Al Batt: If it ain’t broke, I paid too much for it

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

You have to get up early in the morning to fool me. And it won’t do you any good.

Why is that?

I’ll still be asleep.

Driving by the Bruces

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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: It was my lucky day. A caller told me that I’d been selected, apparently just by answering my phone, as someone whose opinion on shopping was of great value. She asked if I had any rules of shopping. I do. I believe that if it ain’t broke, I paid too much for it. And if I’m thinking of not buying what I’m buying, I’m probably right. She hung up on me.

The cafe chronicles

I know you ordered chicken, but the hen got well. So I brought you a steak instead.

This steak is awfully small.

It came from a small cow.

And it tastes terrible.

You’re lucky it’s small.

Checking in with Old Man McGinty

Old Man McGinty is the youngest Old Man McGinty ever. If things get better with age, he’s nearing perfection. Whenever Old Man McGinty is up to something, it’s a nap. He doesn’t compost anymore. Now he pulls a weed and drops it on the ground to serve as a warning to other weeds.

Baseball and the funny papers

My father was a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan. There was no other kind. If the Cubs needed to lose 10 games in a row to drop out of first place, they lost 10 games in a row. Dad cheered for the lovable losers who plied their trade at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. He had a favorite American League team that he hoped would lose to the Cubbies in the World Series. It was the New York Yankees, who played at Yankee Stadium, “The house that Ruth built.” It wasn’t named for biblical Ruth or my aunt Ruth, but for Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat. My wife calls me the Sultan of Swat due to my prowess with the flyswatter.

The Yankees were an excellent choice being as good at winning as the Cubs were at losing. It eased the pain of a diehard Cubs fan. To the majority of baseball fans, a good day is any day in which the Yankees lose a game. A great day is when they lose a doubleheader.

As a small child, I’d run down our driveway to the rural mailbox and fetch the Sunday newspaper. I’d rush it to my father milking cows in the barn. He’d check the sports section to see how the Cubs had lost and then read the funny pages to me. “Pogo” was one of my favorites. The animals Walt Kelly created for his comic strip were known for their snide and perceptive comments about the state of the world such as Pogo Possum’s famous quote publicizing the first observance of Earth Day on April 22, 1970, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

My wife gave me some Pogo figure — the irascible and egotistical Albert Alligator, Churchy LaFemme, a turtle by trade, and Beauregard Bugleboy, a hound dog of undetermined breed. They brought memories of other characters of the strip. Howland Owl, Porky Pine, Miz Ma’m’selle Hepzibah (a beautiful skunk), Deacon Mushrat, Barnstable Bear, Mister Miggle (a stork or crane), Bun Rab, Rackety Coon Chile, Grundoon (a groundhog) and three identical bats named Bewitched, Bothered and Bemildred, differentiated by their pants — striped, checkered or plaid. One bat said, “Whichever pair of trousers you puts on in the morning, that’s who you are for that particular day.”

The news from Hartland

Five players graduated from dodgeball team that had lost 54 straight games. “They’ll be missed,” said their coach. “Finally.”

St. Menard’s hardware store sells used hammers by the pound.

Nostalgia Airlines claims that their round-trip tickets will take you back.

Nature notes

Barb Thompson of New Richland showed me a nest above a busy door. A barn swallow is the swallow with the deeply forked tail — a swallowtail. They build cup-shaped, mud nests under eaves, bridges or culverts and on rafters and beams. They need a ledge to support the nest, a vertical wall to attach the nest and a roof for shelter from rain that could dissolve the nest. Barns are perfect, hence the bird’s name. Doors work well. Some people believe that swallows bring good luck. My father told lightning rod salesmen that swallow nests kept lightning from hitting a barn.

Meeting adjourned

Say “thank you” when you can’t think of anything else to say.