Saturday, March 28, 2009

Problem Toys, Saggy Parts, & Spring Festivities

This column originally appeared in the Smith Mountain Eagle on April 16. 2008.

Howdy! Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom US of A, where we are running our “Bucket of Bait, Bucket of Beauty” special wherein we will give you a 10% discount on all the beauty products and bait you can stuff into a bucket. We provide the bucket; please do not bring your own. We have had problems in the past with folks bringing in their own big buckets. (Note: the scoop pan of a front-end loader is not a bucket, no matter how many folks call it one.) Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I am having trouble getting my kids to pick up their toys. I have told my kids “It makes Mommy sad when you don’t pick up their toys and I have to pick them up myself,” but the kids just say, “So?” and go on leaving their toys out. What’s a tired mother to do?—Sadder

Dear Sadder But Soon To Be Wiser: Tell them kids that you are only going to pick up the toys one more time. Then it will be their problem. When they leave the toys out, pick them up, put them in a box and tote that box to Goodwill. When the kids pitch a fit about their missing toys, you say, “So? I told you it was going to be your problem.” After you make the donation to Goodwill, stop in at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. Ain’t nothing cures sadness like a new hair-do.

Dear Ida B. I am thinking of getting a face lift, a tummy tuck, and maybe some other cosmetic improvements to tighten up my saggy parts. What do you think?—Needs Some Uplift

Dear Needy: I think you need to visit Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop, which is a whole lot cheaper than all that surgery and usually don’t hurt near as much. Plus, if you don’t like the result, it won’t take long for your hair to grow out and you can start over. With the surgery, though, once you get yourself tightened up all over, you have to worry about sagging again, so you can’t enjoy it. And you can only get things tightened up so much until you run out of skin. What I recommend is a complete makeover at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. What most folks notice anyhow is your hair. If you got a lot of wrinkles, we can style your bangs to cover them. If you got a saggy neck, we can style your hair around it. Up at the Rock Bottom House of Polyester and Industrial Strength Undergarments, you can get one of them “boost-ee-ays,” which pushes up all your sags and makes it look like you got cleavage you never imagined you had. Instead of waiting weeks for all the cosmetic surgery to take effect and the bruises to heal, with the right hair-do and the right foundation garment, you can be good to go in a few hours.

Dear Ida B. Now that spring is here, will there be any festivities in Rock Bottom? I just love to get involved in the culture of a region.—Tourist

Dear You-Obviously-Ain’t-From-Around-Here: The town of Rock Bottom does not have festivals. We ain’t got enough parking places for residents, much less for tourists who just want to be entertained for free and not spend money at all the business establishments. Plus everybody is too busy to put on a festival, which often requires some money up-front that nobody has much of to begin with. However, if it’s involvement you want, a couple of the local agrarian professionals are having a Spring Fling. It seems the manure spreader they share has broke down, and they need to get certain bovine organic matter onto their fields or else they will have to spend money on fertilizer. For a small admission charge, you are welcome to join fellow tourists in the manure-flinging contest. Prizes will be given for those who fling the farthest distance, those who fling the most, and those who fling with the best style. To show our support for those who participate in the Fling, we are offering a manicure special down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. We guarantee to remove all traces of the manure from under your fingernails or at least disguise it with enough coats of nail polish so that nobody notices. There was some talk about voting on a “Miss Manure Fling Festival,” but for some reason, nobody entered. This is a shame, mainly because I could have made some money on pageant hair-dos.

Most of the festivals around here are at Slick Water Lake, where numerous committees have formed to think up new festivals to have. The latest one is the Lower Depths Art Festival, wherein participants are encouraged to remove the biggest piece of debris they can find from the lake, mount it on a pedestal (or frame it, if that is possible), give it some classy name, and enter it as a piece of sculpture in an art festival devoted to lake art. The sculptures will then be sold to the highest bidders, which will raise some money as well as cleaning up the lake. Plus they’ll serve lots of wine. After you have a couple of drinks, you will be able to appreciate the art better. At least that has been my experience.

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

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Porking Down, Designer Dawgs, & Tornado Gifts

This column originally appeared in the Smith Mountain Eagle on April 2, 2008.

