Wuh…wuh…What, Myrtle?

What on earth are you readin’? I had to shout 3 times to get your attention! For a minute there, I thought you had gone stone deaf on me…And your face is right flushed and you’ve got a funny look in your eyes like I haven’t seen for years.

Well, Myrtle, I was in the fancy new bookstore that woman from up North opened up downtown lookin’ for a Farmer’s Almanac and they were featuring a book by some local writer for 30% off. It had a nice scene with a lighthouse on the cover so I figured I should support the local talent and you know how much I love a bargain so I bought a copy.

A local writer you say…who is it, Arlen…anyone we know?

Well, Myrtle, that’s the darndest thing…seems like this writer has chosen to use a pen name…as if they are ashamed of what they wrote.

So what’s this writer’s pen name? Arlen, looks like you’ve read right many pages-should they be ashamed?

The name is Skarlet Ledder…can’t say as she should be ashamed, but I surely understand why she wouldn’t want her real name known, Myrtle. I’m not sure just how the locals would take to her once they found out what she was up to.

Skarlet Ledder??? Oh Lordie, Arlen…you’ve gone and bought one of those ladies romance novels…what did you think you bought…a book about lighthouses?

Well, Myrtle, I did kinda think what with the picture of the lighthouse on the front that it would be…I did think it was awful funny that there was a picture of a lady and a man laying in the grass in front of the lighthouse though.

Say Arlen, why don’t you read me some of it? I’d like to know what’s put that silly look on your face.

Aw Myrtle…don’t know as if I could read this stuff out loud to you…it’s embarrassing.

Good grief, Arlen…it ain’t as if we haven’t been married for years and years-I don’t reckon you’re gonna read me anything I don’t know about.

I don’t know, Myrtle…this is some pretty racy stuff…there’s stuff in here I’m pretty sure we never thought of…at least I never imagined anything like it.

Come on, Arlen, read me just a bit.

Well, alright then, but remember…you asked for it. Here goes:

“You’ve disobeyed me for the last time, wench!” said Royce as he bent her over his knee. He wrapped the leather strap securely about his wrist and began giving Laura a thorough thrashing…but was surprised to find that rather than screaming and crying, Laura was moaning and sighing and begging for more. He released her only to find her at his knees unbuttoning his trousers and fondling his member. He was powerless to stop her as she took him fully into her warm, wet mouth and began gently massaging him with her tongue. When she had succeeded hardening his member to a useful firmness she released him and begged him to enter her from behind. He obliged and was astounded to hear her beg for more lashes from the strap. Royce had never known a woman to take so much pleasure from pain and was confused yet so aroused that he gave no second thought to complying with her request.”

So there, Myrtle, you asked for it…what do you think?

Arlen, I’d have to say that Skarlet Ledder writes one helluva bodice ripper!

“Bodice Ripper”! What in tarnation is a bodice ripper, Myrtle?

That’s what those trashy romance novels are called, Arlen…on account of there’s usually some scene in them where the heroine’s bodice gets ripped off. I’d have to say that this one you read me might have to be called a “trouser ripper” from the sound of it.

Myrtle, do you think there are really women out there who like to be spanked?

Hmmm…Arlen…what do you say we find out? Do you still have that hand tooled leather belt your brother brought you back from Arizona?………to be continued.


You know, Myrtle, I’ve been thinkin’ about that conversation we had a couple weeks ago about Stanley and Jeanie gettin’ married after “shackin’ up for thirty years.

What about it, Arlen? And don’t forget, Jeanie said no to Stanley’s proposal! So, there won’t be a marriage!

Well, that’s just it, Myrtle! A lot of people have criticized Jeanie for turnin’ Stanley down. They say “a man ain’t committed to ya unless he marries ya!”

Hogwash, Arlen! And I heard the same thing: “a man ‘never married’ is a man ‘never committed’!” It’s a lot of hogwash, Arlen!

Well, I think I can understand why Jeanie turned Stanley down, Myrtle, but a lot of people still do want that piece of paper from the State. It’s like that piece of paper says that they will henceforth and forever be “true blue” to one another. But you and I know that ain’t so!

Yeah, Arlen, just look at what Cousin Sue has to put up with from her husband. It was like the piece of paper that those two got from the State gave him a license to cheat!

I know, Myrtle. Danny sure doesn’t know what the notion of “commitment” means—or faithfulness, for that matter!

