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Al Batt: Throwing a wrench into the mental game

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m not sure.

I can’t believe you don’t know how old you are.

I used to know, but I think I’m older than that now.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. When I was a young and cherubic chucklehead, a neighbor kid traded two toads for an ancient baseball glove of mine, which was more of a potholder than a glove. He threw in enough slugs in a coffee can to feed the toads for a week. My father said that two toads for that baseball glove wasn’t a fair deal. I had to give the neighbor kid one of his toads back.

I raised peafowl for years. I did so because the peafowl is the national bird of India. Nah, that’s not true. I raised them because of the peacock’s beautiful tail with eyespots. The peacocks flew to the top of tall oaks and called loudly, “May-awe!” I make the same sound when I hit that sensitive place on my elbow. Some people call it the funny bone, but there’s nothing funny about hitting it. It’s the crazy bone. If you had a slight imagination, it sounded as if the bird was crying for help. I know, because the neighbors, the Hollands, phoned my mother to ask who needed saving.

Time is of the essence

My job was to hold the light and to run and get a wrench of a specific size as my father did emergency repairs on some mechanical thing. I repeated the wrench retrieval process until I’d garnered the correct size. I was a gregarious gofer, a fine fetcher and a terrific toter. One day, after many miscues wherein the wrong wrench insisted on jumping into my hand and I’d no need to count my steps, I walked the entire toolbox of wrenches to the repair site. My father smiled. He’d taught me to use my head instead of my feet.

What’s in a name?

I walked down the trail as a group of birders followed me. I was in good company as I pointed out birds, flowers, green darner dragonflies, paper wasps and cabbage white butterflies. One of the group introduced himself as Bjorn and asked where he might see a white-faced ibis. I said, “Bear.” He gave me a puzzled look. “Bjorn means bear,” I said. He didn’t know that, but asked what my name meant. “Doofus,” I replied.

Someone’s ear was on the floor

I found a lucky four-leafed clover. It had only three leaves. I decided good luck would come in handy on a visit to the barber. The barbershop was busy. There was a barber queue. I sat down and waited my turn. I tried not to think about the weather. Once I start contemplating the weather, I don’t know where to stop. When asked what I’d been up to, I said, “Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.” Researchers from MIT had dubbed this tongue twister the world’s most difficult. I heard crickets in the barbershop. The barber said that before he got started, he needed to know if I’d brought a hat. Then he asked if I wanted my hair cut shorter or longer. I told him to measure twice and cut once.

Bad joke department

The world’s record for the longest drum solo was 10 hours and 26 minutes. It was performed by the child sitting behind me on a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

What’s the opposite of a croissant? A happy uncle.

The three words that best describe me are “lazy.”

Does anyone else have difficulty remembering the abbreviation for Maine or is it just ME?

Customer comments

Birds stopped me in my tracks. I showed a yellow-crowned night heron to a group of birders. One asked, “Is it supposed to be here?” I said, “It’s OK with me.”

Bob Janssen of Golden Valley said, “If I could have only one book on a desert island, it’d be “Braiding Sweetgrass.”

Nature notes

An odor, called petrichor, lingers when rain falls after a dry spell. The term was coined in 1964 and refers to the pleasant smell of oils released into the air by plants during a rain, chemicals produced by soil-dwelling bacteria, and ozone.

Raging hormones caused a robin to fight with his reflection in the window glass. I could focus a bright light on the glass or cover the outside of the window with plastic cling, cardboard, butcher paper, newspaper, car wax or soap to discourage his actions.

Meeting adjourned

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”–Ronald Reagan