Sunday, March 22, 2009

Porking Down, Designer Dawgs, & Tornado Gifts

This column originally appeared in the Smith Mountain Eagle on April 2, 2008.

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 running our “April Fool’s Day Special,” so if you are tired of looking foolish, come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop and get yourself fixed up to look decent. We’ll do the best we can. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I have porked up considerable this winter, what with my desk job and all. Since I am always either behind a desk or behind a counter or else I hide my extra pounds under my winter coat, nobody has noticed except my husband who has learned to keep his mouth shut if he wants to live happily. My vacation is coming up soon, and I want to go to someplace where I can enjoy fresh air and exercise, but I can’t afford a spa and I don’t want a lot of folks to see the way I look now until I get my girlish figure back. Do you have any ideas?—ButterBall

Dear BB: You are in luck, as well as all the other gals in your same situation. In fact, you have a couple of alternatives. Haywood “Hay” Fields, one of the local agrarian professionals, is always on the outlook to make a few extra bucks, especially since he needs to replace his mule that just died. While he was in Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop the other day to get his manicure from Honey Sue Sweetwater, he happened to see a magazine open to an article about how city folks will pay big money to go on “farm vacations” and participate in all farm work just like they are members of the family, only they don’t complain near as much. Anyhow, he figured he could offer a farm vacation a lot cheaper than those professional farm places (plus no one around here would pay a lot for the experience), so he is opening his farm this spring for folks who want the ultimate farm experience. He just asks that you pay a modest fee for room, board, and any damages you might cause.
Here is part of the schedule he has worked out and printed up in his brochure:
  • 5:30 AM: A Country-Style Breakfast, consisting of bacon and eggs (both fried in hog grease), biscuits, and coffee. If you don’t like that, it is too bad. No substitutions allowed.
  • 6:00 AM: Country Living Seminar: A collection of tips to keep you from being kicked, bit, pecked, or trampled while you enjoy your fresh air and exercise.
  • 6:15 AM: Milking the cows. Don’t worry you’ll get the hang of it. This udderly charming chore involves coordination, stretching, and flexibility. Your hands get a good workout.
  • 6:45 AM: Weight lifting: You carry the cans of milk to the creamery.
  • 7:00 AM: More weight lifting: You slop hogs and fork down hay from the loft.
  • 7:20: Speed and agility training: You feed the chickens and keep out of reach of a particularly mean and fast rooster.
  • 7:25: Coordination training: You collect eggs while chickens are eating and rooster is hopefully distracted.
  • 7:40: Advanced strength and agility training: You will be hitched to a plow which you will pull until all 40 acres are done.
  • Noon: Dinner (It ain’t called “lunch” in rural America)
And so on. Anyhow, you will no doubt lose plenty of weight and get toned up, and Haywood Fields will make a little money and get his farmwork done, so this is a win-win situation for all concerned. On the off chance that you don’t lose as much weight as you want, come on in to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop for our “Big Hair” special. We have learned that under a head of big hair, your body will look smaller by comparison. Or at least folks will be looking at your hair and not your body.

Dear Ida B. I seen in the paper that mixed breed dawgs are bringing in piles of money, if you call them “designer dogs” instead of mutts. You would not believe how much folks will give for labradoodles, goldendoodles, pekeapoos, and I don’t know what all. Now I have got a dog that is half-pit bull and half spitz, so I figure she is a spitz-pits or maybe a pit-spitz and is now worth a durn sight more than the $5 I give for her. If I breed her to my neighbor’s shizu, what ought I to call the puppies and how much ought I to ask for them? Also, I have noticed the smaller the dawg, the more it costs, so if somebody don’t buy a dawg at all, how much should they pay?—Doggedly Designing

Dear DD: Some of my customers down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop
discussed this at length (it was a slow day for gossip) and concluded that you should call them “free” because that particular combination of breeds ain’t what everyone wants. I think that answers the second part of your question, too.

Dear Ida B. A recent tornado lifted up my singlewide and took it I don’t know where. However, the same tornado plunked down a doublewide right near where my former singlewide was. Despite the rips in the Elvis-on-Velvet paintings and the crack in the big screen TV, it’s a lot nicer than what I had. Can I keep it?—Can’t Believe My Luck

Dear Lucky: That depends on a lot of variables. Do you know who the original owner was and is he likely to come after you? If the original owner has already received a hefty settlement from his insurance company, he’d probably be glad to let you keep it. (The original owner wasn’t still in the doublewide, was he?) The trouble is, in acts of Providence like this, it’s hard to make a judgment call without knowing all the facts. Good luck.

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

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