Al Batt: Wife says men live longer to get the last word

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I wish I could stop working.

It’s easy to do. All you need is one thing.

What’s that?

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No job.

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: An effective medication is one that alleviates more symptoms than it causes. I had ordered room service in a hotel. I do that every 20 years or so. The food was soggy. The swimming pool was between the kitchen and my room.

The cafe chronicles

He was a convivial fellow unless asked to remove his hat. Then he developed a hatitude. The waitress brought him a bowl of soup and a straw. They had run out of spoons. He asked a question of the Table of Infinite Knowledge. “I put out hay for my livestock. Sheep, horse and cattle feed on it. After the hay is gone, sheep excrete little roundish pellets. Horses leave apple-shaped droppings. Cows release large piles of manure. Why the difference?”

A hush fell over the crowd. No answers were given. Shoulders were shrugged.

“I knew it,” said the questioner. “You guys don’t know crap.”

Writing ways

I was working late. I’d pulled the blinds in my office. I didn’t want to have to pay to light up the whole neighborhood. I was scribbling feverishly on a yellow legal pad with a Ticonderoga #2 yellow pencil. Then catastrophe struck. I broke the pencil. I had to call tech support.

I taught a writing class at a college that provided pencils on desks with six wheels and cup holders. The wheeled desks needed supervision to prevent them from turning into bumper cars.

Becky Fjelland Davis, who teaches English at South Central College in Mankato, said that in the first three weeks of a new class, she could identify the students who are readers. They know more and express themselves better.

I’d guess the students in my classes were or would all be members of some kind of an honor society. And I don’t mean the society that involves, “Yes, your honor” and “No, your honor.”

Ask Al

“Why do women live longer than men?” My wife says that it’s so they can get in the last word.

“What’s the secret to eating wild mushrooms safely?” Have someone you don’t like eat them first.

Your roving reporter

I attended Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Meeting in Omaha in order to write about it. Warren Buffett chairs the conglomerate and 92-year old Charlie Munger is the vice-chairman. Buffett advised that if someone was looking to hire a manager, he should look for an applicant who is intelligent and energetic with integrity. If the applicant didn’t have the last trait, make sure he doesn’t have the first two. There wasn’t a functional filter between Munger’s thoughts and his words. Munger said, “We prayerfully thank you, Lord, that we are not like other religions that are inferior.”

The flight attendant made an announcement after we’d landed in what I hoped was Milwaukee. “Welcome to,” she said. There was a long, uncomfortable pause before she added, “Milwaukee.”

I spoke at a thing in Sedona, Arizona, where a local gardener told me that gardening was difficult. She loved pansies, so she planted pansies. That was when she discovered that javelinas are pansy eaters. They ate her spaghetti squash, too. I don’t know which was dessert.

I traveled around Texas, speaking at things. I’m told that the world is shrinking, but Texas is still big. John Wayne was an Iowan and a Californian, but I thought of him while I was in Texas. I went to a library book sale. I love being in the company of readers. One woman there said that John Wayne walked like he did because he had hemorrhoids.

Before speaking in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I stopped at The Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. Their involvement with bicycles and airplanes caused me to recall a line from the movie “Airplane.” “Flying a plane is no different from riding a bicycle. It’s just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.”

Nature notes

“Is it Canada goose or Canadian goose?” Folks who deal in such things from a professional angle use the attributive noun (Canada) instead of the adjective (Canadian) when referring to the goose. No one worth knowing will hate you no matter what name you call the goose. If you want to be sure you’re correct, call it a Branta canadensis.