Saturday, July 04, 2009

Going Green and Bad Buildings

This column originally appeared in the June 11, 2008, issue 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 graduation special on a gift certificate for bait and beauty services. If you don’t know what to get that obnoxious kid that you are obligated to give a present to, you can’t go wrong with our gift certificate. Odds are good that the kid will soon be going out for job interviews and will need a haircut. Or maybe the kid will just want to go sit on the dock until he finds himself and will need bait. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I keep hearing about “going green” being a good thing. What the heck does this mean? My yard is pretty much green—at least in the places where the dog poop has fertilized it—and my John Deere is mostly green, but my six kids keep saying we ain’t green enough. They have picked up this “going green” idea at school, which just goes to show that if you educate a kid above his ability, you got nothing but aggravation. I am also having problems with the high cost of living, especially gas and electric. What do other folks do?—Po’ Boy

Dear PB: Going green has been discussed a lot down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop since we haven’t had much in the way of good gossip for a long time. For a while, when women would come in and say, “I’ve decided to go green!” I thought they meant hair color, and I lost a few customers as a result of my consequent actions. It turns out that “going green” ain’t a new concept. Remember what your grandparents said about saving everything and not wasting? Well, that’s what “going green” is. It has nothing to do with hair color.

Some of my customers have been coming up with ways to do it. For instance, many have been able to save gas money by using their mules as a main source of transportation, and have found out they can get more miles per mule than they can miles per gallon. As a result, several Rock Bottom businesses have had to put in a hitching rail to accommodate shoppers. The mules have also provided organic fertilizer for the town trees and flower pots and have thus done their part to help beautify Main Street.

Some folks with large families have both saved and recycled water by washing their kids in the same water. The best way to do this is to wash the cleanest kid first and the dirtiest one last. Then throw the water on your hollyhocks or tomato plants or whatever. Also, you can save water as well as money and laundry time by not wearing underwear. It ain’t like anybody sees it on a regular basis, so why not just give it up except for special occasions?

You can also save on bedding, laundry, and bed-making by having your kids sleep in sleeping bags. Now, if your kids like to watch TV, make them furnish the electricity. With some scrap metal and a little ingenuity, you can make some kid-size hamster wheels and hook them up to a generator. The kids run in the wheels and produce electricity. Another benefit is they will be so tired that they will sleep good at night. It will also teach them valuable lessons of life, like no matter how much you try, you ain’t gonna get very far if you just run in circles. If you have a couple of big dogs, you might get them to run the wheels, too.

If y’all readers have any other good ideas, sent them in to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop, and we will spread the word. If y’all know any good gossip, we will spread that, too.

Dear Ida B. I been hearing about some trouble a Rock Bottom business has had with its new building. Can you tell me what’s going on?—Almost on Parole

Dear Still Incarcerated: I certainly can. Recently Delbert and Mervin Pitt expanded Pitt Brothers Garage (“When it comes to car care, they’re the Pitts!”) to add a couple more grease racks. They spared no expense to build a nice brick addition, which they figured would last through tornadoes and hail and other disasters. Plus they figured it would hold up well if one of their customers backed into it, which often happens. Turned out, though, that brick structures are not allowed in Rock Bottom’s historic district! In keeping with the singlewide decor theme that predominates the Rock Bottom skyline, town council (which meets at the Rock Bottom Bar & Grill) passed a rule that only aluminum siding is allowed on buildings within the town limits. Well, it would cost the Pitts a bundle to tear down that brick addition and redo it in aluminum siding. Even nailing aluminum siding over the bricks would be expensive. Luckily, Olive Pitt (Delbert’s wife) discovered several gallons of aluminum paint in the shed. After consultation and several beers with town council, Mayor Portius Peabody proposed that the Pitts be allowed to paint the bricks to look like aluminum. “It ain’t like anybody is gonna look real close,” he explained about the time everyone finished their third pitcher. So council decided that paint would make the garage look as bad as every other building in town and the vote was unanimous in favor of the Pitts. Plus, it was getting late and American Idol was about to come on and some of the council had bets riding on it and wanted to get home in time to watch.

Well, 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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