Saturday, October 24, 2009

Elections, Tricks, Leaves, & Cat Vomit Casseroles

The following column appeared in the October 29, 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 running our Pre-Election Special, wherein we make you look as much like the candidate of your choice as we can. We are also running our Pre-Halloween Special wherein we’ll make you look as creepy as we can, although some of our customers don’t need help in that department. Finally, we are running our Harvest Hair special, wherein we will glue hair we cut off somebody else on to the thinner areas of your head. We only ask that if you opt for the last special, you do not put on a hat for the rest of the day unless you are really attached to that hat—because it will be attached to you for several weeks. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. Are folks in Rock Bottom excited about the up-coming election? It’s only a few days away!—Pol Liti Gal

Dear Pol: Folks in Rock Bottom rarely get excited about anything, especially something that happens on a pretty regular basis as often as every four years. Most Rock Bottomittes think that having to get up from their recliners and go to the polls where they don’t even get a free lunch or the chance to watch mud-wrassling is more trouble than it’s worth. Also, since the typical Rock Bottom couple rarely agrees with each other, they figure that it’s a waste of gas to go out to vote when the wife’s vote will cancel out the husband’s and vice-versa.

Dear Ida B. I have figured out what to do with all the campaign literature that has been sent to me. I’m going to stuff it in the bags of all those pesky trick-or-treaters who will be coming around my house. What do you think of that?—Boo

Dear Booed: I think you will be the victim of several Halloween pranks after the kids see what you gave them. Good luck getting your outhouse down off your roof.

Dear Ida B. The leaves have been falling pretty hard in my yard lately, and everyday my wife keeps nagging me to rake them up and bag them and haul them to the dump. However, with all the football on TV, I just can’t get myself out of the recliner to rake them. What I have been doing is, after both my wife and the next-door neighbor go to work, I take my leaf-blower and blow all the leaves next door. However, the next morning after I get off from working the night shift, all the leaves are back in my yard and my wife starts in on me again. Do you think my neighbor is getting suspicious because he doesn’t have any trees in his yard?—Not-Rakin

Dear Knothead: Yes. For all the effort you have spent blowing those leaves next door everyday, you could have blown them into the back of your pick-up and hauled them off. Please tell your wife that all the nagging she’s been doing has probably put a strain on her and she needs to come down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop for a complete makeover. Also, we will clue her in to the most efficient ways to nag you.

Dear Ida B. I am in an awful fix. My in-laws were coming to supper the other night and I had just set the table when the cat hopped up on it and threw up. Well, I scraped up the mess and threw it into an empty casserole dish and meant to take it to the garbage but then the door bell rang, so I just left the dish on the table when I went to answer it. Don’t you know, there stood my mama-in-law and her sister and a couple more assorted in-laws way earlier than I was expecting them. Well, we all got to talking, and then the oven timer rang and I went into the kitchen to take the cornbread out of the oven. I forgot about that casserole dish. In the meantime, all them in-laws went in the dining room and started without me. By the time I had scraped the burnt parts off the cornbread and joined them, they’d eaten just about everything on the table except the pattern off the plates. That casserole dish was empty! The worst part was my mama-in-law said it was the best thing I ever made and could she have the recipe. Ida B., I can’t tell her the truth and I have been putting her off for several days now. What can I do? She can be real persistent. And I can’t lie to her, can I?—Perplexed

Dear Perplexed: About all you can do is confess. Just tell her that it’s something you threw together at the last minute and you can’t quite remember what ingredients were actually in it, other than they were leftovers. That explanation would be about as close to the truth as you can get without actually telling the whole truth.

