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The Country Curmudgeon

Inside an hour glass

“Like grains of sand through an hour glass, so go the days of our lives.”

Time passes at different speeds. Everybody knows this. When you are waiting for your bread to toast it drags. Anything fun seems to whiz right by. So who cares? I do. The other day I was microwaving a dinner for myself. It required a total of 10 minutes. I left it to cook while I did something else and before I could say Jack Robinson the dinner bell was ringing. “Boy, that was quick.” I thought. Then it hit me. That was 10 minutes of my life that just whizzed by there.

Pogo Possum got it right

“We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” So said Oliver Hazard Perry while reporting on his victory at the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” So said Pogo Possum after picking his way over the litter while walking in the forest.

The terrors, oh, the fear

I am terrified of losing my car keys down a grating. I think it comes from all those old comedy movies where they have to fish them out by fastening a piece of chewing gum on the end of a stick, using the sticky gum to recover the keys. This is clearly impossible. My keys weigh about a pound and consist of three split rings with several keys, each including one of those oversized ignition keys with the chip in it. If my keys go down the grate, the grate will have to be lifted out. I carry a crow bar in my car.

Keeping your balance

When I was growing up nobody knew from cholesterol. The big thing was “a balanced meal.” I guess the older generation’s idea of a good meal was anything that made you feel full. Some of them had been through the Depression when potatoes were considered a good meal. Nothing else, just potatoes. Breakfast for many was a cinnamon bun or slice of toast and coffee, especially in the urban environment. Farmers ate big breakfasts, I guess, but I didn’t know any.

Keep your shirt on

 

Recently I noticed a group of high school kids walking down the street in brutally cold weather. Déjà vu. There were several that had their coats open in front and even some with no coats at all. In my day this was a sign of manliness, not so much stupidity. We also never wore hats. That was a fast way to become a target of ridicule. Yes sir, ignoring the cold was cool. Literally.

School days, school daze

There are three types of students — those who study for the pure joy of learning, those who avoid learning at all costs and those who work diligently to avoid the consequences of not completing their assignments. We all know which one we are.

School days, school daze

There are three types of students — those who study for the pure joy of learning, those who avoid learning at all costs and those who work diligently to avoid the consequences of not completing their assignments. We all know which one we are.

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Good to think plaid

A friend once told me that he thought my favorite color was plaid. What he was referring to was his inability to get a specific opinion from me, a skill I learned working in sales.

Early on I mastered the non-committal answer. When you don’t know where a person stands on an issue, you need to be very careful that you do not express a diametrically opposed position. If asked a direct question, an easy dodge is, “What do you think?”

Those rascals at the plant

 

A while ago I alluded to one of my early summer jobs in an aircraft plant. I mentioned the technique known as “stretching the work” in which small parts were prepped for a brine bath, then set on the bench and stared at for as long as possible. This may have been one of the earliest uses of Zen. There were other interesting facets of the defense plant culture which should not go undocumented. 

Gamblers’ animus

They say that Las Vegas was built on a dream; just not yours. They don’t pay for those new casinos and the renovations by paying out more than they take in. I have been there twice, both times for business meetings held in their local convention center. It is a heady place, especially at night. Lights flash, fountains fount and everything looks fantastic. Then there is the gambling.