Thursday, November 03, 2011

Occupation & Chores

Howdy! Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida's Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop located in Rock Bottom, US of A, where we are currently running our pre-Thanksgiving makeover special, "Turkeys Are to be Served and not Looked Like," wherein we'll get you fit for the big day so nobody can talk about you behind your back the following day. Now let's see what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I just heard that a gang of people were gathered down on Main Street. What's with that? Did I miss something good?—Left Out

Dear Lefty: You didn't miss much. Mavis Peabody, who thinks she is one of the more progressive Rock Bottom citizens, heard about how folks was occupying Wall Street and getting their picture in the paper for doing it and thought that folks ought to do something like that in Rock Bottom. It didn't take long until a bunch of her friends got together and stood down on Main Street where it dead-ends and where they weren't likely to get hit by cars or anything. It wasn't long until other folks noticed and joined them. In the meantime, after no reporters had showed up to cover the occupation, Mavis got the idea that they should shut down some corporations the way they try to do in big city occupations. Unfortunately, There are no corporations to be found anywhere close to Rock Bottom, so they persuaded the Rock Bottom Tip-Top Diner to close as well as the Rock Bottom General Store and the livestock market. It was kind of a slow day for those businesses anyhow on account the occupiers had taken all the parking spaces.

After they'd stood there for a couple more hours and nothing much happened and no reporters showed up, somebody mentioned that the Wall Street Occupiers held up signs saying they were the 99 per cent, so somebody else got some cardboard and magic markers and commenced making signs. Everybody agreed that nothing in Rock Bottom ranks in the 99th per cent of anything, so they decided 25 per cent was a good enough number to put on the signs. After they stood there holding signs for another hour or so, they got thirsty and hungry, so they went to the Rock Bottom Tip-Top Diner but it was closed. A few folks decided to go home for lunch and didn't come back.

 While the remaining the occupiers stood there, it started raining, so they all ran into the Rock Bottom General Store where they planned to buy umbrellas, but it was closed. Fortunately, the rain let up in another hour or so, but the humidity was high and it was hot. Since the employees at the Rock Bottom Stock Market had gone home, nobody was left to shovel up after the couple hundred cows and pigs that were there, and things really heated up and started to stink.

Finally somebody asked Mavis why the folks occupied Wall Street in the first place. She had to admit she had no idea. Luckily, some kid had one of them iPats and patted it until the Internet appeared and they learned the answer: Them New Yawk folks wanted jobs. Well, that didn't go over too good on Main Street on account most Rock Bottomites will avoid work whenever they can, although a lot of them don't mind watching other folks do it. Consequently, everybody went home where they planned to occupy their recliners and watch TV.

Dear Ida B. I was out sweeping my sidewalk today when a van pulled up and two guys got out and said they'd like to vacuum my carpet. Now, I thought it was a little odd that their van didn't have the name of a company on it and didn't even have license plates. I told them I wasn't interested. did I do the right thing?—Wondering

Dear Wonder: Yep. There is no telling what might have happened if you let them in the house. We discussed this for a time down here at Ida's Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. My manicurist, Honey Sue Sweetwater, told how she handled those guys when they came to her daddy's place last week and told her that they could make her household chores a lot easier. Then they asked if they could come in a vacuum her carpet. In her sweetest voice, Honey Sue said, "Why, sure I'd love to have you guys come in and show me what you can do." Then she winked and continued, "But first, I promised my daddy I'd help him do one or two outside chores. Do y'all reckon you could help me just a mite?" Them two guys nodded and she handed each one a bucket of slop and told them to follow her to the hog-pen, which they did. After they'd slopped the hogs, she handed them pitchforks and had them muck out the cowshed. Then she had them feed the chickens and gather eggs, and she was real sorry that the rooster attacked them. When they got back to the house, her daddy was on the porch with his shotgun and made it clear to them guys that they weren't to hang around his little gal anymore. After he fired a blast into the side of their van, they took off. Honey Sue was real happy that she didn't have to mess up her manicure by doing the chores that day. She did feel a little guilty that she didn't tell them that there ain't no carpet in her daddy's house, though.