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

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Failures, Tree-savers, Newcomers, and Haunted

This column originally appeared in October 15, 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 running our Palin special for those of y’all Republican ladies who’ve got enough hair for me to tease up on top and hang down on the bottom and who want to emulate the vice-presidential candidate on election day. I have always said that big hair will come back, and doggone if it hasn’t. Whether this trend will last for the next four years is anybody’s guess, but it will at least last until early November. For y’all Democrat ladies, we are sorry there ain’t no female vice-presidential candidate for y’all to emulate, but maybe next time. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B: I notice that in the office of Rock Bottom High School (where Bubba Jr. spends a lot of his time when he ain’t actually suspended), there is a banner that says, “At Rock Bottom High School, failure is not an option.” Does that mean that failure is a requirement?—Bubba’s Mama

Dear BM: Actually, that is only half the banner. What it actually says is “At Rock Bottom High School, failure is not an option; failure is a tradition.” According to principal Alma Motter, the only tradition at Rock Bottom High School that has endured through the generations is failure. She is sorry they did not have a wall big enough to put up the whole thing.

Dear Ida B. Recently I went out to one of them real classy eating places (where they even offer a combo instead of making you order the drinks and fries separate). Well, I decided to go to the indoor privy (I told you they was classy!) where I heard you could also wash your hands if you hand a mind to, which I did since it was free. However, they didn’t have a towel or even a roll of paper towels. What they had was some gizmo that blew hot air onto your hands. There was a little sign on it that said using it save trees. Well, I looked out the window and didn’t see any trees being saved, but I figured they was being saved someplace else. Anyhow, I used it about ten times so I figured I saved ten trees. What I want to know is how do I go about getting them trees?—Needs the Wood.

Dear Woody: There ain’t any trees actually saved, but every time you use that electric air-blowing gizmo, you are helping to remove part of a mountaintop in West VA or Kentucky or SW VA, because that’s where the coal is coming from to make the electricity to power that gizmo. The trees that would have made the paper towels are part of a crop that a tree farmer plants specifically to sell to the paper mill. Not using paper towels to save trees is like not eating Fritos to save corn. Now, if the tree farmers around Rock Bottom can’t sell their crop on account there ain’t any demand, their wives won’t be able to afford to come to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop to get their hair done and I will lose money. Also, trees are renewable, but it is doggone hard to put back a mountaintop the way it was after its insides have been scooped out.

Dear Ida B. I have been a resident of Rock Bottom for nigh onto twenty years, but I was recently told I am not a resident in good standing on account I am still a newcomer. How can I get to be a resident in good standing?—Wants to Belong

Dear Wanting: Very few residents of Rock Bottom are in good standing. Standing takes too much effort, even if they slouch. Most are sitting down, especially in their recliners. If you mean when will you be fully accepted as an official resident of Rock Bottom, that can take generations. If your grandma had gone to school with everybody else’s grandmas, that would have helped. If members of your family have lived in the same house for over fifty years, that shows a commitment, especially if y’all still have all y’all’s previous cars and trucks used as yard art.

Dear Ida B. Will there be a haunted house in Rock Bottom this Halloween? I just love creepy stuff—Tricker Treat

Dear Tricksy: Well, you have come to the right town. There isn’t just one particular haunted house because we have plenty of creepy places so as it is. Just go knock on the door of any run-down looking house in Rock Bottom (which will be most of them) and offer to pay whoever answers a quarter for you to come in a look around. Odds are good they’ll let you in, but some might hold out for fifty cents. You’ll see plenty of dust, cobwebs, spiders, and maybe even a few snakes. There is no telling what else you might see, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you don’t have a lot of time and just want to be scared real quick, come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop before a few of my regular customers get their make-overs. They’re pretty scary until I have worked on them for a while. If seeing them don’t give you a scare, we can throw a handful of expired bait at you when you aren’t looking.