Well, Arlen, I don’t think that “commitment” has anything to do with marriage?

Well, it’s supposed to, Myrtle, isn’t it?

Well “supposin’ to” don’t get the chickens fed, Arlen!

Can’t disagree with you there, Myrtle! But a lot of people think so, Myrtle.

Well, Arlen, a lot of people have their heads up their own…

Myrtle, don’t say it! You’ll owe me a buck!

I was goin’ to say “butt,” Arlen; I wasn’t goin’ to use your favorite word, although, in this case, it may have been worth the buck!

Well, Myrtle, why do you think that people believe that about marriage and commitment? I mean, Stanley and Jeanie have been “true blue” to one another for thirty years—even longer than that, if you consider the years that they dated before they moved in together. And they had kids—good kids—together. They really seem to respect and admire one another.

Arlen, it’s the same with lots of things. People get some fool-idea in their heads and swear to themselves that it’s true forever and a day, and they just don’t think about it anymore. It’s easier for them that way. Besides, if most people believe the same thing, it helps them feel that they are doing the right thing. It makes them comfortable and feel safe—kinda like those hundred thousand chickens we have. They are most calm and comfortable when they are butt-to-butt with one another.

It’s still a wonder to me, Myrtle. There’s got to be more to it than that!

Well, Arlen, there ain’t! Look at that golfer who cheated on his pretty little wife. He wasn’t committed to her, but he was married to her! And from what I read in that Sunday Magazine, maybe half of married people are steppin’ out on their “Better Halves.” So it seems that commitment is as likely to not be a part of marriage as it is likely to be. So, they ain’t the same, Arlen! Marriage and commitment ain’t the same!

Well then, Myrtle, why do so many people think that a person needs to be married to be committed, and that a “Never Married” person can’t be committed—and faithful, and so on?

Why do they, Arlen? Because they’re stupid! They have their heads up their ASS! ….Here’s your dollar, Arlen!

You know, Myrtle, I was just rememberin’ some stuff that we learned in high school.

Holy cow, Arlen, I didn’t think you had it in ya!


Rememberin’ back that far!

Very funny, Myrtle! ….Anyway I was thinkin’ about what we learned about this great Country of ours and its government.

OK, Arlen, what’s on your mind?

Well, I was just watchin’ an interview of some politician fella’ on the news, and he was sayin’ that the President should have written the Health Care Bill and sent it to Congress to pass it. That way we wouldn’t be goin’ through this mess with Congress right now. And this fella felt that the President was derelict in his duties because he didn’t do that. He thought it was the President’s fault.

So, Arlen, what’s new? Everybody’s blaming everybody else!

Well, that’s not what I’m getting’ at, Myrtle.

What then, Arlen?

In high school, we learned about them government “checks and balances.” You remember, Myrtle, how the three branches of our government work to get everything done and keep everything in balance.

I do, Arlen. So what your point?

Myrtle, we learned that the Congress makes the laws, the President executes the laws, and the Supreme Court interprets the laws—just in case there might be some confusion with a law.

I’m still waitin’ for your point, Arlen.

Myrtle, hold your water!

You watch your tongue, Arlen, or I’ll wash your mouth with soap.

OK, Myrtle, I’m sorry! Can I continue?

You do what you want, Pottymouth!

Anyway, Myrtle, the President isn’t supposed to write the laws; he’s just supposed to “execute” them, yet everyone blames him for what Congress is supposed to do.

I know that, Arlen. The Presidents, as far back as I can remember—all the way back to Harry “the buck stops here” Truman—are always blamed for everything. And maybe they should be, Arlen. Congress sure ain’t capable of doin’ nothin’! All they do is pretend like they care, and most of us good Americans know that they only care about linin’ their own pockets.

But, Myrtle, according to the “checks and balances” that our great Founding Fathers put in place, the President should not be makin’ laws, and neither should our great Supreme Court. It’s the job of Congress to, what-do-ya-call-it, legislate!

Well, Arlen, that ain’t happenin’! There ain’t no legislatin’ gettin’ done! Maybe one person, the President, can execute the laws, and nine people, the Supreme Court Justices, can interpret the laws, but those five hundred and some odd “so and so’s” in Congress couldn’t find their finger if it was stuck up their…

Myrtle, don’t say it!

Well, you know what I mean!