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Big Bang, Texts, & Benefits

Even though I no longer have a column, every so often I get an idea for a Peevish Advice letter. Besides, I kinda miss Ida B, bless her heart. So—here's Ida B.

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 an extension of our pre-Halloween “If your hair's a fright, we can make it right” special, because we know y’all don't want to scare them little trick-or-treaters too bad, especially the ones who forgot what day it was and are likely to appear on your doorstep any time within the next couple of weeks. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. What can you tell me about the lockdown the other day at Rock Bottom High School? I heard someone was spotted with a gun. Were them kids in any danger?—Concerned Parent

Dear Over-protective Mama: The kids were fine. According to principal Alma Motter, someone indeed was spotted with a gun, but it was the PE teacher who was carrying a starter pistol for the beginning of a track meet. Somebody (who obviously ain't from around here) got panicky and called Sheriff Chase Crook and his deputy Barney Smurf (our man in blue) who rounded up all the student spectators and locked them in the gym while they investigated. Meanwhile, since the starter's pistol didn't have any bullets in it, the PE teacher just yelled "Bang!" and the track team took off. When the team saw the police cruisers, they just kept running and never returned to school property. Then, the sheriff and his deputy left, but they forgot to unlock the gym and the kids inside had to spend the night. The school received lots of calls thanking them for keeping the kids so the parents could have a little peace and quiet at home. 

Dear Ida B. I hear tell that Rev. Al E. Looyah over at Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit is gonna make some improvements in how he delivers his sermon. What do you know about this?—Tired of Falling Asleep During the Sermon

Dear Sleepy: It is true. Rev. Al figures his sermons might do better on YouTube and reach a wider audience, plus he can write off his new video camera as a business expense. As soon as he figures how to pass the collection plate to his virtual viewers, he will go that route. Meanwhile, he has already made one improvement by delivering his sermons as text messages. Most of the parishioners what weren't asleep were so busy texting each other during his sermon that it didn't take much to figure out how to get them more involved. Of course, when everybody's cell rings at the same time, it can get kinda loud, so about mid-week, parishioners need to go to the church website and download a hymn that will be their ring-tone for the following Sunday. This works out nicely, and the church was able to let the organist go which saved a lot of money. And Rev. Al was able to write off his iPhone as a business expense. BLS U 4 ASKN.

Dear Ida B. For the last couple of months, I have been keeping company with the widower down the road—mainly going to Bingo nights at the Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit and maybe to a tractor pull or two if they're close by and don't cost much. However, he told me the other night that he enjoys my friendship, but he'd like me to be a "friend with benefits." He had a gleam in his eye when he said this. Does that mean he will give me some of his Social Security benefits or does it mean I will have to give him some of mine. Those are the only benefits that either of us has. Please advise. —Widow Woman

Dear Widder: Since your friend is a man, it stands to reason that anything he wants will primarily benefit him and not you. Most likely the benefits he has in mind are that he will want you to cook for him, do his laundry, clean his house, feed his dawgs when he is gone on an extended fishing trip, and possibly trim his nose hair. I don't think he will get your social security benefits, but I could be wrong.

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

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Last SME Column

This column originally appeared in the Smith Mountain Eagle on December, 10, 2008. It was the last column I wrote.

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-Christmas and/or End of the Year Close-out Bait and Beauty Blow-out, wherein we give you a Christmas-tree shaped bouffant and decorate it appropriately to match your tree at home and give you a handful of crawdads to use as either bait or decorative items. If your tree is short of ornaments, those crawdads will do in a pinch. Their little claws will clip right onto your tree branches. Sling a little glitter on them and you have unique and lovely ornaments that your guests are sure to envy. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B.I don’t have any idea how to decorate this year. Seems like I’ve done it all. Plus this year, I will have all my grandkids visiting and they can’t keep their hands off stuff. Do you have any ideas?—Puzzled

Dear Puzzled: Let them kids do the decorating for you. When they arrive, dip their hands in green paint and let them run all around the house putting their hands on stuff. After they’ve maxed out with the green, wash their hands and put red paint on the noses. Then tell them to stick their nose on as many green handprints that they can find. When they get done, you’ll have something that looks like holly (if you squint a lot) all over everything. Plus the kids will be too tired to mess with anything else. Just make sure you use washable paint.

