    1. I don't know why that cracks me up, but I do worry that if I keep reading this sub-genre that word is going to creep out when I least expect or want it to.

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  17. I, So needed this post - almost as bad as I Do need toilet paper😚

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    1. Thanks! I'm in the rationing stage of the toilet paper drama. I don't even want to think about the blog post I'll write if I actually do run out.

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  18. The pollen is particularly bad down here right now. I have really been coughing a lot with my allergies. I hope the pollen doesn't last much longer because I sound like the walking dead. I say keep reading whatever keeps your mind busy. Often it is something that would never appeal to us normally that will take a hold and keep the brain busy.

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    1. I think that theory of keeping the brain busy with something that normally would not appeal to us is true for me with the military books. Everything in them is new to me and I'm constantly looking up acronyms.

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  19. It's a different scenario in NZ which has "levels" - I've just got into Level 2 yesterday and I should just stay at home - not mix with other folk unless it's a few and they are a few metres away. This after I had gone out locally in the morning.

    I'm okay with being at home usually - BUT this is different, I feel kind of trapped. The thought I can't just get on my glad rags, hop the bus and disappear all around town...

    the rationale is 2-fold, if I was over 70 and I'm not quite there - and secondly if like me you fit into respiratory/other health issues.

    Yes, I have craft/art to do but somehow I've not got my heart in it..maybe when I feel more in control, I will.

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    1. Forced solitude really is a different mindset than when we do it by choice, isn't. The levels make sense.

      We're all going to be great craftsmen when this is over.

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    2. definitely a different mindset...I wrote about it yesterday when I realised I was kind of "trapped" and actually some of my art supplies just felt like they are "suffocating me" - the list I made a week or so back, is actually a good starting point - but it's other feelings that have surfaced.
      I live alone and right now the other unit in this ROW off our small street isn't tenanted. The new tenant apparently will move in Frid. I don't think he's in same situation as me, he looked about in his 40/50s...

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  20. That cake is GREAT! And yes, who would have ever thought it? I am sending all good wishes for your niece and her family. They must be very frightened and I'm glad she's not letting others in. Since my day-to-say life is like cv19 symptoms w/o fever, I am anxious always. I suspect having the croup (how ironic) is the same.

    Glad you get to shop soon. Read this good article about shopping online today and am sharing when I can. https://www.thekitchn.com/coronavirus-grocery-produce-safety-23016495?fbclid=IwAR3iBwJ9i9UqVRQcwolOA5SmvDs54A_QjxAPdDA7mqZ0Tb1ouuVTD960GZk

    It alleviated some fears of mine and made me more conscious in other ways. If you have rubber gloves, bring 'em on! (Oh, you probably do -- don't Navy seals have things that can cover their fingerprints? Or is that only detectives?)

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    1. The croup has run through my nieces family---one at a time---starting before the coronavirus was a thing. She says she's feeling better but still has that nasty cough. When I first heard she/they had it my mind when right to a miss-diagnosis. How could you help being anxious. I hope you're wearing out your thermometer.

      I do have rubber gloves and plastic gloves, standard stock for me. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

      Oh, yes, SEALs have bottomless pockets full of useful stuff. I truly do lust after those cargo pants.

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  21. I loved the picture of the cake. It reminded me of something we might see on the Great British Baking show that my husband and I are in the middle of binging. If you ever decide to become a Frog Hog, I hope you'll give me a heads up. The SEALS train not too far from us and I'm sure I could hook you up.

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    1. You had me laughing at the image of me, at my age, actually trying to be a Frog Hog. I'm happy with my 'book boyfriends' where I can be young again, but if I ever do lose my head I'll let you know.

      The funny thing is (at least to me) is I actually met a SEAL 2-3 years ago at his grandmother's funeral but I didn't know enough about the profession back then to be impressed.

      I want to be a good baker someday. I would probably like the show you're binging.

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  22. This post was great! I’ve never read a Navy Seal book, mostly mysteries and cozy’s. Maybe I should give it a try... as like you, I’m running out of things to read. But reading your post and comments was equally good this morning. I love country and western music, rub my eyes constantly (trying not to... but it’s hard to stop a life-long habit), and trying to decide if grocery shopping (even at special senior times) is a good idea. We are both in our 70’s and although basically well... have ‘issues’ like cancer and radiation... and do have a grandson (21) who lives with us. He runs errands for us, but we don’t want him to get sick either. Crazy times! Thanks for making me laugh!

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    1. Thanks for reading. I'll check out one of your blogs later on.

      I just returned from my first senior shopping trip and I'll write about it for my Saturday blog. Let's just say I'm glad I'm back home. That was brutal!

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    2. I went to the store at 7:45 (I just couldn't motivate myself for 7AM...lol), and it was crazy. People looked grim and it was crowded. Ugh. I can't wait to read your take on it.

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    3. 'Grim-faced'...the best word to use for the shoppers and it was so crowded I felt less safe than when I go in the afternoon.

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  23. As always you have made me laugh. I love your posts and the comments that follow are just the icing on the cake. That toilet paper cake is brilliant. I am making carrot cake cupcakes today and will freeze them for future treats.
    I love it when I can escape the present reality for a few minutes. I find myself all over the internet trying to make sense of the mess currently happening and escaping the bad news. I am enjoying a YouTube series, Sidestep Adventures, where they explore old graveyards and some out of the way museums, abandoned places.
    How lovely you got a haircut. I took the scissors to my locks and removed 18 inches of thick hair. It's still to my shoulders.
    Do let us know what you find at the stores. Stay safe.

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    1. Wow, 18 inches of hair cut off and still at your shoulders. You sound like my neighbor who keeps hers long for Medieval reenactments. I would love to grow mine out so this might be a good time to do it when everyone will look as shaggy as me.

      Computers are getting a work out for everyone, I think.

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  24. I'm way, way far behind in reading your blog. But I loved this post. You crack me up with your Delta Force heroes. :)

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    1. Ya, my book boyfriends can do anything, thanks to their magic pockets.

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