So, Myrtle, if all those people in Congress can’t get along well enough to make the laws, what’s the answer? Our great first President, George Washington, said that Congress was “the first wheel of the government, a wheel which communicated motion to the rest.” We got nothin’ to start the wheel rollin’, Myrtle. What can we do?

Get rid of em’.

You mean the people in Congress, Myrtle?


But how, Myrtle? We supposed to shoot em’?

Well, that would work, I suppose, Arlen; but you would be wasting good ammunition, in my opinion. And I don’t think the Lord would think too highly of you for gettin’ rid of em’ that way. Killin’ is a sin, you know, even if what you’re killin’ ain’t worth much.

So what’s a good American to do, Myrtle?

I don’t know, Arlen! Those politicians like their jobs too much to leave them on their own.

Myrtle, remember reading in History Class how in the beginning of our great Country that men didn’t want to serve in Congress, but they did out of a duty they felt they had. Remember, Myrtle?

I do, Arlen. They left their families, their farms and their jobs, and spent their own hard-earned money to serve their Country. Certainly gives me a good feeling to remember those dedicated people. …..But I feel like spittin’ when I think of those despicable people in Congress now. They are only out for themselves.

Myrtle, I’m sure there are some good-hearted ones.

Well, maybe, Arlen. But I bet it ain’t many! The bulk of em’ couldn’t carry the shoes of even one of our Founding Fathers!

So, what’s the answer, Myrtle? Term limits?

That won’t happen, Arlen!

Why not?

Arlen, do you have your head up your…..

Myrtle, you need to calm yourself. I’m just askin’ a simple question.

Arlen, who would have to change the law to set term limits?

Oh yeah. I understand. ….So what is the answer, Myrtle?

There isn’t any that I see, Arlen. ….But somehow, serving in Congress needs to become like serving on the Church Council. No one wants to do that, except out of duty!

Myrtle, what do you think about a fella being the “owner” of his own body?

That’s a ridiculus questions, Arlen! Of course he is the owner of his body!

Well, this one fella on TV is sayin’ maybe he isn’t, Myrtle.

Who in the name of our good God is sayin’ that, Arlen?

I think he supposed to be a philosopher, Myrtle, and he’s talkin’ about dead philosophers and the Founding Fathers of our great Nation.

And he’s sayin’ that we don’t own our own bodies? How did they get to talkin’ about that anyway?

Well, Myrtle, they started out by talkin’ about suicide, and now they’re talkin’ about the FDA, you know that big government outfit that approves drugs and things.

Arlen, I know what the FDA is!

Well, anyway, Myrtle, this philosopher fella is quotin’ from the Declaration of Independence. You know that phrase about “we are all endowed with unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?”

Well that proves it, Arlen. We do own our own bodies and can do with them what we see best!

Not according to this fella, Myrtle!

I don’t see how he can say that, Arlen! We are born with unalienable rights!

That’s just it, accordin’ to him, Myrtle—those rights are unalienable.

Well, doesn’t that mean that they are ours, Arlen?

That’s only half of what it means, Myrtle. Unalienable, accordin’ to this fella, means we can’t be “separated” from them. We, ourselves, can’t even give them up. We have the right to life, but we can’t take it away from ourselves. He says that we can’t even “alienate” ourselves from our right to life.

I never thought about them words like that before, Arlen. I’ll have to think about that a while.

Well, Myrtle, the other fella says that notion is what is behind those people at the FDA denyin’ those poor patients dyin’ from terrible diseases from tryin’ experimental drugs—drugs that might help them and maybe save their lives. The FDA—this fella referred to them as the lazy-ass bureaucrats at the FDA—thinks that it has a duty to protect people from themselves because of what he called “consent,” Myrtle.

Consent, huh?

He said that because we take advantage of government services like roads and social security, and protection that our great armed services give us, that we are consentin’ to abide by what drugs the government says is safe and what ones they say ain’t.

So, Arlen, he’s sayin’ that we can’t take a drug that may help us, if the FDA ain’t approved it—even if we’re dyin’?

Myrtle, even if we only have a few months to live!

Arlen, that’s the dumbest damn thing I ever heard!

Myrtle, watch your language!

Sorry, Arlen. ……So we are just to wait and die, even if that forbidden drug might help us?

That’s what that FDA fella is sayin’, Myrtle.

What’s the philosopher man sayin’, Arlen?