Dear Ida B. I just don’t know what to do this Christmas for my six kids, my fifteen step-kids, my thirty or so nieces, nephews, step-nieces, step-nephews, etc. I want to make Christmas memorable for them, but money is tight and I can’t play favorites. Plus they’ve already got about every kind of toy you can imagine. What do you suggest?—Cashed Out

Dear Cash Cow: If it’s memorable you want, don’t buy any of them anything. That ought to make this Christmas one that they’ll remember. Of course, don’t be surprised if they forget you pretty quick.

Dear Ida B. With money being tight this year, I don’t know what to do. I get lots of presents from folks and I’ll be embarrassed if I can’t give anything in return. What do you suggest.—Strapped for Cash

Dear Strappy: One word: Re-gift. Here’s how it works. Take one of the gifts you got last year that you never used. If you already unwrapped it, you will have to rewrap it. Put a blank gift card on it and keep a pen handy. When somebody holding a gift appears on your stoop, invite them in and graciously accept their gift. Tell them it’s too pretty to open right now and you will open it later. While they aren’t looking, write their name on the blank gift tag and give them the gift you had set aside. After the next gift-bearer appears, say the same thing, quickly change the name on the tag of the gift the first person gave you, etc. Do this as many times as necessary. At the end, you will have a gift left that you can give next year when the cycle will repeat. Some folks in Rock Bottom have been doing this for years and nobody has caught on yet.

Dear Ida B. I am a newcomer to Rock Bottom and I wondered if there are any special Rock Bottom Christmas customs I should be aware of.—Newcomer

Dear Newcomer: The first custom is partaking of the pre-Christmas special here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. You cannot truly fit into Rock Bottom society unless you have big hair. We can help. Next, you should partake of Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit’s annual Christmas Bingo Extravaganza. The church used to have a Christmas pageant but had to discontinue it because of livestock behavior problems, high winds blowing away angels and bathrobes, fist fights over who qualified to be Virgin Mary, lack of wise men among the general population, and nobody willing to stand out in the cold for a couple of hours. Everybody is happy at Bingo, except for some of the losers. If it gets too cold in the church basement, the Rev. Al E. Looyah breaks out the communion wine and everybody has a swig. That always seems to warm everybody up—and folks have been known to break in ahead of time and turn down the thermostat. Finally, you should graciously accept any fruitcake offered to you, but under no circumstances should you actually eat it. Consider fruitcakes as something for display purposes only and immediately re-gift any that you receive. There are some Rock Bottom fruitcakes that have been making the rounds for years. Some neighborhoods have their own peculiar customs, but the three mentioned here are pretty much standard for the whole area.

Dear Ida B. Rumor has it you are going out of business soon. Say it ain’t so?—Big Fan

Dear Big Fannie: It is so. Ida’s Salon of Beauty is closing down as a result of the economy. When you can’t make your mortgage payment or make needed home repairs, you ain’t likely to have money to fix yourself up, no matter how much you might need it. Plus, I am getting too old to be standing on my feet for 10 hours a day working against nature and trying to make folks look decent when they don’t have much for me to work with. As for giving advice, there are now a lot of TV shows that do that in more spectacular ways than I can. If you really need my advice, you can still get Peevish Advice and More Peevish Advice on Plus those books make real good Christmas gifts for folks you purely can’t stand but are obligated to give a gift too. Enlightening the dim ones for the last 10 years has been fun, but sometimes you gotta move on.

Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free—but I’m moving on. Y’all have a happy holiday season.

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.

