North County Lines by Bob
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.
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
Watches, like ties, serve no real purpose. As the rock group Chicago
aptly put it, "Does anybody know what time it is? Does anybody
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
A man behind the counter said, "May I help you, sir?"
"You think one of these things will live until Christmas?"
"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
"Lobsters are for eating, sir. Pets can be purchased in a
"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
"Never?" I said.
"Never," she said.
"Bless you," I said.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570