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80 Years Ago

Archives 12-06-2000

North County Lines by Bob

An Award Winning Column

For comments or questions contact Bob at bobncl@hotmail.com




This is the season to buy stuff for people who already have so much stuff you can't figure out what stuff to buy them.

At last count I had 67 ties and 11 watches. Peculiar possessions for someone who doesn't wear either.

Who was the con man who invented ties anyway? What was going on inside his head when he came up with the idea?

What can I sell that people don't need? I got it. I'll make strips of cloth for men to tie in knots around their necks. Of course the neck ties will constrict breathing and swallowing. But I'll wear one, then others will follow, then more after that. Monkey see. Monkey do.

I wonder if the miscreant who invented neck ties knew he was establishing a way to distinguish those who think they're important from those who work.

Watches, like ties, serve no real purpose. As the rock group Chicago aptly put it, "Does anybody know what time it is? Does anybody really care?"

To answer the first question, contrary to popular belief, no one knows what time it is. No one knows what day it is. No one knows what year it is. No one knows what century it is.

Approximately 700 years ago, the pope, thinking the calendar at the time might be a few years off, little did he know, petitioned Gregor, an alcoholic monk, to determine how many years passed during the Dark Ages.

By adding that number to the number of years before and after the Dark Ages, the exact year would be known and the calendar could be adjusted accordingly, or so the pope thought.

While adding a column of figures during a drunken stupor, Gregor mistook an 830 for a 380. When he told the pope the exact year was 1381 AD, Gregor was 450 years short of the correct answer.

Many poorly thought out and confusing adjustments were made to the Gregorian calendar after Gregor incorporated his mistake into the measurement of time.

Despite efforts to precisely determine what year it is, the only thing all time experts agree on is the real twentieth century ended before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

When time can't be measured accurately to within centuries, wearing a watch that supposedly measures time to the nearest second is an exercise in futility. Like an intelligent man once said, "Trying to measure time is a waste of time."

Wasting time and Christmas shopping were synonymous yesterday as I wandered through Wal-Mart looking for stuff to buy for people who already have too much stuff.

I found a game station hooked up to a 31-inch television in the electronics department. I also found a disc my niece told me she wanted called Kill Everything in Sight.

To see if it was appropriate for a five-year-old, I slid the disc in, grabbed the joy stick and blasted away with machine guns, bazookas, flame throwers, and laser beams. Each time I scored a hit, a human figure would scream and melt into a goo of blood, burned flesh, oozing intestines, and bone fragments.

The nerve of some people, I thought, blaming video games for the increase of violent acts committed by children. How ridiculous. But I better ask my brother first. No need buying something my niece won't be allowed to use.

After leaving electronics, I meandered past the purses and wallets, around the jewelry counter, through the colognes and perfumes, back and forth in the toy section.

My trip was halted more than once by shopping carts, parked next to each other by large ladies who had stopped to gossip. Next time I come here, I thought, I'll bring a horn.

I stopped in lingerie and found a nightgown that looked like it might fit Pinchy. When I spotted a woman who was approximately Pinchy's size, I said, "Hey, lady, try this on."

"You have some nerve," she said.

"Come on," I said, "If it fits, I might give you a couple bucks."

After convincing a store security guard that I wasn't a masher, I made my way to the grocery section and checked out a tank of live lobsters.

A man behind the counter said, "May I help you, sir?"

"You think one of these things will live until Christmas?" I asked.

"It's best to cook them as soon as possible, sir."

"I don't want to cook it," I said. "I want to give it to my niece as a pet. If it's dead when she unwraps it, she might get upset."

"Lobsters are for eating, sir. Pets can be purchased in a pet store."

"Grab me a healthy looking one," I said, "and throw it in a bucket of water. I'll take my chances."

"I don't have a bucket of water, sir."

"Don't have a bucket of water," I said. "What kind of bait store is this?"

"This isn't a bait store, sir. This is the seafood department. Please step aside. Other customers are waiting in line."

"I'm not stepping anywhere," I said, "until I get a lobster in a bucket of water."

"If you don't step aside, sir, I'll call the police."

"Go ahead," I said, "call the cops. This is the United States of America. This is a free country. They can't arrest me without probable cause."

As she was driving home after posting my bail, Pinchy said, "If I have to tie you up and sit on you, you're never going Christmas shopping again."

"Never?" I said.

"Never," she said.

"Bless you," I said.


Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486

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