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.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wedding Hassles, Sharing Feelings, Hauling Mermaids, & Finding Yourself

This post originally appeared in the September 17, 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-fall special, “If Your Hair is Falling Out or Falling Limp, We Can Help.” You would be surprised at what we can do with superglue and heavy-duty hair spray, as well as hair we have cut off other folks that is still perfectly good. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I have just started a new business, Weddings While You Wait. I noticed a lot of Rock Bottom folks are putting off getting married on account of all the hassles of getting married—especially the arguments between the mama and mama-in-law on who does what and who foists off the expense of all the decorations and food onto who else. Well, I have a perfectly good house and a nice yard in a rural area. It’s a lot more house than I need, so I decided I might as well use the downstairs as a combination wedding chapel/reception area for them that wants to get married without the usual hassles. All they got to do is show up. What do you think?—Wedded Bliss

Dear Wedded Blues: Part of the appeal of a big wedding is the hassles. If everybody can get upset, complain about the expense and who is (or ain’t) invited, argue about where to have the wedding, and lament about what to wear, etc. before the actual wedding takes place, it gives the two families involved time to see each other at their worst and decide if they really want the two families to join up. If you rob them of all the hassles, there is no telling what might happen after the wedding when some suddenly realize they don’t see eye to eye with their new in-laws.

Dear Ida B. I’ve been married for two months now and my husband won’t share his feelings with me. I don’t have a clue what he is thinking. Also, he is hanging out with his buddies more instead of giving me his undivided attention. What should I do?—New Bride

Dear Newbie: You should be glad he don’t share his feelings. That means he ain’t got anything to complain about. You should also be glad that he ain’t hanging around the house. If he hung around the house, you’d have to keep cleaning up after him and fixing him whatever he wanted to eat. I have addressed the question of shared feelings before, with the same answer. However, I understand that the term “share his feelings” is out-dated. Some of my younger clientele tell me that men now text-message their feelings. Trust me that you do not want your husband’s undivided attention except when you are nagging him. What seems so flattering when you are young can get to be a real nuisance once you hit thirty and want some time to yourself or for a girls’ night out with a dozen or so of you best friends or when a couple of screaming toddlers also want your undivided attention. Be glad he is hanging out with his buddies and not underfoot.

Dear Ida B. I was traveling this summer, and passed a small spiffy white van on I-95 with the logo of “Mermaid Transportation.” I got to wondering—how could a mermaid drive? She'd only have a big tail and fins, right? How could she put on the brake suddenly? Maybe the van was transporting a mermaid. You know, she could have been inside a tank, sloshing around. I figured with you bein’ in the bait business, you might could answer my questions.—Puzzled

Dear Puzzled: If the van was indeed transporting a mermaid (which I doubt, but stranger things have ben transported in the back of Rock Bottom pick-up trucks, so my customers tell me), odds are good she wasn’t the driver for the reason you have given. Likely she was sloshing around in a tank. While I am indeed in the bait business, I have never heard of anybody using a mermaid for bait. For one thing, what are you gonna catch with it? And how would you put it on your hook? While Slick Water Lake has some pretty big fish (based on the stories of “the one that got away” reported by several of my bait customers), none would justify using a mermaid for bait. On the other hand, maybe you could tie a rope around the mermaid’s tail and she could catch fish with her hands and fling them into your boat.

Dear Ida B. I just graduated from Rock Bottom High School and have decided to take time off to find myself before looking for a job or going to college. My problem is I don’t know how to find myself. Can you help?—Undecided

Dear Unemployed and Uneducated: Just come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. We have some real big mirrors. Just stand in front of one and look. There you are! Keep in mind, that I do charge a finder’s fee. While you’re here, you might find that you need some help in the looks department. We can help with that, too—for a fee. By now, you ought have noticed that everything has its price, and the only way to pay it is to get a job or to get some education that will help you get a job. You might want to see if you can find yourself in line at the employment agency or at Rock Bottom Community College.

