Al Batt: Don’t let the emoticons get the best of you

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

What did you do yesterday?


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Sorry, I thought you’d asked me if I were listening.

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: I’ve adopted a motto for driving. It’s “Expect delays.” Mouths operate faster than brains. So do fingers. When you send an email, don’t let your emoticons get the best of you.

Shopping stories

I went into a store that I figured would carry what I needed. I told the manager what I wanted. It was something that I’d used for years with good success. He told me that he didn’t offer it because he had something better. With that, he began to run down the thing that I wanted to buy. He made it sound as if anyone who wanted to buy such a thing was stupid. I’d told him that I’d purchased that very thing before. He was telling me that I was dumb. He didn’t need to. I may not know much, but I knew that. I don’t need to be reminded. I shopped elsewhere.

Another day, I found myself in a large grocery store searching for mayonnaise. I’ve bought a lot of groceries, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever purchased mayonnaise. It’s not in my skill set. I looked at peaches. I wondered if mayo was good on peaches. A woman, who might have been shopping for mayonnaise (I should have asked), told me the best peaches are so juicy they must be eaten over a sink. She was right. I didn’t know her, but she was nice. We have nice people here.

I love where I live. I live in Minnesota, but much of my family resides in Iowa. My parents were born in Iowa. I’m a Minniowan. A proud Minniowan. The story goes that a man died and went to heaven. He was getting an orientation tour. Everything was perfect, just as he’d expected, until he came upon an outraged group of people behind bars. “There is a jail in heaven?” he asked.

“The only people in there are Minniowans,” said the angel acting as the tour guide. “They’re homesick and want to go home.”

Swedish fish are good

I attended a wedding reception for Rachel Knudson and Martin Johnson, friends who had been married in Sweden.

I’d love to visit Sweden one day. My grandmother came to this country from there as a 14-year old sporting the last name of Sundstrom.

I know a bit about Sweden. I’ve been to an IKEA store, one of my neighbors used to work for a Saab dealer and I rode in a Volvo twice and they weren’t the same car.

I’ll bet Swedes have clean restrooms. It seems that they would.

The old gas stations of my youth had restroom keys attached to something big like an old license plate or a 50-pound rock. The key hung from a nail on the wall behind the counter. If you needed to use the facilities, you asked for the key. I don’t know why they kept their restrooms locked. I’d guess they were worried that someone might clean them.

Checking in with Old Man McGinty

Old Man McGinty, the youngest Old Man McGinty ever, told me that his father still drove a car when he was 99 years old. It was OK, he drove only at night.

Old Man McGinty is having some computer problems. He has one of those nifty new hearing aids that no one can see and he still can’t hear anything. I told him at full volume that he should back up everything on his computer before it got any worse. He told me that the only thing backed up in his house was the toilet.

The news from Hartland

Man hit by gravel truck while checking his fitness tracker.

New bank employee hopes she’ll enjoy her new job, but it’s hard to tell.

Student suspended for telling his math teacher to shut his pi hole.

Ask Al

“Why don’t marching bands have string sections?” Because “violins” is never the answer.

“What style of clothing do you favor?” The kind that is easy to nap in.

“Have you done any family genealogy?” I have. Good prison records made it a simple task.

Nature notes

“How many hummingbirds in a pound?” In June Osborne’s book, “The Ruby-throated Hummingbird,” she said 160.

Meeting adjourned

I wanted to visit a friend in a nursing home. I didn’t. I got too busy. He died before I could visit. Make time to visit now.