Friday, May 23, 2008

Hitting Rock Bottom & Trading Spouses

This column was originally published in the Smith Mountain Eagle on June 13, 2007.

Howdy, Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop located in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom, US of A, where it has been hot and humid so lots of folks have suffered from limp hair syndrome (LHS). If you are a LHS sufferer, do not despair—Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop can help. For one thing, thanks to computer technology and the plastics industry, we can design a plastic replica of a good hair-do and attach it to your head so, at least from a distance, you project the appearance of good hair. This is expensive, so the ladies partaking of this solution mainly live at Slick Water Lake where they are pleased with the results while water-skiing and jet-skiing. Well, except for the one who the one whose head was inadvertently hooked during the last bass tournament and was reeled again against her will. Luckily, she escaped during the weigh-in and—since the hook was embedded in the plastic and not her head—suffered no actual injuries, other than being embarrassed about her weight displayed to the onlookers. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I read on Britney Spears’ blog that she “hit Rock Bottom” which then caused her to go into rehab” When did she hit and was Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop one of the places she hit?—Britney’s Big Fan

Dear Brit’s Big Fannie: I cannot verify this, although it may have happened. With all the tanned scantily-dressed young gals with attitudes that come into Rock Bottom nowadays, it is possible that she came in and was unnoticed except by some of the old coots who hang around the bait tank and pretend to be too helpless to dip their own minnows so they often ask young gals in short skirts to lean over the tank and dip out minnows for them. She could have been the one that leaned over so far that her hair went into the tank and got full of minnows, and who then grabbed my best cutting scissors and sheared off all her hair to get the minnows out. If that was her, she owes me for the damage to my scissors when she flung them at the old coots who were making comments about her, the loss of income from the minnows that I couldn’t get back into the tank in time, and the expense of having to hire someone to sweep up her hair that she left all over the place before she ran out and jumped into her sports car and sped off. I don’t know where she went after she left, but rehab is as good a place as any after you leave Rock Bottom.

Dear Ida B. My husband, Big Earl, is getting to be a real problem—and I mean more so than most men. All he does is set in his recliner and bark out orders. I thought for sure he would get out of the house when fishing season commenced, but he says the lake is too crowded and it’s too hot. Also, he might be still be hiding out from his latest fishing incident. See, he finds it a lot more efficient to just throw a stick of dynamite into the lake and let the fish float to the top. Then he scoops up what he needs and leaves the rest for others. Well, the last time he done this, he flung the dynamite into what he thought was a quiet cove but was actually where the Kamikaze Kayakers go skinny-dipping. Well, right after the BOOM, the air was filled with curses and a couple dozen nekkid women and air-borne kayaks heading straight for him. Big Earl says he was lucky to get away alive, and he still has dreams about nekkid women with paddles.

Anyhow, I have been watching these TV shows about trading spouses and houses and such. How does that work? I would like to trade up from Big Earl, and our leaky singlewide that needs major repairs. If I could get a makeover in the bargain, that would be a plus.—Big Pearl

Dear Big Pearl: Yours is not an uncommon complaint in Rock Bottom. In fact, so many clients of Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop have complained about their husbands and expressed a desire to trade them in on another model, that we are running a “Grab Bag Hubby Swap Makeover” special. How it works is like this: in order to lure some unsuspecting husbands in to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop, we will advertise some bait specials too good to resist at an agreed-upon time when their wives will be here getting makeovers. When I blow a whistle, the wives will leap out of their chairs, throw a sheet over their husbands, and duct-tape it firmly in place. The men will be herded to a corner of the shop where my manicurist Honey Sue Sweetwater will attach numbers to them. Then, after each wife finishes her makeover, she will draw a number and take home whoever matches that number. As soon as she gets her match home, she will start nagging him to do whatever repairs her home needs before she releases him into the wild to find his way home. We realize that this is only a temporary solution, and there is the slight possibility that you might get your own hubby back, but it is the best we could come up with.

If your hubby won’t be lured in by our bait special and flatly refuses to leave his recliner, I suggest you duct-tape him into it and haul him in an appliance dolly down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. Hope this helps.

Well, that’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Porch Setting, Road Walking, & Picking Up

This column was originally published in the Smith Mountain Eagle on May 30, 2007.