He’s sayin’ that it takes ten to fifteen years to get a drug approved by the FDA—and it costs tens of millions of dollars. In the meanwhile, he says, tens of thousand of people may die because of the lollygagging and pencil-pushin’ by the FDA.

And what did the FDA man say to that, Arlen?


Myrtle, what do you think about the Congress of this great Country not being able to get anything done?

Arlen, I think it’s a good thing.

What! Why, Myrtle?

Because, Arlen, when they leave things alone, I think our Country works better. It’s when they stick their fingers in the pot that the stew gets spoiled—and sometimes they stick their whole stinkin’ hand in it, and we are left to eat it.

Yeah, I guess you’re right, Myrtle. They do have a knack for spoilin’ the broth!

Cousin Pearl calls them ignoramuses, Arlen. She told me the other day that they have a 17 percent approval rating among Americans.

Good gosh, that low, Myrtle?

Actually, Arlen, I was wondering who the little ignoramuses were that make up the 17 percent that approve of the Big Ignoramuses!

Yeah, that’s a good point too, Myrtle.

Arlen, why did you ask about Congress in the first place? What-ya-thinkin’ about?

Well, Myrtle, I have from time-to-time pondered the thought of “why great nations die” and I hoped that no “dyin’ thing” ever happens to this great nation.

Neither do I, Arlen. ….Do you think it might?

I don’t know, Myrtle. It certainly looks like dark clouds have moved in, and the air has gotten still and foul, like just before a storm.

But, Arlen, sometimes the storm clears things out and cleans the air.

I know, Myrtle; but I have a nervous stomach about this one—not that I don’t about all of em’—but this one has got my stomach churnin’!

Well, I hope your stomach’s wrong! That’s all I got to say, Arlen.

……Myrtle, why do you think that Congress can’t get anything done?

Well, Arlen, when you have to make a decision, is it easy for ya, or is it not easy for ya?

It definitely is not, Myrtle! At least, most of the time!

When is it easy, Arlen?

Well, if my feet are uncovered during the night because a certain “someone” is lordin’ over the covers, then it is easy for me to decide to get them feet covered!

Well, I guess Congress don’t see their decisions as that easy, Arlen.

But, Myrtle, just because a decision isn’t easy, you still have to make it sometimes.

I know, Arlen. You don’t need to tell me that! But those people in Congress are constantly worried that they may make a decision that causes them to turn-off voters and lose their job—and I’m not sure that too many of them are capable of workin’ a full day at a real job.

But still, Myrtle, sometimes a person has got to make a decision and move on it quick-as-can-be! Like us being in the chicken farmin’ business—sometimes we need to make a snappy decision or we may lose a parcel of birds. Like if one of those big fans goes down in the chicken house, we can’t lollygag! We need to fix it pronto!

I agree, Arlen.

And other times, we should be not-so-quick, but give a lot of thought to a decision—like spendin’ money on buildin’ a new barn or buyin’ a new tractor.

Well, so far I can’t disagree with you, Arlen, but I don’t see what you’re gettin’ at.

Well, sometimes on a chicken farm it’s smart to spend money and other times it isn’t—especially if you’re real short on funds. But sometimes, even if you are short, you need to spend the money—like when one of them big fans go out.

I still don’t disagree, Arlen, and I still don’t see what you’re gettin’ at.

Myrtle, I think that our great Country’s economy being in the hole, like it is, is like one of them big fans goin’ down. And I think we need to spend whatever is necessary to get er’ fixed. On the other hand, Myrtle, I think that health care stuff, although I know it’s important, can wait. But Congress is all bound-up by it and snipin’ at one another, and they’re forgittin’ about the big fan bein’ down.

Well, maybe they ought to drink a cup of coffee and get unbound, Arlen.

Myrtle, you know what I mean. Things need to change in that Congress.

Well, Arlen, maybe they ought to start runnin’ Congress like a chicken house! At least it would be runnin’!

Arlen, do you think you could peel your eyes off that pretty girl long enough to answer a question?

I don’t know, Myrtle, but I’ll give it a try…what’s on your mind?

Arlen, I was watching you watch that pretty gal and it set me to thinkin’. Do pretty girls get treated better than plain ones just because they’re pretty? And, if they do, are they better for it or worse?

Myrtle, I reckon you could answer that better than me, you being a pretty girl and all.

For goodness sake, Arlen, I haven’t been a girl for many long years and even when I was, I wasn’t what men would call pretty.