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


Friday, September 11, 2009

Micro-Beer, Excess Veggies, & Meddling Parents

This column originally appeared in the Sept. 2, 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 are running our “Salvage Your Looks Before It’s Too Late” special in conjunction with the Rock Bottom House of Polyester’s annual spandex foundation garment sale. If Father Time has already taken away what Mother Nature gave you, you need to stop in to see us so we can disguise as much of the damage as possible Also, if your hair is limp on account of the high humidity from last week’s storms, we can fix that too. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I hear tell some guy was gonna open a microbrewery in downtown Rock bottom only town council wouldn’t let him. What’s with that? Granted, I’d rather have a maxi-slug rather than a micro-sip, but I’ll take what I can get if it’s convenient.—Beer Belly

Dear Beer Gut: What you heard was correct. Seems like the other businessmen in town didn’t want a legal enterprise taking away their business (though they’d like to make it very clear that what they isn’t actually a business—it’s merely a sampling of a home remedy for medicinal purposes for their special friends), so they put pressure on town council to oppose it. Even Rev. Al E. Looyah of the Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit says it might even cut into the church’s all-the-communion-wine-you-can-drink special.

Dear Ida B. I didn’t plant a garden this year, so everybody that did has been giving me vegetables. At first it wasn’t so bad, but when I got home yesterday, there were so many zucchinis piled in front of my door that I couldn’t get inside. And that was after, I crawled over the pile of tomatoes on my porch, which I could hardly see for all the cucumbers stacked up on my steps. If folks would just ask me if I needed any vegetables, I could refuse them, but they sneak their excess onto my property while I’m away. What can I do?—Desperate

Dear Desperate: I suggest you bag up all the vegetables and wait until about midnight. Then have your kids disguise themselves and leave the bags full of veggies on the neighbor’s stoops. Tell the kids it is like a reverse Trick-or-Treat. The reason you want to have your kids make the drop is that they can run a lot faster than you can but can’t carry as much, just in case someone should come out and make you take double the veggies home.

Dear Ida B. I am a first year teacher who just can’t cope. My 25 students are all wonderful, but their parents won’t leave me along. Every day, several call “just to keep in touch” and it takes my entire planning period to talk to them. When I get home, I have a dozen or more emails from the ones who didn’t call me at school. Some of the persistent ones text message me in class to see if their kids are all right. Last night, at least six called to tell me they hadn’t finished their kids’ science projects yet and could they have an extension. What can I do?—Swamped with Work

Dear Swampy: This is a modern problem. When I went to school—back in the days of parental non-involvement, parents didn’t want to know what was going on at school, figuring that what they didn’t know wouldn’t cause them grief. The important thing was that the kids were out of the house and not messing it up. A few years ago, the helicopter parents started hovering. Now, we got the jet-ski parents: they rush in, make waves, demand your attention, and leave you bobbing about it their wake. About the time you’ve recovered, they zoom in again. If you change phone numbers and email addresses every couple of weeks, you might get a little relief. But don’t bet on it. However, if you are so frazzled from dealing with them that your hair is a mess, come on down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop and we’ll fix you up.

Dear Ida B. I have several kids in the Rock Bottom schools, and their teachers just won’t cooperate with me. I know it is important for parents to be involved, so I try to call each teacher daily to let them know that I’m there for them and my kids. However, yesterday when I called the twins’ teacher to see if they’d eaten all their lunch that I spent nearly half an hour packing, she hung up on me. When I called my daughter’s gym teacher to make sure that Bubbette sits on the bench instead of doing aerobics so she doesn’t get over-heated on these hot days, she hung up on me, too. At the high school, I couldn’t even get through to Bubba Jr.’s science teacher to tell him I needed more time to finish his science project. He wouldn’t answer his cellphone, and the school secretary wouldn’t even let me talk to him because they were having a fire drill or something. Well, Ida B., it ain’t like they have real fires during the drills! She should have put me through. I have tried calling the teachers at home, because they’re bound to be there at midnight, but all of them seem to have unlisted numbers. What can I do to stay involved in my kids’ education? —Concerned Mama

Dear Meddling Ma: The only way you can stay really involved in your kids’ education is to homeschool them. The Rock Bottom teachers will thank you. Your kids might not be so grateful though. But you can communicate your concerns to yourself whenever you want without having yourself hang up on you or refuse to pass on a message. Another possibility is that you get less involved with your kids and more involved with your looks. Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop can help you with that.

