Sunday, July 06, 2008

Plots, Umbrella Rage, & Assorted Debris

This column was originally published in the Smith Mountain Eagle on August 8, 2007. The Britney Spears reference dates it a bit. . . .

Howdy, Ida b. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom US of A, where we are in the home stretch of summer, and it’s too hot to do much of anything. If you ain’t got nothing better to do, you might as well come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop and get a new look for fall.

Dear Ida B. My husband and I love our home on Slick Water Lake and we want to stay here forever. However, we have noticed that there are very few cemeteries in the area. Do you have any idea where we can get a burial plot?—Aging Gracefully

Dear Gracie: Lots of folks are dying to stay in the area but must face the fact of being shipped elsewhere when the inevitable happens. But the grave situation you face is opening up. Over at Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit, Rev. Al E. Looyah is willing to make a deal for the few remaining plots in the church cemetery and is currently accepting sealed bids. Just slip yours into the collection plate next time you’re there. At the end of the year, Rev. Al will announce the winners. Also, if you so choose, you may buy a section of the church parking lot to be buried in. Your headstone will mark the memorial parking space in your honor. In fact, if you want to buy a plot and erect your headstone now, you will be able to park your car right there every Sunday and most Bingo nights if you pay a slight extra charge for the parking fee. Rev. Al figures this is a win-win situation for everybody.

Now, if you ain’t a member of Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit, there is another option: Slick Water Lake Country Club. The management of the club figured that it wouldn’t hurt the golf course much to inter folks underneath it and could provide a needed service as well as extra income for the club. In fact, many members spend most of their lives golfing, so spending eternity on the golf course is right up their alley. The only downside is that you can’t have a headstone unless it is flush with the ground and if you elect interment in one of the sand traps, you can’t have any marker at all. Likewise for the putting greens. And you can’t have a graveside service during tournaments. Of course, preference is given to those who are already members for the RBCC’s “Hole in One” Burial Plan.

Some developers on the few open spaces around Slick Water Lake are being pressured to include green space in their development plans. A couple of them figured that they can combine green space with a cemetery, and kill two birds with one stone. Look for the “Buy a Lot, Get a Plot” promotion that guarantees homeowners a final resting place within sight of their chosen homesite.

A few of the Rock Bottom agrarian professionals are thinking about selling space under their hayfields, but they haven’t worked out all the details yet. It probably wouldn’t hurt to approach a few privately and slip them a few dollars to reserve a place, if a pastoral—or pastural—setting is what you had in mind.

Dear Ida B. I been hearing about Britney Spears apologizing to folks for her umbrella rage. Why do you reckon she was mad at her parasol?—A fan

Dear Fanny: She wasn’t mad at her parasol. She was mad at somebody in a car, and hit the car with her umbrella. We discussed this at length down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop, and the consensus is that she could have done a lot better at pitching a fit. One of the alternatives suggested by my customers was kicking in a car door, but those who have tried that said not to wear flip-flops or sandals when you do it. Steel-toed boots, while not especially feminine or dressy, are the only footwear you want to wear for car-door kicking. Another customer suggested bashing somebody’s head into a doublewide (a singlewide works just as well but is not as spectacular), but legal fees and repair bills can be expensive for this.

Dear Ida B. We live out on Slick Water Lake and we’re just appalled at all the debris that washes into our cove every time it rains. Can’t somebody do something?—Pristine

Dear Priss: As matter of fact, something has been done. Several dozen committees were formed to deal with this very problem, and they came up with an idea based on the Rock Bottom Rescue-a-Roadway program wherein street-walkers pick up trash. Originally they wanted folks to sign up to wade in the shallows and pick up trash along the lake, but they found out it is durn hard to stuff a 500-pound log into a plastic trashbag and most folks don’t find it comfortable to wade over riprap. Consequently, they came up with the “Cruise the Cove” program, wherein teenagers are issued jet skis for the purpose of towing the flotsam and jetsam out of coves as fast as they can. The kids have a good time, and except for the occasional swimmer or skier knocked over by the towed log, everything seems to be working out. Well, there was the instance of a couple of party-goers who saw an odd shaped log zipping across the lake and didn’t see the jet ski towing it and thought that the Lock Ness monster had moved into Slick Water Lake. Fortunately, there are enough weird things happening at the lake that most folks didn’t get overly upset at the rumor, other than a few committees putting up signs that say “Don’t feed the Slick Water Lake monster within 50 feet of the shoreline.”

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