Well, Myrtle, I sure thought you were pretty-if you’d been plain I might not have even noticed you that day we met.

Right there is my point, Arlen. Are you telling me that the only reason you wrangled an introduction from Doc Harrison was because you thought I was pretty?

To be honest, Myrtle, that wasn’t the only reason. Remember, that day we met, my grandpa was in the hospital and you were the Candy Striper on his floor. I just couldn’t get over how kind, gentle and quiet you were with him and all the other patients, even though most of them were perfect strangers to you.

Yes, Arlen, I did love volunteering at the hospital back then. It made me feel good to help take their minds off their pain, even if it was just for a little while.

You were right good at it too, Myrtle. I saw that goodness in you and thought you were beautiful inside and out.

So, Arlen, if I had been behaving badly the first time you laid eyes on me, would you have still wrangled that introduction from Doc Harrison?

You know, Myrtle, I never thought about it like that before, but I guess if you’d been one of those silly, loud, giggling gals I’d have passed you right by no matter how pretty you were.

Then are you sayin’ that maybe my looks were improved greatly by my behavior?

Yes, Myrtle, I’d have to say your actions probably did make you prettier in my eyes. Say…do women judge men more by their looks or by their actions?

Arlen, I can only speak for myself, but there’s an old sayin’ my mama taught me about people that holds true for me…”pretty is as pretty does”.

Myrtle, I was thinkin’ about what you said yesterday: “pretty is what pretty does.” And I was thinkin’ about if men, and women too—can’t leave out nobody—do pay more attention to pretty girls than plain ones. Even if the plain girl has a bigger heart and smarter head on her shoulders.

Well, Arlen, that gets back to my original question: do pretty girls get treated better than plain ones just because they’re pretty—and are they better for it or worse?

I think they do get treated better, Myrtle. I think our brains are fixed on a certain kind of look, and we can’t help but to be drawn to it—but I can’t tell you what that look is. But we do the same with our animals—our dogs, our cows, our chickens, and so on. If a dog has a scrawny look, we don’t take to it as much as a dog with a healthier look, even though the scrawny one may be as sweet as can be, and the other dog not so sweet.

That’s true, Arlen. And you think that’s so with pretty girls, do you?

Well, I think people are more likely to ignore a plain girl and cozy-up to a pretty girl, even if the plain girl is behavin’ sweet and kindly and the pretty girl is behavin’ like a fox’s ass.

Watch your language, Arlen!

Sorry, Myrtle. ….Anyway, I think that pretty girls get treated better by most people.

Well, do you think they are better for it or worse?

You mean because they’re treated better, Myrtle?

Yes, Arlen.

Well, I think they are probably worse for it. They get so wrapped-up in themselves and their looks that they never learn to think of other people and how to be kindly and helpful to them. They seem to be too much in love with themselves, Myrtle.

All of them, Arlen?

Well…no, not all of them, Myrtle. ….Shucks, you were the best Candy Striper that Hospital ever had—and you were also the prettiest girl they ever had.

Why thank you Arlen; you got yourself out of that one! And I believe you’re probably right—that is, regardin’ many pretty girls.

Not most, Myrtle?

Don’t know, Arlen! Too hard to count em’! Let’s just stick with many!

OK, Myrtle.

Myrtle, I got to thinkin’ again about what we were talkin’ about yesterday—you know, pretty girls.

Actually, Arlen, I think we should say “pretty people.”

Yeah, Myrtle, or maybe we should just say “pretty versus plain.”

Whatever, Arlen! What were you thinkin’?

I was thinkin’ “what if I was blind?”

Well, that’s easy, Arlen! “Pretty” wouldn’t make much difference then.

That’s right, Myrtle! But kind and sweet would!

For once, Arlen, I can’t argue with you!

Hey, Arlen, what ya-up-to?

Just thinkin’ about Chicken Little.

Arlen, we got over a hundred thousand chickens! You should be thinkin’ about them a lot, not a little!

Myrtle, I’m not thinking about chickens! I’m thinkin’ about Chicken Little—you know, “the sky is fallin’” Chicken Little.

Well why you thinkin’ about that Arlen?

These darn Newspeople—if the news ain’t scary enough, they just make it so.

What do you mean, Arlen?