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

Monday, September 07, 2009

Boat-bangers, Designer Dawgs, & Cover-ups

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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fish Pedicure, Dawg Park, Reality, & DNA Tests

This column originally appeared in the August 6, 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 are running a special on “Fish Pedicures” (see first letter), the latest trend in foot beautification. It has been so hot that folks don’t want their hair fixed, but they are glad to set down and stick their hot feet in a bowl of cool water no matter what they got to share it with. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I saw in both the Big Mall City paper and on TV that “fish pedicures” are the latest thing. You stick your feet in a pan of carp and they nibble all the debris off your toes. It seems to be you’d have a headstart on this, what with the live bait and all. Are you gonna do it?—Sounds Fishy 2 Me

Dear Fishy: We figured it’s worth a try down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. Like you said, we’ve got an advantage. At first we thought about just having customers stick their tootsies into the bait tank, but the crawdads might become too attached to the feet and some customers have a low threshold of pain. What we are doing is dipping out a bunch of minnows, putting them in a pan of water, and having the customers stick their feet into that. We do require that feet be clean before they do so. Otherwise, the minnows might not survive, and they are our best-selling bait—but only if they’re alive. We also offer a half-price special on minnows that have known your feet up close and personal if you want to take them home to do fish pedicures on your own or use them for bait or a combination thereof.

Dear Ida B. I heard tell that Rock Bottom town council wanted to close the skateboard park on account of so much vandalism and that they didn’t want to build a dawg park that some other folks wanted. Do you know whatever came of all that.—Skate N. Dawg-owner

Dear Dawg Skater: You are in luck. What they decided to do was combine the two. They figured that having dawgs run loose in the park will keep vandals from vandalizing and keep skaters skating—probably faster with a bunch of dawgs snapping at their heels and/or wheels. Plus the dawgs will get plenty of exercise, which is what folks wanted in the first place. This is a win-win situation for everybody except for the vandals who will just have to take their spray paint elsewhere if they don’t want to be gnawed on, possibly to the Rock Bottom Museum of Art’s interactive exhibit where nobody will notice.

Dear Ida B. I have been watching that reality show where teenagers have to raise babies and I want to know how I can donate my triplets to them. As I see it, it would be like getting free babysitting for however long the show runs and I would finally have some time to myself. Also, has there been any talk about having a reality show in Rock Bottom? If so, what would it be like?—TV Watcher

Dear TV addict: You are outta luck. They already have all the babies they can use on that show, plus the show is over. There has been some talk about a Rock Bottom Reality Show, but nothing has been decided yet. For one thing, Rock Bottom reality is pretty boring. If there was to be a “Survivor Rock Bottom,” for instance, everybody would want to be voted off first. A “World’s Greatest Mule” reality show might draw a little interest, but how long can you watch plowing?

Dear Ida B. My next-to-last ex-wife has been pestering me so much about the child support payments, even though I have told her it is a waste to buy all them boys shoes in the summertime, that I came up with an idea that maybe if I could prove the kids ain’t mine, I wouldn’t have to pay and could use the money for payments on my bass boat. What I done was arrange for them kids to get DNA tests just like they do on Jerry Springer and Montel and all, only I used a ringer for me, so my own personal DNA wouldn’t be involved. Anyhow, my long-time buddy Bubba agreed to play like he was me after I got him drunk enough. Bubba and the boys took the test, and it came back positive. Now the judge says the test shows I am the daddy and I got to pay up. Now, if I was to fess up to the judge that I didn’t actually take the test, he would hold me in contempt of court like he has threatened to do on other occasions when my ex-wives took me to court. What I need to know is, given how things turned out, do I have to pay Bubba the $100 I owe him for playing like he was me, or can I put that toward my boat payment?—Bubba’s Former Friend

Dear Former Friend: We have discussed your problem at length down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop and we all find you pretty contemptible. The honorable thing to do is pay Bubba, regardless of how unhonorable he might have been in the past. We all came to the conclusion that you and Bubba probably deserve each other’s friendship, but your ex-wives and the kids deserve better.

