Archived Story

Google has robbed us of fridge pickle arguments

Published 10:45am Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club meeting

“A wasp stung me on my nose.”

“Did you put something on it?”

“No, it flew away too fast.”

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: the most popular spectator sport is watching the weather.

I’ve learned

1. It’s difficult to tell if you’re living up to or down to someone’s expectations.

2. To be thankful that I have more aches than pains.

3. Mirrors were better when I was younger.

Café chronicles

It was one of those cafes where each dinner came with four utensils — a fork, knife, spoon, and flyswatter.

Flies don’t bother me much. Years ago, a wise man told me that I should eat a toad first thing in the morning. It makes everything else I do that day much easier. It’s good practice to do disagreeable tasks first. I’ve noticed that there are two kinds of swatters. Some people like the flies smashed dead. Other folks like to swat them lightly, only wounding them, figuring that would be enough punishment for the sin of being a fly.

I heard a lot of singing coming from the cafe’s restroom. That was because the restroom door had no lock.

The table topic centered on garden produce. There was a discussion on how corn on the cob should be eaten. I usually eat it across moving left to right like a typewriter. Once I have a clearing, I might change to eating around the cob. An ear of corn will always have an even number of rows unless some sort of stress disrupted the developmental process. The discourse moved to how to pick a good watermelon. Proponents of thumping, slapping, smelling, examining the stem, and lifting were heard from. When it was my turn, I revealed my method — I rely on good luck.

A bump in the road

Georgette Bauman of Burnsville was driving one of our local roads when she hit a bone-jarring bump. She traveled a bit farther before she spotted a “Bump” sign. She asked me why the bump preceded the sign. I told her it was so she would know what she’d just hit.

Lingering on the subject of signs, Dennis Anderson of Hartland asked what color yield signs are. I thought it was a trick question, but without looking at a yield sign, what color is it? The sign was established as a point-down equilateral triangle (aren’t you glad you paid attention in school) with a black legend and border on a yellow background. In 1971, the yield sign changed to the red background with the white region in the center of the sign we see today.

Googling refrigerator pickles

My wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, asked why I don’t like refrigerator pickles. I told her that it was because of the tiny magnet on the back of each pickle. To be honest, I’m not sure what a refrigerator pickle is. I don’t know what makes a refrigerator pickle a refrigerator pickle. I don’t need to ask anyone, I could simply Google it.

Eric Steinmetz of Mankato told me that he misses the friendly arguments that took place before Google. Does Google inform while making us dumber?


I was sitting in a restaurant with John Butler of Albert Lea, Gus Courrier of Emmons and Paul Sunde of Blooming Prairie. We are men who share things like suffering injuries while opening once-sticky junk drawers that we didn’t know had been cleared of all obstruction. If you clean a junk drawer, you should label it. We were having a serious discussion. Was it about the economy? Gas prices? Healthcare? No, it was about wart cures. John suggested one involving duct tape. Gus offered a cure that required the burial of chicken parts under a waning moon. Paul proposed the sticky juice of the milkweed plant. I agreed with Paul.

Meeting adjourned

A kind word fosters miracles.

Nature notes

JENean Mortenson of Faribault asked where to find a monarch butterfly chrysalis. A striking green and gold, jewel-like chrysalis could be anywhere — on a milkweed plant, leaf, twig, rock, fence rail, etcetera. The caterpillar attaches itself where it feels safe. Butterfly caterpillars don’t spin cocoons. If you see a caterpillar spinning a cocoon, it’s going to become a moth. Butterfly caterpillars transform themselves into an intermediate stage called a chrysalis or pupa. When the monarch caterpillar is ready to become a chrysalis, it hangs upside down in a J-shape. It wiggles until its skin splits and a chrysalis appears where a caterpillar used to be — a trick that would make any magician proud.

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