Howdy, Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop in downtown Rock Bottom, US of A, where we are gearing up for the official Memorial Day onslaught of tourists to Slick Water Lake. Rumor has it that many long-time lake residents have already started hiding inside their homes with the blinds drawn tight and ain’t answering their phones or emails until Labor Day to avoid the steady stream of company they would otherwise get. Others have taken to their boats and won’t come ashore until under the cover of darkness. Several have visited Ida’s salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop to get their appearances changed so relatives would not recognize them. Now, lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. Rumor has it that you left Rock Bottom to attend the Grand Re-Opening of the Smith Mountain Eagle. I was speedin’ down Rt. 616 about 2:30 on the afternoon of May 11, 2007, and could have sworn I saw you settin’ on the porch. I would’ve stopped, but when you’re doin’ 75 while towin’ a ski-boat, it ain’t advisable to slam on the brakes. Was it really you or did my near-sighted old eyes deceive me?—A Fan

Dear Fanny: Your eyes have it right. That was me setting on the SME porch. They had a real nice shindig in their new place. Since they offered free eats, naturally a lot of folks stopped by. Their new place still needs work. There wasn’t a rocking chair to be had on their porch, much less a comfy truck seat to set on. While their front yard had plenty of shrubbery, it lacked a car up on blocks or a major appliance out front to make a distinctive decorating statement. Plus there wasn’t a pink flamingo or a painted truck-tire flower bed in sight. Anyhow, everybody had a real good time. It’s just as well that you didn’t stop. That left more food for the rest of us.

Dear Ida B. I’ve been away from Rock Bottom for a while, but got out early on good behavior, so now I’m back. The place sure has changed since I’ve been gone. Why are there so many potholes in the Rock Bottom roads and what’s with all them new road signs? Plus, I’m seeing a lot more women walking the streets than I used to see. What’s going on?—Pa Rolled

Dear Pa: What you are seeing is the effects of the highway department’s “Rescue a Road” program wherein former litterers now pass theirselves off as responsible citizens by picking up the litter they threw down months earlier. They get their names painted on signs which consequently block the views of what little bit of scenery Rock Bottom used to have, provide new places for wandering dawgs to lift their legs, and give the Rock Bottom Road-Hunters more places for target practice. Since the signs cost the highway department plenty to put up and maintain, there ain’t money left to fix the roads.

Mavis Peabody started the whole road rescue thing in Rock Bottom when a friend of hers bragged about how she got recognition for allegedly cleaning up a road that nobody ever littered in the first place. Mavis, who figured having her name painted on a sign is a lot classier than having it wrote on a bathroom wall, signed up to pick up trash along the cleanest road in Rock Bottom. The road she picked is halfway between two fast food eateries, so along this particular stretch, folks have already thrown out their trash from the first place and won’t have any more trash to throw out until they get to the second place. Mostly Mavis just sashays along the road with her designer litter bag and tries to look busy.

When Glorie-Hallie Looyah, wife of Rev. Al E. Looyah of the Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit, got wind of what Mavis was doing, she didn’t want to be upstaged. Glorie-Hallie has a certain reputation to maintain, so she convinced the Surging Sisters of Sunshine that they ought to walk the streets to see what they could pick up, too. Of course, Mavis had already got the best street, so the Surging Sisters had to make do with what was left.
When the Surging Sisters realized folks might see them bend over and pick up trash, they signed up for the “Sags ’n’ Bags” class at Rock Bottom Fitness Center to get their saggy parts perked up. Then they had to buy special exercise outfits with shoes to match. (I know all about this because after each class they have to come in to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop and get their hair-dos redone because all that sweating and grunting and shaking and shimmying can really do a number on a hair-do, regardless of whether it is done in the gym or behind closed doors or right out on the street.) Finally, they decided to get new outfits to wear during the actual pick-up process, and they had to color coordinate with each other so they didn’t clash.

Well, it turns out that—what with all the shopping, exercising, coordinating, and hair re-doing—they don’t have time or energy to actually do any picking up, but they still walk the streets so folks can admire their outfits, toned-up bodies, and hair-dos. As Glorie-Hallie explained when she was getting her legs waxed the other day, “Doing good deeds ain’t important; having folks think you are doing good deeds is what actually counts.” She was about to say more when I ripped off a big piece of wax and leg hair, and she commenced to screaming and cussing, which kind of derailed her train of thought.

Well, that’s it for another go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free. However, my new book, More Peevish Advice, is available, but you will have to cough up some cash for it or whip out some plastic. It’s the perfect gift to give to folks you don’t like but are obligated to give a gift to, and you will want to buy a copy to put in your guest room so maybe your unwanted guests will take the hint.