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

Friday, August 14, 2009

Staycations, Recliners, & Scantily Clad Gals

This post originally appeared in the July 23, 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 mid-season bait clearance, so come on in and get some great deals on stuff that likely won’t live much longer in all this heat. We ain’t running a special on much else on account it has been so hot that most of the regular customers have just stayed home and let their hair wilt.

Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. I keep hearing about all them “staycations” where folks don’t leave town on account of the gas prices but still try to have a vacation. Does Rock Bottom have any staycation opportunities?—Ready to Do Something

Dear Ready: Not many folks stay in Rock Bottom if they can help it, but what with high prices and all, they are now forced to do so. Consequently, some groups and individuals have come forth to fill the vacation gap—or maybe widen it. Anyhow, here they are:
  • Haycation: Local agrarian professional Haywood “Hay” Fields will be cutting hay before long and offers the opportunity for city folks to experience farming up-close and personal as they help him load hay. Why pay expensive gym fees when—for a lot less money—you can get more exercise and a great tan on any exposed body parts, plus work up a better sweat lifting heavy bales in the hot sun?
  • Daycation: O. L. Buzzard of Buzzard’s Taxidermy and Day Care will keep you kiddies amused as they watch him do his thing and help him clean up afterward. Since nothing but varmints is currently in season, most of what he stuffs during the summer is interesting roadkill. Watching him do this can provide the educational opportunity of a lifetime to your kiddies that you need to get out of the house because they’re driving you crazy.
  • Praycation: The Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit is offering an alternative to Vacation Bible School—Bingo Camp. They are praying that lots of kids will sign up to work on their math and alphabet skills as well as get them hooked on the Surging Inner Spirit’s main fund-raising activity. If you want your kids to experience the unique fellowship that can only be found at a Bingo game—and possibly win a little money, call the Rev. Al E. Looyah and get them signed up right away. A free Bingo marker will be given to the first fifty kids signed up.
  • Waycation: This is mainly a do-it-yourself kind of vacation suggested by certain Rock Bottomites who wish to remain anonymous. What you do is go to an out-of-the-way cove on Slick Water Lake where there are a lot of cars parked near one of the houses. Park your truck several hundred feet away so you don’t arouse suspicion. Then go in and greet everybody there like you’ve known them for years. Odds are good that by mid-summer, so many Slick Water Lakers have had so much company that they’re pretty shell-shocked and will assume that anyone dropping in is somebody they know even if they can’t remember your name. After you’ve had plenty to eat and drink, move on down to the next place that looks like it’s having a party.
  • Altercation: This is one of the current specials down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop, wherein we will fix you up so good that you won’t even know yourself when you leave. Be warned that our “Big hair With Flair” special will alter your looks so much that even your hubbie is also unlikely to recognize you. Several ladies who partook of this special in the past ended up getting a dee-vorce on account their hubbies, who didn’t recognize their own wives, made some lewd remarks to them. But don’t worry—our altercation special comes with a discount coupon for dee-vorce representation from Maycomb Philmore Payne, my personal dee-vorce attorney. Since altering your looks can take some time, plan to spend the entire day at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop.
  • Laycation: This is what a lot of Rock Bottom males do most of the time—lay in their recliners and demand their wives bring them a beer or a sandwich. In fact, this has no doubt inspired the next letter:

Dear Ida B. Since my husband retired, he gets no exercise whatsoever. All he does is lay around in his recliner and channel surf the TV. What should I do?—Concerned Wife

Dear Conned Wife: Hide the remote. Then he will have to get up to change channels. It ain’t much, but it’s a start. The other thing you might do is get replace the recliner with an exercise bike and duct-tape the remote to one of the pedals. Then he will at least have to peddle a little if he wants to change channels.

Dear Ida B. A couple weeks ago, I went to what the Church of the Surging Inner Spirit’s scholarship pageant with my husband. I thought it would be an educational experience for us and we might learn something. Ida B, them gals hardly had a stitch on during part of the competition! Do you know why?—Incensed

Dear Insensitive. I talked to the Rev. Al E. Looyah the last time he was in to beg me for a discount on bait, and he said it was to keep the contestants honest so they couldn’t hide any answers in their clothes. Also, he said it was a lot easier to find judges if the gals didn’t wear much, plus it was what was in their hearts and minds rather than what they was wearing on their bodies that really counted, so you got no reason to complain.

