Al Batt: Hard to be sick of this winter so far

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Echoes from the

Loafers’ Club Meeting

I had the hiccups for a week.

Email newsletter signup

Did you try breathing into a paper bag?

I did.

Did it help?

No, I still had the hiccups, plus I had a paper bag full of hiccups.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. It’s the time of the year when Halloween decorations are covered in tinsel. My lawn is greener in December than it was this summer. A fellow said he was sick of winter. It was 47 degrees and the sun was working. I assumed he wasn’t an original Minnesotan.

I was about to sneeze. It was a photic sneeze reflex due to the bright sunlight. One in my family always wore long-sleeved shirts. That way, he didn’t have to carry a handkerchief. But I had an “ah” without a “choo.” It was disappointing. Where did the choo go? This one went to a church potluck in Iowa where a woman told me whose hotdishes I should avoid because the cooks lived along busy highways that provided roadkill.

I asked a friend, who was a driving instructor, how it had been going. He replied, “This week, we’ve learned how to fill out accident reports.” Based on his facial expression, I assumed it was on–the–road training.

Overheard at the audiologist’s

How’s it going?

I’m having a little problem with my ears.

Good to hear.

I overheard everything at the coffee shop.

There was a staff meeting at the neighboring table. Larry, Gary, Barry and Harry chronically interrupted one another or tried to talk louder than the other three. They had learned their meeting styles by watching debates and listening to sports talk radio. I’ve been told the only reason men listen is to give them something to do until it’s their turn to talk. These four didn’t want to listen, but they forced me to hear everything until another table opened.

I’ve learned

It doesn’t matter if your pants have a lot of wrinkles because wrinkles are better than having ants.       

If you look around, you’ll know it’s never too early to put up Christmas decorations.

Lutefisk needs a better name.

Vending machines dispensing headphones and other electronic devices are at airports. That’s a terrible idea. I’ve seen people go ballistic when their bag of Cheetos doesn’t come out of a vending machine.

Christmas cards

I listened to a TED Talk. The man doing the talking was not named Ted. That seems like false advertising, but he was interesting. He said that each of us will meet 80,000 people in our lifetime. I’m amazed it came out to an even number, but I believed him. That’s because my mother tried to send 80,000 Christmas cards each year. We had to lick the postage stamps in those days of yore. My tongue is still showing distress.

Bad jokes department

What’s red and white and falls down chimneys? Santa Klutz.

Disabling cookies used to mean eating the legs off a gingerbread man cookie.

What rhymes with orange? No, it doesn’t.

What do you call an old dad joke? It’s a granddad joke.

Nature notes

I read an interesting item from the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center (Illinois), saying when a squirrel hops and lands, its larger back feet land parallel and in front of its smaller front feet. The resulting shape is square-ish. Rabbits land with one forefoot in front of the other. The line of those two prints behind the two larger hind footprints resembles the letter Y. Squirrels leave Square tracks and Ys are the tracks of a bunnY. I’d add that rabbit tracks can have the shape of a triangle and that rabbits stop to nibble and squirrels dig for nuts buried under the snow. A rabbit has furred toes, blurring the toes in a track, while a squirrel has long, skinny toes that are likely to appear in the tracks. If the tracks lead to a tree and stop, it’s a squirrel.

I marveled at a starry sky. Marissa Meyer wrote, “I’m still thanking all the stars, one by one.” As I thanked as many stars as I could, I recalled the words of James Thurber, “There are two kinds of light—the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”

The sky illuminates and is immense, but so is a square foot of my yard. The next morning, firmly in the spirit of the season, I forgave those squirrels who’d trespassed against us.

Meeting adjourned

“I tried to be useful,” was what Charlie Munger suggested as his epitaph. Try to be kind.