Al Batt: Terrible at math

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Echoes From the

Loafers’ Club Meeting

My family was poor while I was growing up, but we didn’t know it.

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How could you not know that?

We were terrible at math.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I’m not a hurkler-durkler. To hurkle-durkle is a Scottish term meaning to lie in bed or to lounge around when one should be up and about. I was up early and gadding about the countryside when I walked into a noisy convenience store in Nebraska and was reminded that music comes out of everything today. “Would you like a pickle card?” said the friendly cashier.

I thought she was asking me if I wanted a baseball card featuring a picture of a dill pickle or of the catcher who had five seasons in the major leagues, Pickles Dillhoefer. His best year was as a backup catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1920. The pickle card had nothing to do with baseball. Pickle cards are better known as pull-tabs to the rest of the country. The uniquely Nebraska origin of the term “pickle card” comes from the days when they were sold illegally in taverns and bars in Nebraska. The cards were kept in large, empty “pickle jars,” which could easily be hidden when the situation demanded.

A peripatetic guy

It had been a long drive, all uphill, but at least I wasn’t Prometheus, the mythical god of forethought, who had his ever-generating liver eaten by an eagle. I don’t require luxury accommodations. I like a bed, a bathroom and no liver-eating eagles.

“We heard you were coming. Your room is ready for you and it’s just the way you like it,” said the hotel clerk with a smile wider than her face.

“Do you say that to every guest?” I asked.


“Keep it up. I like it,” I smiled back. It all went according to plan. The room was lovely.

I’ve learned

Eric Annexstad of St. Peter is part of a Norseland Community Preservation Association crew that volunteers to clean ditches of trash. He has found the most popular beer based on tossed cans is Keystone Light. I pick up trash from the local ditches and find that Busch Light is the commonly discarded can. I don’t know what that says about the local taste or economy.

To enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Sweatpants can make you look athletic or lazy.

You don’t need a parachute to go skydiving. You need a parachute to go skydiving twice.

Every mirror sold is a used one. You can kiss yourself in a mirror, but only on the lips.

Your socks are wearing shoes, too.

I was once pi years old.

Making trophies would be a rewarding career.

A penny should have a joke on the back. A cents of humor.

Selfies have replaced autographs.

We are rarely what another driver thinks we are.

A swear jar is any jar you can’t open.

Bad jokes department

A farmer with a parrot on his shoulder walks into a bank. The banker said, “Where did you get that thing?” The parrot replied, “In Iowa. They’re everywhere there.”

What’s red and invisible? No ripe tomatoes.

“Dad, could you tell me what an eclipse is?” “No sun.”

What month has 28 days? All of them.

If I have seven apples in one hand and eight apples in the other hand, what do I have? Really big hands.

Nature notes

A reader said there was a headless rabbit in his yard. Was the perpetrator Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick? I’d put nothing past Colonel Mustard, but when folks encounter such a sight and perform a thorough crime scene investigation, they come up with a list of usual prospects (cat, the mob, celebrity chef and Colonel Mustard). I’d take Colonel Mustard off that suspect list and guess that the culprit was an owl. A great horned owl’s signature method when dealing with large prey is to behead the victim before it’s taken to the owl’s nest or eating perch. Out of 28 owl kills in a study conducted in Kansas, 60% of the prey items were decapitated. A great horned owl has a deadly grip and uses its bill and talons to cleave a bunny head as fast as a world-champion rodeo cowboy can rope a steer. Apparently, rabbit brains and eyes are a delicacy for owls and are nutritious by being full of fats and proteins.

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness in ourselves is the honey that blunts the sting of unkindness in another.”—Walter Savage Landor.