Archived Story

Al Batt: Cheap shirt matches wallet’s contents

Published 9:04am Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“Someone stole the chicken eggs I had for sale.”

“Do you know who stole them?”

“I’m not sure, but I suspect they were poachers.”

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: if it weren’t for keychains, we’d have to lose our keys one at a time.

The headlines from Hartland

Late musician leaves his regards to Broadway.

The Eat Around It Cafe declares edible silverware to be a failed experiment.

Grounds For Divorce Coffee Shop closes. People saw the trouble brewing.

Scenes from a marriage

I have difficulty telling black socks from navy blue socks. I need a good natural light to do so.

I used to have a pair of red socks. I could tell them from black or navy blue socks.

One day, I wore a Hawaiian-type shirt, only brighter and gaudier. It was a cheap shirt. My clothes match my wallet.

I wanted my wife to know that I wasn’t colorbland.

A peregrination

I was on a flight to Seattle.

A young girl, her mother, and her grandmother were taking their seats just in front of me.

The girl said, “I’ll sit in the middle. I know both of you want to sit by me.”

In Haines, Alaska

I talked with a nice woman who had taken a tumble on the ice. That was bad luck. The good news was that she’d fallen in front of the medical clinic. The bad news was that she fractured her arm. The good news was that the arm in a sling made for the perfect support for her camera as she snapped photos of bald eagles.

The muse

I was in an area never once considered for a Monopoly board. There, I encountered a fellow with a beard covering several states. He was wearing a hat that read, “I’m perfect, you adjust,” pink Crocs, and a T-shirt showing food stains from his youth that tried to cover the words, “I’m not lazy, I’m cat-like,” told me, “The only thing that works in this country is gravity.”

He groused a bit about his daughter who was buying pajamas while wearing pajamas. He said that one day, she’d been talking on her cellphone while eating an ice cream cone. She licked the phone by mistake. He’d found relief from his migraines by placing his daughter’s purring cat next to his head. He added that he lived at the Wrinkle Ranch, his name for a retirement community, and then said, “I like reading what you write. Where do you get your ideas?”

I didn’t tell him.


At the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, “I checked on our plant near Bergen. It’s difficult to get much work out of the Norwegians. They have a government pension that kicks in at age 62 that makes them all millionaires.”

In a cellphone store, “It’s like getting a free phone that you have to pay for.”

Myself saying to a friend, “We stopped at a large store. I won’t say the name, but it began with ‘W’ and ended with ‘almart.’”

I’ve been reading

This from “Made in America” by Bill Bryson, “Just a month after the completion of the Declaration of Independence, at a time when the delegates might have been expected to occupy themselves with more pressing concerns — like how they were going to win the war and escape hanging — Congress quite extraordinarily found time to debate the business of a motto for the new nation. Their choice, E Pluribus Unum, ‘One From Many’, was taken from, of all places, a recipe for salad in an early poem by Virgil.”

Customer comments

Ric McArthur of Morpeth, Ontario wrote, “The new shoot-and-release program doesn’t seem to be working for duck hunters.”

Tom Duvendack of Swanton, Ohio told me that someone had asked him, “Why would anyone name his kid Duvendack?”

Eric Durbin of Waterville, Ohio told me that he couldn’t go on a field trip because of a DFO — a Dreaded Family Obligation.

Nature notes

Darwyn Olson of Hartland asks if red-tailed hawks migrate. Many red-tailed hawks do migrate south for the winter, but some individuals, especially older birds with established territories, may stay. More birds migrate during especially snowy winters as hawks have greater difficulty locating rodents under snow.

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