Yesterday the sun was out and the temperature in the mid 50’s, which is quite pleasant for Washington State this time of the year. So I did something that for me is quite out of character. I went for a walk. Not a brisk walk, just a casual stroll around the neighborhood. I didn’t want to give any of my body parts the slightest inclination I was actually trying to exercise. That’s silly thinking. Anyway, because this was a rare experience, I tried to learn from it. First of all, I learned to pick a route that has as few hills as possible. I also learned to stay away from dogs that revealed their thoughts concerning how nicely my ass might fit between their jaws. And, lastly, was a lesson I learned from past experiences. Don’t strike up a conversation with any retired old farts I might pass unless I have nothing better to do until after sundown.
I’ve known several old people in my life. And asking most of them for any advise, or just their thoughts on life in general was inviting an oratory that could bring on severe cases of boredom teetering dangerously close to the precipice of a full-blown coma. I was a logger for 18 years, and I worked with several old people. Of course because I was in my 20’s and 30’s at the time, anyone even approaching 60 I considered ancient. And most of these elderly gentlemen were quite long-winded, and had a bad habit of using that wind to fill the room with their amazing knowledge on just about any subject that might come up. Over the next three or four posts I’ll relate some of these old fart antidotes. The first that comes to mind was a bit of advise from an old loading operator.
When ever old Stan was about to bless anyone within earshot with his prophetic wisdom, he would always first cross his legs, then look up as if he were simply passing on what was being told to him from a Heavenly location, and then dash that idea by always beginning with, “Ya know, God dammit…” followed closely by whatever it was he had to say. And the room would always fill with groans of anticipation.
One Friday morning a young married man made the mistake of asking Stan for advise on what to do about a skunk that took up residence under his house. Needless to say, everyone in the crew bus moaned while eyeballs rolled. Number one rule, no one ever asks a logger for advise on anything other than logging. And even that’s throwing caution to the wind. But he was a rookie and didn’t know any better. But picking out old Stan was taking a simple mistake to a whole new level of a bad idea.
As usual, Stan crossed his legs and look skyward. “Well ya know, God dammit, it’s a well know fact that if you kill a skunk outright, such as blow its “bleeping” head clear off, they won’t spray.”
The rookie’s first mistake was asking Stan for advise. His second mistake was actually believing him. The following Monday he got on the crew bus, eyes dancing with rage. He then proceeded to call old Stan names that even made us loggers wince. And with the “F” bomb always buzzing around like yellow jackets around a batted nest, that was saying something.
As directed he crawled under the house with a flashlight and shotgun, found the skunk, aimed at its shining eyes, and then blew its head clean off….
The young man’s hearing was still not back to normal, but that was the least of his problems. While doing its last flying fandango, the skunk sprayed from one end of the crawl space to the other. Now he and his wife were living with the wife’s parents for God only knew how long while the house was being fumigated and aired out. And because it was inevitable that he was in the line of spray, all family members were keeping a distance away from him that would probably most easily be measured in light years. In fact we all noticed that even after numerous baths the young man was still carrying a faint aroma from the experience.
After he was done with his tirade, old Stan calmly replied, “Well ya know, God dammit. That just goes to show ya. It’s a well-known fact that ya just can’t trust a skunk.”
Old Stan has long since passed on, and I have not only taken his place in age, but surpassed it. Hopefully, I have not become a long-winded old fart that has nothing better to do but talk. But if I have, I guess that’s what this blog is for.