This column originally appeared in the August 20, 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 Back-To-School Special that will get your kid fit to be seen in public after lying around all summer and letting his/her hair grow wild. Not only will we give your kid a decent haircut and/or style that his/her grandmother would approve of, we will also attempt to patch up any pierced places. However there is a limit to what can be done with duct tape and Superglue, so don’t get your hopes up to high. Also, we will dye over any weird colors that your kid’s hair might be while he/she attempted to find himself/herself this summer. If our dye-job won’t cover the weird color, we will shave his/her head. Now lessee what we got in the mail:
Dear Ida B. Out here in my cove at Slick Water Lake, the stripers abound. However, so do the fishermen. Many of them have been banging on their boats with poles because they say it attracts the fish. Ida B, I don’t see how it could do that. I was taught that you have to be quiet when you fish. What is going on? All this banging is driving me crazy. And my visiting grandkids can hardly hear their heavy metal music on their iPods.—Tired of the Noise
Dear Tired: Every time the boat bangers appear in your cove, give your grandkids a set of drums and an electric guitar and have them make their own music on the dock. The boat bangers will get the message. Or else the fish will leave and they will follow them.
Dear Ida B. My kids are pestering me to get them a dog. They don’t want just any old dog. They want one of them designer dogs. What the heck is a designer dog?—Doggone If I Know
Dear Doggone: Back in the old days we called designer dawgs by their proper term: mutts. If we were being polite, we said crossbreeds. Anyhow, somewhere along the line, somebody must have owned an expensive lady poodle that had a brief but passionate affair with a traveling male lab. Knowing that the puppies weren’t registerable and he’d be stuck with them, the poodle’s owner called them labradoodles and extolled their virtues. Plus they were rare. Folks want what is up-scale and rare, so the breed took off. Well, it wasn’t long until folks were breeding puggles and yorkie-poos and peke-a-poms and goodness knows what. What you do is go to the pound and pick out a slightly used dawg that looks personable. If you can find out what breeds it is, fine. If not, make up a couple. Just tell your kids the blueticoodle or dober-poo or rotty-pom you got is the latest designer dawg and they are the first in the neighborhood to have one. The dawg will be grateful you adopted it, and the kids might be grateful, too—at least until they figure out what they want next. Just be glad your kids don’t want one of them little accessory dawgs made popular by the Chihuahua that Paris Hilton used to tote around in her purse. Ain’t nothing like reaching into your purse or pocket for your keys and being bit by a little dawg to ruin your day, even though it does discourage pickpockets.
Dear Ida B. What with school starting soon, I am about ready to buy my kids some school clothes. I was kind of waiting for Rock Bottom High School to issue it’s dress code for this year, so I don’t get stuck like I was last year with a couple dozen tube tops and Daisy Duke shorts that my gals won’t be allowed to wear. Now I hear that kids can wear anything they want to school. How can that be? Don’t the school officials realize what some of them kids are likely to wear (or not wear as the case may be)?—Concerned Mom
Dear Mommie: Don’t worry. While the kids can wear anything they want to school, whatever they wear has got to be covered up by blaze orange coveralls as soon as they walk in the schoolhouse door. According to principal Alma Motter, the school got tired of arguing with the kids over what was and wasn’t appropriate attire. Some of the gals argued that if it was good enough for Britney Spears to wear in public, it out to be good enough to wear to school, but her style don’t cut it in Rock Bottom. Anyhow, it was determined that wearing coveralls was equally unfair to all and still allowed kids to wear what they pleased as long as nobody else could see it. The coveralls have plenty of pockets, so kids don’t need designer backpacks to tote around their iPods, cellphones, and other overpriced electronic doo-dads. Plus, if kids cut school, that blaze orange really stands out. If they’re sentenced to jail, they’re ahead of the game. And don’t forget how handy it will be during deer season. Kids won’t even have to go home to change anymore before heading to the woods. Alma Motter expects other school districts to follow the Rock Bottom trend.
Dear Ida B. some school systems are considering a four-day week. Will Rock Bottom do this?—Hopeful
Dear Don’t Get Your Hopes Up: It is unlikely. Parents wouldn’t put up with it. Some members of the Rock Bottom PTA have even asked for seven-day school weeks so they don’t have to have their kids underfoot, but the teachers can’t stand them for that long, so the seven-day week ain’t gonna happen. The current five-day week is a pretty good compromise.
Well, that’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free.