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 “April Fool’s Day Special,” so if you are tired of looking foolish, come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop and get yourself fixed up to look decent. We’ll do the best we can. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I have porked up considerable this winter, what with my desk job and all. Since I am always either behind a desk or behind a counter or else I hide my extra pounds under my winter coat, nobody has noticed except my husband who has learned to keep his mouth shut if he wants to live happily. My vacation is coming up soon, and I want to go to someplace where I can enjoy fresh air and exercise, but I can’t afford a spa and I don’t want a lot of folks to see the way I look now until I get my girlish figure back. Do you have any ideas?—ButterBall

Dear BB: You are in luck, as well as all the other gals in your same situation. In fact, you have a couple of alternatives. Haywood “Hay” Fields, one of the local agrarian professionals, is always on the outlook to make a few extra bucks, especially since he needs to replace his mule that just died. While he was in Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop the other day to get his manicure from Honey Sue Sweetwater, he happened to see a magazine open to an article about how city folks will pay big money to go on “farm vacations” and participate in all farm work just like they are members of the family, only they don’t complain near as much. Anyhow, he figured he could offer a farm vacation a lot cheaper than those professional farm places (plus no one around here would pay a lot for the experience), so he is opening his farm this spring for folks who want the ultimate farm experience. He just asks that you pay a modest fee for room, board, and any damages you might cause.
Here is part of the schedule he has worked out and printed up in his brochure:
  • 5:30 AM: A Country-Style Breakfast, consisting of bacon and eggs (both fried in hog grease), biscuits, and coffee. If you don’t like that, it is too bad. No substitutions allowed.
  • 6:00 AM: Country Living Seminar: A collection of tips to keep you from being kicked, bit, pecked, or trampled while you enjoy your fresh air and exercise.
  • 6:15 AM: Milking the cows. Don’t worry you’ll get the hang of it. This udderly charming chore involves coordination, stretching, and flexibility. Your hands get a good workout.
  • 6:45 AM: Weight lifting: You carry the cans of milk to the creamery.
  • 7:00 AM: More weight lifting: You slop hogs and fork down hay from the loft.
  • 7:20: Speed and agility training: You feed the chickens and keep out of reach of a particularly mean and fast rooster.
  • 7:25: Coordination training: You collect eggs while chickens are eating and rooster is hopefully distracted.
  • 7:40: Advanced strength and agility training: You will be hitched to a plow which you will pull until all 40 acres are done.
  • Noon: Dinner (It ain’t called “lunch” in rural America)
And so on. Anyhow, you will no doubt lose plenty of weight and get toned up, and Haywood Fields will make a little money and get his farmwork done, so this is a win-win situation for all concerned. On the off chance that you don’t lose as much weight as you want, come on in to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop for our “Big Hair” special. We have learned that under a head of big hair, your body will look smaller by comparison. Or at least folks will be looking at your hair and not your body.

Dear Ida B. I seen in the paper that mixed breed dawgs are bringing in piles of money, if you call them “designer dogs” instead of mutts. You would not believe how much folks will give for labradoodles, goldendoodles, pekeapoos, and I don’t know what all. Now I have got a dog that is half-pit bull and half spitz, so I figure she is a spitz-pits or maybe a pit-spitz and is now worth a durn sight more than the $5 I give for her. If I breed her to my neighbor’s shizu, what ought I to call the puppies and how much ought I to ask for them? Also, I have noticed the smaller the dawg, the more it costs, so if somebody don’t buy a dawg at all, how much should they pay?—Doggedly Designing

Dear DD: Some of my customers down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop
discussed this at length (it was a slow day for gossip) and concluded that you should call them “free” because that particular combination of breeds ain’t what everyone wants. I think that answers the second part of your question, too.

Dear Ida B. A recent tornado lifted up my singlewide and took it I don’t know where. However, the same tornado plunked down a doublewide right near where my former singlewide was. Despite the rips in the Elvis-on-Velvet paintings and the crack in the big screen TV, it’s a lot nicer than what I had. Can I keep it?—Can’t Believe My Luck

Dear Lucky: That depends on a lot of variables. Do you know who the original owner was and is he likely to come after you? If the original owner has already received a hefty settlement from his insurance company, he’d probably be glad to let you keep it. (The original owner wasn’t still in the doublewide, was he?) The trouble is, in acts of Providence like this, it’s hard to make a judgment call without knowing all the facts. Good luck.

