Sunday, November 29, 2009

Art & Landscraping

 This post originally appeared in the November 26, 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 running our Thanksgiving “Hair for the Holidays” special, because we know y’all got lots of company coming for dinner and you naturally want to look better than them. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I don’t generally leave Rock Bottom, but my wife’s truck needed a new transmission after only 270,000 miles and, what with Rock Bottom Transmissions R Y’all gone out of business, I figured I better go to the big city and get her one so I could get my own truck back. Well, not having access to my own truck since my wife was using it and hating to drive where there is hills (unlike Rock Bottom where everything is flat), I asked Bubba Joe and DeeWayne  to go with me to Big Mall City. Since Bubba Joe’s truck has the most legible “Farm Use” tag, he got to drive. Once we got the passenger door wired shut so we wouldn’t fall out, we was good to go.

Anyhow, we was tooling along the highway—Did you know them city folks drive like they were NASCAR drivers? Well, they do!—about 35 miles per hour, which is pushing it on account Bubba Joe’s truck generally can’t get above 25 mph without something shaking loose, when we come to the big city and we seen what looked to us like either a plane crash or a building had collapsed. We couldn’t tell what, but whatever it was didn’t have any windows broke and it had plenty of them. We figured we might be able to salvage something we could sell to defray the cost of the new slightly-used transmission I was going to get, so we turned off the speedway and drove near it.

Ida B, there was a powerful lot of folks milling around but none of them looked liked they’d got hurt by the crash or the collapse or whatever it was. They wasn’t even upset.

Well, Bubba Joe parked his truck in the middle of the road where there was plenty of room for other drivers to go around if they wanted, and we got out and went over to where a lot of folks were. I asked one guy, “Hey, Buddy, whatcha doing?” and he said they were looking at Art. We couldn’t figure if this Art guy got hurt or what, so we pushed into the line and went in. We never did find him, but there was a lot of pictures on the wall. They didn’t have price tags, so we figured they might be free. They didn’t have any Elvis on velvet, but they had a few that might look good over the TV to hide the stain that happened the time I missed my spit-cup and that my wife still gives me grief for. So I pried one off the wall, and we left.

There was a policeman leaving a note on the truck window, which I thought was a real neighborly thing to do, but we didn’t have time to stop and chat. We barely made it to pick up the transmission before the place closed so as it was.

My wife was real thrilled with the picture, too. But Ida B, we never did figure out what happened to that building or airplane or whatever it was. Can you clue us in?—Big Earl

Dear Big E. From what folks tell me, it was a museum that you saw and it was supposed to look that way because it is art. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Also, you better give that picture back. I hope your wife hasn’t got attached to it. Here’s a hint to help with that wall stain. Just duct tape a frame around it and pretend it is a unique piece of art. Likely your guests will not know the difference.

Dear Ida B. I am a heavy equipment operator, and not long ago I got some work out at Slick Water Lake from one of them out-of-town developers. I thought I was doing good when he didn’t even hesitate at the price I quoted him (the standard Rock Bottom price plus the added 150% fee for outsiders). Granted the phone connection wasn’t too good when I talked to him, but I thought I understood him pretty well. He told me to go over the whole place and I told him I could do that. Anyhow, I went out to the lake and proceeded to scrape the whole place as flat as I could. It was tough going on account of a lot of big rocks. I even scraped off a bunch of spindly pines that never would amount to anything. Come to find out, now he refuses pay me. He said he contracted me for landSCAPING, not landSCRAPING, and he meant for all them hills and little pines and big rocks to stay. He says I owe him for all the damage I done. Ida B., I improved his development. Now he has room to crowd in a whole bunch more over-priced condos. I figure he owes me a pile of money. What do you think?—Bull Dozer

Dear Bull-Headed: I think you better chalk this up to experience and not charge the man. Also, you might think about changing the name of your business as well as your own name just in case he tries to track you down.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Farm Use Caddy, Phone Calls, Ignorant Bliss, & Decorations

This post originally appeared in the November 12, 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 Post-Election “Change is Here” Special, wherein we change the way you look. Keep in mind that there is a risk you might come out looking worse, but you will at least look different. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I just got me a brand new Cadillac convertible, but I can’t afford the license plates or registration. You reckon I could just slap a “Farm Vehicle” plate on ’er and let that do for a while? I never drive it more’n 50-75 miles from home, and I only use it to get to or from the farm, so it ain’t like I’m exactly being dishonest. What do you think?—Caddy Daddy

Dear Cad: As long as you are hauling livestock, you are probably OK. I doubt that your mule or cow would be cooperative, but if you scrub up one of your hogs and put plastic on the seat before you load her up, I think you’re good to go. She’ll probably enjoy getting out, and hogs are generally good company. They ain’t likely to nag you to drive slower or complain about what’s playing on the radio. If you ain’t got a spare hog, you could always throw a couple of bales of hay in the back seat. Again, you want to put down plastic first, especially if you got some of them velour seats.

Dear Ida B. Now that the election is over, I’m feeling kinda lonely. I usta get five or six calls a day from them political folks wanting to sway my vote. I kinda miss the attention. What do you suggest?—Lonely

Dear Lonely: Why not randomly call up whatever numbers pop into your head and chat with whatever folks answer? They’re already used to being annoyed from all them political calls and will probably have a few choice words to say to you. Or call up the phone number in them infomercials and ask questions about their products. Or call tech support for your Internet service and you can talk to folks in foreign countries who don’t have a clue how to help you but you won’t be able to understand them anyhow. Anyhow, please do not call Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop unless you are going to partake of our beauty and bait services.

Dear Ida B. If ignorance is bliss, why ain’t I happy? Everybody is always telling me how ignorant I am.—Miss Raybull

Dear Miz: If you are truly ignorant, you wouldn’t know whether or not you are happy. I suggest you try harder to become more ignorant than you already are. If you want to look good while doing so, come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop and we will fix you up. However, we will also fill you in on the latest gossip, so you won’t be ignorant of what is going on in Rock Bottom, but you might be happy to learn stuff about other people that are worse off than you.

Dear Ida B. It seems like I just got my Halloween decorations—pumpkins and a scarecrow and cornstalks—up, and now it’s past time to decorate for Thanksgiving and Christmas. What can I do?—Overwhelmed

Dear Get Over It: Stick some feathers in the pumpkins and they’ll look like turkeys, especially if your guests are nearsighted. The cornstalks are good to go just the way they are, on account they look like harvest stuff, which is the main theme of Thanksgiving anyway. Throw a pilgrim outfit on the scarecrow and he’ll be fine—unless he looks more like an Indian, in which case, stick some feathers on his head. After Thanksgiving, spray paint the pumpkins red to look like big Christmas Balls, or stack them and paint them white to look like a snowman. Spray paint the cornstalks green to look like a Christmas tree. Throw a little glitter on them while the paint is still wet, and they’ll be especially festive. Put a Santa suit on the scarecrow if he’s big, or an elf suit if he’s small. In February, if the pumpkins haven’t rotted, you can glue a white heart-shaped doily on them (if they’re red) or a red heart-shaped doily on them (if they’re white). Dress the scarecrow like Cupid. Throw away the cornstalks. Happy Halloween-thanksgiving-christmas-valentines-day!

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