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

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fair Pig Fatalities, Ear-Cleaning, & Fashion Fits

This column originally appeared in the October 1, 2008, 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 running our pre-Halloween special, “You Might Look a Fright, But Your Hair Don’t Have To.” You would be surprised at how the right hairdo can take folks’ eyes off all the sags, bags, zits, and pits your face is packing around. If you can’t afford a facelift, you can probably scrape up enough for a new hairdo. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. My prize sow. Porky Soo, had a freak accident at the state fair the other day. She’d just won “Best in Show” and was taking her victory lap around the ring when she jumped the fence and ended up in the bumper car ride where she suffered fatal bruises. The Rev. Al E. Looyah, of Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit, just happening to be exiting the hoochie-koochie tent where he’d been ministering to those poor gals who hardly have any clothes to wear. Well, he administered last rites and said he’d see to Porky Soo’s cremation and arrange a nice service for her, but he had to hurry home for a blessing of the backyard barbecue in his subdivision. I helped him load the body of my deceased sow into the trunk of his Cadillac. He drove off, and I went to the hootchie-koochie show to take my mind off my loss. Two days later he calls and says he has her ashes for me and we can discuss what kind of service I want and/or can afford. I pick up the box of her ashes, and while we are discussing the service, he gets a phone call from what must be some kind of literary program (at least I heard him use the word “bookie”) and he thought he better continue the call in the other room. While he was out of the room, I peeked in the box and noticed several half-burned charcoal briquettes in amongst the ashes. I left before he got back. Ida B., there is something suspicious about this situation. Can you shed some light on this?—Bereaved

Dear Bereaved: I probably could, but I think you can figure it out for yourself. All I will say is that Rev. Al’s wife Glorie Hallie was in Ida’s Salon of Beauty and Life Bait Shop yesterday, telling everybody what a great pig roast they’d just had in their new barbeque pit. She said that money has been a little tight lately and she couldn’t believe how lucky they were to get something to cook for all their guests on the spur of the moment like that.

Dear Ida B. I took a gal out to dinner on our first date the other night. I really wanted to impress her, so I let her order the combo instead of just the Big Mac. Midway through dinner, I felt my ear clog up and I had left my keys under the seat of the truck, so I didn’t have a key handy to dig out the earwax. The fingernail I use as a back-up ear-cleaner had broken off when I opened my last can of beer so it didn’t reach far enough. I didn’t know if it was good manners to ask if I could use her keys for ear-cleaning purposes, so I decided not to risk it. Anyhow, I couldn’t hear real well through the rest of dinner, so I just nodded to anything she said. I am now afraid that I might have agreed to things I wouldn’t have agreed to if I could have known what it was she was asking about, because when I called her the next day, she was talking about setting a date. Can you help me?—All Ears

Dear Earfull: It is never good manners to clean your ear with someone else’s key—especially somebody you are trying to impress. That is why you always carry an extra key just for that purpose. You could have excused yourself to go out to the truck, but that is risky on account some gals might see a better looking guy in line and will make his acquaintance by the time you get back. Anyhow, if you think this gal is planning for the two of y’all to get hitched, you have two choices: go through with it or don’t go through with it. If you go through with it, consider how cheap you got off. Now you don’t have to spend any more money trying to impress her. If you want to break up, it is best to let her do the breaking up. Next time you take her out, wear a wedding ring and tell her that there’s something you’ve been meaning to tell her. She will see the ring and immediately break up. Be warned that she might throw something, so try to do this in a public place when y’all are eating burgers and not big plates of spaghetti. Another reason for being in public is that there will be witnesses in case she does serious harm to you.

Dear Ida B. My teen-aged daughter Bubbette saw on TV where the new fashions are gonna be based on jumpsuits, relaxed pants, and stripes. She is pitching a fit for me to get her them things, which I cannot afford. She says her friends will make fun of her if she don’t dress in the latest fashion—or at least retro fashion. Ida B., what is a mama to do when her daughter pitches a fit to get high-fashion that we can’t afford?—Fit Pitcher’s Mama

Dear FPM: You are in luck. The Rock Bottom Jail is having its annual yard sale, wherein they are selling out-dated coveralls. These coveralls are kinda like a jumpsuit, only more relaxed, and they’re striped (plus being as old as they are qualifies them as retro), so you can cover all the fashion bases in one outfit. I recommend you buy several.

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