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

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rip-Rap Religion, Zucchini, & Elvis in Kudzu

This column originally appeared in the March 18, 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 spring is about to happen after a couple of false starts this winter, so we are running our “Easter Chick” special. If you’re a chick who wants to look extra special for Easter, some on down and we’ll fix you up. Remember that on Easter, you will be seen at church by lots of folks who only come once or twice a year so they likely don’t see you all that often. If you don’t want them to have the wrong impression about how you generally look, you’d better take advantage of our special. Everyone else is, so you’ll look bad by comparison if you don’t. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. We are about to return from Florida to our Slick Water Lake condo in time for Easter and look forward to attending services at Our Lady of the Rip-Rap. We have heard that some changes have been made at Our Lady. Can you tell us what they are?—Wants to Know

Dear Wanting: Father Rocky Shore was just in Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop the other day to get his moustache trimmed, and he is proud to announce the upgrades that the church decor committee has made to the confessionals. It seems that some folks were worried that what they confessed might be overheard and possibly recorded by others, so Our Lady of the Rip-Rap now features state of the art touch screen confessionals with stadium seating that features cup-holders for your communion wine. All you got to do is go in, lean back and study the screen in front of you until you see some sins or transgressions you might have committed. Then just touch the screen by each sin you have committed since the last time you confessed and your confession goes straight to Father Rocky Shore’s computer. He will text message back your penance or absolution or whatever. He says he hopes that you will not be too distracted by the ads that appear at the top of the screen, but the church gets a good deal for running them. Also, it is not necessary to touch the screen more than once for each sin. Even if you have committed some several times, just touch once no matter how proud you are of them. Otherwise it jams up the machine. Before long, the committee hopes to have all the confessionals wi-fi complaint, so you can surf the net while you try to remember what sins you committed.

Father Shore also reports that communion has picked up considerably now that parishioners are offered a choice between domestic and imported communion wine.
If you have been gone awhile, you do need to know that Our Lady of the Rip-Rap now offers reserved seating, so if you go in and see a pew that has a plaque with somebody’s name on it, that means it has already been reserved for the season. I suggest you call the Rip-Rap ticket office and make your reservations now. Otherwise, the ticket scalpers in the parking lot will charge you a lot more than you probably want to pay.

Finally, the service planning committee unanimously voted that this year’s Easter sunrise service will be held at 10:00 a.m. instead of the actual sunrise because nobody wanted to get up that early.

Dear Ida B. This morning, I got a call from my wife while she was shopping at the Rock Bottom All-Mart. She said they had a sale on zucchinis and she was thinking about getting one on account she had never tried one before. She asked me what I thought. Well, naturally, I said “Do whatever you want, honey,” knowing that she’d do it anyway and there weren’t no call to give her something else to fuss about. I have seen lots of pictures of young gals in those zucchini things in the swimsuit issue of a magazine down at the barber shop, and I sure do admire how they look. But the problem is that my wife ain’t no spring chicken anymore, and come summer when she puts that zucchini on, a lot of her is gonna be falling out of it. When we go to the beach for our vacation, I’m worried that a wave might knock it off. What do I do when she puts it on to model for me? I just know she’s gonna ask me if it makes her look fat, and I can only lie so much.—Worried

Dear Worried: As soon as we got your e-mail down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty and Live Bait Shop, we commenced to laughing. Then we discussed the problem. Then we laughed some more. All I can say is that you don’t really have a problem. Well, you do have problems—but not the one you asked about.

Dear Ida B. I live out in Kudzu Canyon so I am surrounded by the stuff. I got to studying how the kudzu sometimes looks like people and stuff. Just the other day, I swear I seen Elvis in the kudzu with his guitar and everything. Right next to him was Dolly Parton and Abraham Lincoln and a grizzly bear. I am thinking about buying up all the land around here with kudzu on it and opening the first kudzu museum. What do you think?—Andre P. Newer

Dear Stupid: I have to admit the idea kinda grows on you, but you got to consider that kudzu grows over at least half the county—and maybe more by the time you read this. Who is gonna pay for what they can see for free every time they look out their window? You might see Elvis in the kudzu now, but by tomorrow morning, he ain’t gonna look like himself. The problem with kudzu is that it don’t stay still long enough for you to admire it for what you think it looks like. If you got money to spend, come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop and invest in a bucket of bait.

