Monday, June 15, 2009

Bargains, Art, and Mommy Books

This column originally appeared in the May 28, 2008, edition of the Smith Mountain Eagle.

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 annual summer “Tan Your Hide” special at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. Our tanning tank is ready and waiting for you. Most folks find that a 10-minute dip into our special tanning solution is enough, but if you want to look extra bronze, we can hold you under for a few minutes longer at no extra charge. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. Does Rock Bottom or Slick Water Lake have any good yard sales coming up? I just love to get bargains.—Big Bargain Hunter

 Dear BBH: Rock Bottom residents rarely have yard sales. They are thrifty folk who tend to use everything up or wear it out so bad that it’s unusable before they get rid of it. They never get rid of stuff that has great sentimental value—and almost everything does, which is why you see so many cars on blocks in Rock Bottom yards or appliances on stoops. However, out at Slick Water lake, folks are always getting rid of their old stuff and getting new stuff. They don’t like to have yard sales, though, on account strangers park on their grass and sometimes ask to use the facilities. Our Lady of the Rip-Rap has got around those problems with its annual church “Yard Sail,” wherein all its members pile whatever they don’t want into their boats and sail from one dock to another, either trading off their stuff or selling it to whoever might be waiting on a dock. This is pretty much a win-win situation for everybody and there are bargains to be had if you’re on the right dock at the right time. Whatever don’t sell usually gets dumped in the middle of the lake, and no one is the wiser.

Dear Ida B. I been hearing something about that new art museum in Big Mall City. Seems like they are going to have something called E-phemeral Art, wherein somebody paints on a wall while other folks sit in chairs and watch. Then before long, somebody else comes in and paints over the same thing. My first question: why would anybody sit around and watch somebody paint. My second question: is it because that E-phemeral Art is something like E-ratic Art, wherein somebody paints stuff that might not be fit for public looking-at but folks will look at it anyway so they can tell others how shocked they was to see it?—Not Artsy

Dear Not: I can tell you ain’t from around here. In Rock Bottom, watching somebody else do something is about as much exercise as some folks get. Watching paint dry is pretty exciting for the average Rock Bottomite, but not as much as watching bread rise down at Rosie Bunn’s bakery or watching somebody rebuild a transmission down at the Pitt Brothers Garage (“When it comes to car care, they’re the Pitts!”). Watching the traffic light change colors is pretty exciting, too. My manicurist, Honey Sue Sweetwater, often has a group of men come to watch her give manicures, especially on hot days when her halter-top is skimpier than usual. Folks used to try to watch me give hair-cuts until word got out about some incidents involving scissor pokes in eyes and curling iron burns on the noses. After that, hair-cut watchers moved across the street and watched through binoculars.  

Now what I can’t understand is why them art museum folks have to get somebody to come in and repaint so often. It could be that they don’t use very good paint and it peels off. Or maybe it is some of that E-ratic art and they have to cover it up fast so kids don’t see it and get ideas. Or maybe the only artists they could get ain’t very good and nobody wants to look at what they pain more than once. I asked Art D. Coe, the proprietor of the Rock Bottom Museum of Art what he thought, and he says the next time the wall in the Elvis-on-Velvet room needs repainting, he will put in some benches and charge folks to watch.

Dear Ida B. I heard there is a book about a mommy getting plastic surgery to look better. A plastic surgeon wrote it to drum up some business. Have you thought about writing a book about a mommy going to a beauty shop?—Reader

 Dear Reader: As a matter of fact, I have. Little girls are never too young to learn about looking good. I am at work right now on Mommy Gets a New Look and a Bucket of Bait, which takes place at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. Mainly it is about no matter how good you think you look, there is always room for improvement with a sub-plot about how big hair is making a comeback and some tips on selecting the right bait for the job you expect it to do. My main message, though, is that coming down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop is a better alternative than surgery. It is usually less painful, doesn’t require that you hide until the scars heal, is generally reversible if you don’t like the particular look, and you get to hear the latest gossip, which is hard to do if you are anesthetized.

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