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

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Enlightening, Fly-swatters, Holy Clothes, & Fools

This column originally appeared in the Smith Mountain Eagle on July 9, 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 Big Bang Left-Over 4th of July Special on dynamite hairstyles, booming bait, and fizzled-out fireworks. If you need a new look or a properly baited hook, y’all come see us. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. Rumor has it that you have been writing this column for 10 years this month. Is that true? If so, don’t you ever run out of stuff to write about?—Incredulous

Dear Incredible: Yes, I have. Time sure flies when you’re having fun. And the remarkable thing is that I have not aged one bit in the last ten years. The column started because some of my customers, who need enlightening in more ways than one, told me, “Ida B., you ought to take your advice and give it to someone else, so that is what I did. Since I am so good at telling folks what to do and where to go, Scoop Manyure, the editor of the Rock Bottom News, gave me space on the obituary page when not enough folks had died to fill up the space. I also figured that if I wrote a column, then I could use the new computer down at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop as a tax write-off, just in case using it for bait research, new hair-do ideas, and making my manicurist Honey Sue Sweetwater’s presence known all over MySpace (she has 1,375,867 friends) wasn’t enough. Anyhow, I moved from paper to paper and now I’m here, still enlightening them what need it.

Dear Ida B. I am suffering a lot of stress not that my triplets and two sets of twins are out of school. They keep hitting each other and complaining they are bored or hungry or both. They go in and out and let flies in. The slamming door wakes the toddler and the baby. I can’t afford to keep buying fly spray. Plus, the slamming door wakes the toddler and the baby. One of the kids read your column last month where you talked about going green, and now they are saying I’m so out of it on account I haven’t gone green and it is damaging their self-esteem. What’s a Rock Bottom Mama to do?—At Wit’s End

Dear Witty End: It seems like I give this suggestion every summer, but here I go again: Get them kids some fly-swatters and let them go at the flies and maybe each other. The fly swatters will help your kids with eye-hand coordination, will let them find an outlet for their violent tendencies, and will substantially reduce the fly population. Swatting flies is a heck of a lot greener than spraying, as well as considerably cheaper. If your kids really want to go green, have them put in some gardens and grow their own food. Digging and weeding a garden will keep them too tired and busy to cause much trouble, and kids naturally like to play in dirt. Getting a flyswatter for yourself might be a good idea. You can give them kids a swat when they don’t listen to you, and a few swats might discourage your hubby when he comes flitting around you, too.

Dear Ida B. I just heard that the Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit is selling holy clothing. Now, Ida B, I have heard of holy water, but never holy clothing. What’s with this?—Wants to Know

Dear Wanting: It ain’t holy clothing—it’s holey clothes. And they’ve already been sold. Whatever your source of gossip is, it’s running a couple weeks late. I recommend you come down to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop where our gossip is always current and sometimes even originates here. Anyhow, Rev. Al E. Looyah’s wife, Glorie-Hallie, cleaned out her closet last month and found out that the moths had been busier than usual. Before she could sell her clothes at the church’s weekly yard sale, she had to convince folks that the holey clothes were worth buying, and she did. For instance, she convinced some folks that kids like ripped up clothes, so anybody that wears clothes with holes will naturally look younger. Plus the holes give a little ventilation, so that helps during the current hot weather. Glorie-Hallie made enough to buy herself a whole new wardrobe up at the Rock Bottom House of Polyester. However, everybody else she knew was sporting the holey clothes, so she felt left out and had to cut some holes in her new clothes so she’d be as stylish as everyone else.

Dear Ida B. If a fool and his money are soon parted, does that mean I should only date foolish men so they will spend more money on me? Should I marry a fool?—Confused

Dear Confused: If your potential dates are fools, how did they have the sense to acquire much money in the first place, and if they did, why didn’t they part with it before meeting you? If you think marrying a fool is the only way to get money, then you are just fooling yourself.

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