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80 Years Ago

Archives 06-13-2001

North County Lines by Bob

An Award Winning Column

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




Uncle Leo said I could worm my dog Woolly with tobacco. Woolly's up to two packs a day now and she still has worms and she's developing a nagging cough.

The vet prescribed nicotine gum to help her quit. But when she tired of chewing it, instead of spitting it out, she'd blow bubbles. The cats got jealous and refused to catch mice unless I gave them gum also.

Providing a dog with gum to stop smoking is one thing. But supplying 13 cats with gum, just because they want it, was expensive and annoying with their picky feline ways.

I couldn't save money by buying a large package of gum. Oh, no, that would have been too easy. Each cat wanted a different kind. Spearmint for Harpo. Double Bubble for Chico. Groucho liked sugar free. Karl preferred Juicy Fruit. The list went on and on.

I have a difficult enough time in grocery stores without having to remember gum preferences of cats. One day a cashier got her kicks by picking on me.

"A lot of gum there. You must have a heavy chewing habit."

"It's for some cats."

"For your cats?"

"Cats never really belong to anyone. But I have to buy them gum because my dog stopped smoking."

"Hey, Louise, check out this loser! He's buying his cats gum!"

"Please, ring it up. Or should I speak to the manager?

"Louise is the manager."

I never returned to that store and I stopped giving the cats and Woolly gum when I caught her puffing on a Kool out by the pig pen. She wouldn't say where she got it.

Town is 17 miles away. That's 34 miles round trip. A standard-size dog travels at 4 miles per hour. Woolly's overweight. That would cut her down to no faster than 3 miles per hour.

I'd seen her approximately 5 hours earlier. She could have traveled only 15 miles since then. She would still be 2 miles from town instead of standing in front of me, trying to look innocent.

She didn't get the cigarettes in town. That was mathematically impossible. That left only one solution.

I called Jim, the owner of a nearby country store. After exchanging pleasantries, how's your bursitis and so forth, I said, "I know it's hard making a living running a small store, but please don't sell Woolly cigarettes anymore."

"I have to sell them to her," Jim said, "or she could sue me for discriminating against her because she's a dog."

"You're kidding?" I replied. "I'm not kidding," Jim said. "There are attorneys who handle nothing but animal discrimination cases. A lawyer got an 11 million dollar settlement for a zebra at a jungle reserve because a tour guide described it as white with black stripes instead of the other way around."

"Woolly's not a zebra," I replied.

"Doesn't matter," Jim said. "An attorney for a rhinoceros won a 33 million dollar judgment against a wildlife magazine that published a story describing it as a large, thick-skinned creature with a horn and a nasty disposition to go with it."

Hummm, I thought, that could describe several of my ex-wives when they're behind the wheel.

Although I'd never turn him in, I dislike snitches more than yogurt, I said, "Selling cigarettes to minors is against the law."

"That applies only to humans," Jim said.

"You sure?" I asked.

"Yep," Jim said. "How old is Woolly?"

"Eight," I replied.

"That makes her 56 in human years," Jim said. "That's plenty old enough to buy cigarettes."

I couldn't argue with that. "You're right," I replied. "If she wants cigarettes, your place is as good as any to buy them."

"She can't buy cigarettes," Jim said, "if she doesn't have money."

"What are you getting at?" I asked.

"You give Woolly an allowance," Jim said.

"That's right," I said. "I don't want her feeling out of place around her well-to-do dog friends."

"No allowance, no cigarettes," Jim replied.

"I'll stop her allowance," I said. "But if she gets a complex, I'm holding you responsible."

Woolly bummed cigarettes for a while after I cut off her allowance. But cigarettes are expensive. Tobacco costs more than marijuana did in the sixties. Woolly's smoking friends soon tired of her mooching and nixed her supply.

Without her nicotine fix, Woolly turned nasty. Digging holes, deep, deep holes. Biting tires to the point of deflation. Chasing away Jehovah Witnesses, which she did before anyway, but never with such a vengeance. And howling, day and night, howling, howling, howling.

I turned on a fan to drown out the howling. I still heard it. I put in ear plugs. I still heard it.

A little after three one morning when I could no longer stand it, I sped into town.

A young lady behind the counter said, "Can I help you?" I replied, "A carton of your cheapest cigarettes please." "Show me some ID," she said. "I have to see something with a date of birth before I can sell cigarettes to anyone who doesn't look at least 27." "Bless you my dear child,"

I replied. I threw the cigarettes to Woolly as soon as I got home. "Smoke them," I said. "If you kill yourself, you'll be dead."

Uncle Leo steered me wrong and so did the vet. Buying nicotine gum was a waste of money.

The only way Woolly can quit smoking is cold turkey. But she likes it warm and covered with gravy.





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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