The secret life of name tags

Published 8:36 am Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club meeting

“I’ve trained my cat to do imitations.”

“Imitations of what?”

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“Other cats.”

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: Distant relatives are the ones you have loaned money.

I’ve learned

1. Today is never as busy as tomorrow.

2. A meteorologist has fair weather friends.

3. There isn’t much difference between the world’s best lutefisk and the world’s worst lutefisk.

What’s in a nametag?

I was at a conference. Everyone was wearing a nametag. One of the attendees sported a tag reading, “David.” The name started with the “D” in the lower left hand corner of his nametag and went up to the “d” in the upper right hand corner. It caused me to utter David’s name with my voice rising at the end. A man with a nametag reading Stew said that he knew a person who added an exclamation mark behind his moniker on a nametag. Visions of Norm on the TV show Cheers formed in the cartoon bubble above my head.

I told David and Stew that my parents hadn’t named me until I was four years old because they wanted to make sure I had a name that fit. It was a fib. Stew changed my nametag to read, “Al!”

All she could bear

I was in Haines, Alaska. There had been a bear seen regularly in the neighborhood. At breakfast one morning, I talked to an acquaintance who had walked to work in the early morning darkness. I asked if she had seen the bear.

She replied, “I didn’t see any bears and that was enough.”


Kimball was playing Mitchell in a Nebraska high school football game. In the middle of the game, the field lights went out. Kimball was leading at the time. The game was completed the next night with Kimball being victorious. The newspaper headline read, “Kimball defeats Mitchell both days.”


“Everyone leaves the office early,” complained the man at the Indianapolis Airport. “I would get awfully lonesome if I ever went to the office.”

A rule to live by

The 11th Commandment is “Thou shall not take the last of any dish at a church potluck unless you are the last in the line or everyone has already had one plate of food.”

I hope it helped them rebound

Leon Schoenrock of New Richland told me that the Waseca City Basketball League once had a team from the local prison. I wonder if all their games were home games.

The family business

Roger Johnson of Houston told me his friend, who owned a family business, had decided to retire at the age of 76. He would have liked to have retired earlier, but as the man said, “It’s hard to retire when your father is still working.”

His father was 99 years old and still employed in the family firm.

Things I’d never noticed

The woman from Dallas, Texas told me about her drive through Iowa. She asked if I knew what she had noticed about the state and before I could answer, she said, “All the houses in Iowa are a different color. They must sell a lot of paint there.”

Sneeze words

People tend to turn their sneezes into words — most of which I could not print here. I heard a man sneeze, “Oshkosh!” He was from Wisconsin.

Nature notes

Blue Jays are sexually monomorphic. Monomorphic means that their sex cannot be determined by markings or feather color. The males and females look alike to us. Even when held in the hand, it is impossible to tell the sex of a blue jay — except during the breeding season when the female, like most songbirds, develops a naked expanse of belly skin called a “brood patch.” This area, filled with blood vessels and lacking feathers, provides a source of heat for the eggs and nestlings. Jays are interesting birds, as are all birds. A blue jay might migrate one year and not the next. It is unclear what factors determine a jay’s migration.

Fox and gray squirrels do not crossbreed. The color variations might give the appearance of crossbreeding, but fox squirrels and gray squirrels are two different species.

Talking to the Holstein

I was talking to the Holstein the other day. The Holstein is a retired milk cow, so she has time to talk. I told her that I couldn’t see voting for a certain candidate.

The Holstein chewed her cud thoughtfully and said, “Sometimes we don’t see things the way they are because of the way we see things.”

Meeting adjourned

Frank Tyger said, “There is no greater loan than a sympathetic ear.”