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.


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