Al Batt: Ideologies of chair sitting

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I put a lot of thought into your birthday gift.

What did you get me?

A lot of thought.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. Summer is in the rearview mirror. The sounds of combines and migrating geese have become ubiquitous. At this time of the year, I recall the advice given to me by Tom Smith, a teacher of mine, who recommended getting a job where I drive west to work in the morning and east going home.

I’m a DIY guy

I completed a do-it-yourself project. I put a rear end in a chair. There’s not much skill needed. That’s the way I like it. During my formative years, a neighbor boy was said to be double-jointed. A book in the school library said it was hypermobility or digital hyperextensibility. His ability to extend a joint beyond the normal range was caused by genetics that brought flexible joints, loose ligaments and/or flexible bones. He could touch his thumb to the forearm of the same arm. I’ve heard it called a hitchhiker’s thumb. His father claimed his son could be folded enough to fit into a glove compartment. My ability to sit in a comfortable chair is no mean feat and draws no crowds. I’m good with that.

A wandering soul

I visited with a person wearing a “I kind of don’t care” T-shirt near Vail, Colorado. She told me she worked in customer service. If I were jaded, I’d have guessed that.

Thoughts on cooling weather

I grew up on intimate terms with an outhouse. It was too close to the house in the summer and too far away in the winter. Robert Frost wrote, “And were an epitaph to be my story, I’d have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” My quarrel wasn’t with the world. It was with an outhouse on a gelid day.

I visited the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall exhibit to pay respects to the names of family members etched upon it. It’s a replica of the wall in Washington, D.C., where I’ve left tears. In another war, my father-in-law was part of the first Marines to land on the assault on Iwo Jima. He was a farm boy far from home and never talked about that bloody battle other than telling me his watch had broken during the landing and he never knew the time. He was a good man who didn’t enjoy cold weather and put on a coat when eating ice cream.

The bad joke therapy department

Why did the cat cross the road? Because the chicken had a laser pointer.

The price of used cars has gone up 32% this year, but the price of bananas has remained the same. What does that tell us about the economy? We should drive bananas.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because the chicken had a laser pointer.

If I win the lottery, no one near me will be poor. I’ll move to a rich neighborhood.

Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees to play a German composer of the Baroque era in a movie, just so he could say, “I’ll be Bach.”

What did the orange say to the apple? Nothing. Oranges can’t talk.

I’ve learned

A house cat reminds us we aren’t the center of the universe.

Men read billboards aloud when in a car. It lets others know we notice our surroundings.

You know you’re lost when your GPS suggests you stop and ask for directions.

No man has ever taken his family to a theme park and said, “I can’t believe how little we’ve spent here.”

Nature notes

White-throated sparrows and yellow-rumped warblers abound. Goldenrod, milkweed and cattail go to seed. Virginia creeper, sumac (smooth and staghorn) and red maple turn red. Virginia creeper climbs trees, making for lovely, red trunks. Ash, aspen, basswood, birch, elm, hackberry, ironwood and sugar maple leaves yellow. The female great horned owl usually hoots first, and the male replies at a lower pitch. Even though a female is a third larger than a male, the male has a bigger voice box (syrinx). An owl issues a stuttering hoot-a-hoot; hoo-hoo. A mnemonic is “Who’s awake? Me too.”

Dick Smaby and Terry Dorsey were golfing in Austin when they heard a barred owl call six times. Then all they heard were crows. The crows found the owls and were happy to express their hatred.

Meeting adjourned

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”—Eric Hoffer. Be kind.