That’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free, except when it's in my book.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Family Confusion, Flying Outhouses, & Saving Time

The following column appeared in the March 4, 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 “Madder Than a March Hair” special because high winds this month can play havoc with your hair. We have ordered an extra truckload of our heavy-duty hairspray to keep your hairdo in place no matter how high the wind. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. My husband run off with another woman and no sooner than we got dee-vorced, he married her. Before long, I noticed how good-looking her brother was, and since he was dee-vorced, one thing led to another and we got married, thus making my ex, my brother-in-law and my son, my nephew. Well, my son got interested in my current husband’s daughter, so he ended up married to his step-sister, which might make him his own brother-in-law as well as his own cousin. Then my daughter, who is now my niece by marriage, has always been attracted to older men, so she married the ex-husband of her daddy’s current wife, who happens to be my third cousin twice removed. My question is, how do we handle family reunions?—Confused

Dear Confused: You handle them very carefully.

Dear Ida B. I know that March winds can be rough on hairdos, but it don’t do some buildings no good either. What is the proper etiquette if you happen to be walking by an outhouse which the wind blows away with somebody in it? Do you pretend you didn’t see anything, or what?—More Confused

Dear MC: This is a touchy situation. Best thing is to pretend not to notice unless the occupant is hollering for help. Of course, if the outhouse is airborne, there ain’t a lot of ways you can help anyhow, except maybe dial 911 and report a UFO (Unidentified Flying Outhouse). Also, don’t stand where you think it will come down. Being pinned down by an occupied outhouse can be a sticky—as well as stinky—situation, and it won’t do your hairdo any good. Best thing if this happens to you is to come straight to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop for repairs which the owner of the outhouse really ought to have to pay for.

Dear Ida B. I hear tell that Daylight Saving Time starts up in a week or so, and I am wondering how we are expected to save it. It ain’t like you can put time in the bank and have it draw interest. Also, what are we saving it for? It ain’t a lot you can do with it, because there are still only 24 hours in a day, whether we save any or not. Or are we saving it FROM something? Is time gonna go extinct? This whole mess confuses me, Ida B. Why can’t folks what don’t like the way daylight is distributed throughout the day just sleep later or get up earlier or something? Plus, it ain’t like you can reset a rooster. He’s gonna crow when the sun comes up regardless of what the clock says. I am also confused by this time share stuff. I bought a time share at one of them fancy Slick Water Lake condos and I no sooner moved in than some other family moved in, too. Now I didn’t mind sharing their food and beer, which they certainly brung enough of, but I hate sharing a bed with them on account they snore louder than I do. —Can’t make Heads or Tails of Nothing

Dear Nothing: You ask way too many questions and I am doing several perms today down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop, so I don’t have much free time to answer them all. I suggest you throw away your clocks, watches, and other time-keeping devices and rely on your rooster. That way, you won’t think about your time problem so much. If you bring the rooster into the condo, you might get rid of the other time-sharers, especially if you let him perch on the head of the bed. However, that will cut off your supply of shared food. After discussing your letter with my customers down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop (which was difficult with all the driers we got running today), we have decided you got too much time on your hands and you ought to spend it fishing. Lucky for you we are running our spring red worm special this week, so come on down and pick some up. Just don’t bring the rooster. I don’t need him eating up all my stock before you have paid for it.

Dear Ida B. Even though I am sorta married (Beulie Sue and me has been having problems but she ain’t dee-vorced me yet), I was at a bar the other night and met this real good looking woman. After maybe bragging to her how much I was worth and all (I only added two digits to my income), she invited me to come to her place. Well, after she cooked me a gor-may meal and we watched her big screen TV, we got to know each other better, if you get my drift. Well, to make a long story short, I fell asleep. Now Ida B., like most red-blooded American males, I sleep with my mouth open. Whilst I was doing so, her cat got my tongue. Well, the tip of it. I looked and never did find it. I have suffered a lot of anguish, especially at the bar where the guys make fun of how I talk. Should I sue this woman for my missing tongue tip and the mental suffering it has caused.—Tongue-Tied

Dear TT: If you had kept your mouth shut in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened. I’m pretty sure the answer about what to do is right on the tip of your tongue—Oh, I guess it can’t be on what ain’t there, can it?

Well, that’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free (but not if you buy it in book form).