Well, the state of our great Country’s economy, Myrtle, and so many of our neighbors losin’ their jobs—it’s a darn shame! And, personally, I think a lot of it is because these Newspeople blow things out of proportion. If the news ain’t catchy enough, they just start makin’ it up. It’s like our politicians in Washington D.C.—they twist and exaggerate everything in order to get attention, even if it distorts the truth. If things ain’t bad enough, they make em’ worse!

You’re goin’ to have to explain that some more to this old head, Arlen. I don’t think I quite follow what you’re gettin’ at. I thought the Newspeople were supposed to give us the news so that we were good informed citizens.

Yeah, well, I used to think that too, Myrtle. But it’s like we both used to shout at the TV weatherman: “shut-up and just give us the weather—we don’t need to be told how to drive or how to dress warm in the winter!”

That’s true, Arlen. He always was making the temperature seem colder in winter, and hotter than the dickens in the summer. It seemed to disappoint the boy when the weather was just average. I guessed he got bored too easy, Arlen.

I don’t know about that, Myrtle. I’m beginnin’ to think that he was just trying to make weather more excitin’ in order to get more people to watch him—and I think these Newspeople are doin’ the same thing. ….And I think that by doin’ that, they may have made our great Country’s economic woes worse—a lot worse!

Keep talkin’, Arlen, I’m listenin’.

Well, I know that we had that “burstin’” thing happen—you know, what they called the “housin’ bubble.” Well, I ain’t sayin’ that it wasn’t real, Myrtle, but I remember that one woman headin’ up that one network news station kept sayin’ that house foreclosures were up 300 percent. Now I read in the newsmagazine that foreclosures usually run about one half of a percent, and they went up to one and a half percent—so that “Head Newswoman” wasn’t tellin’ a lie; but, she sure was scarin’ the heck out of people by sayin’ 300 percent, and not explaining the whole picture.

I see what you mean, Arlen.

And so people got scared and started squirrelin’ away their money, and stopped buyin’ things. People stopped buyin’ houses so builder’s laid-off workers; supply houses had fewer orders from builders so they laid-off workers; factories shut down; stores closed. All these workers who were payin’ their bills and mortgages, before they got laid-off, couldn’t once they got canned—they didn’t have any money, Myrtle! And so more houses went to foreclosure because people who used-to-could-pay their mortgages lost their jobs.

But, Arlen, I don’t understand how the Newspeople are responsible for that.

Myrtle, ninety-eight and a half percent of people were keepin’ up with their bills. It was only one and a half percent that weren’t—and that was only one percent above normal. Because of these “Chicken Littles” blowin’ the one percent out of portion, we now have a mess that is affectin’ almost everybody.

Except them greedy hogs in New York City—you know, living on Wall Street!

You shouldn’t insult hogs like that, Myrtle. They’re good creatures! ….Anyway, the Newspeople made the problem worse, in my opinion, by blowin’ things way out of proportion. They grabbed a hold of that one percent, and ruined it for the other ninety-eight and a half percent! And they did it to get more attention—and I guess you could say more money!

So, are they responsible for the mess gettin’ bigger?

I think so, Myrtle. If they had been more forthcoming with the truth, I don’t think as many of our neighbors would be out of work—and it just keeps “snowballin”!” If Newspeople would just report the news without twistin’ it or exaggeratin’ it, I don’t think we would be nearly as bad off. ….I surely don’t! People would not be as scared, and they would not be hidin’ under their bedsheets!

So, Arlen, is the Sky really fallin’?

It is now, Myrtle!


You know, Arlen, when we were young, we learned in History Class about “Yellow Journalism.” What you were sayin’, yesterday, about those “Chicken Littles” sounds a little like that—doesn’t it?

Myrtle, it sounds a lot like that! It is that! And these “Chicken Littles” are making a bunch of money by doin’ it, and hurtin’ a lot of people by doin’ it.

And, Arlen, in my opinion, they are “yellow” at their core!

Arlen, what are you watchin’?

Just an interview, Myrtle. A man interviewin’ some woman.

Arlen, look at that stupid smirk on his face; he’s not interviewin’ her, he lookin’ at her legs—and so are you, you old fool.

Oh, Myrtle, an old man can look, can’t he.

I’ll give you somethin’ to look at, Mister. Go look at a hundred thousand chickens, and tuck ‘em in for the night. I’m turnin’ this damn TV off.

Oh, Myrtle. …OK.

Damn TV man! He’s lookin’ at that woman’s ten foot long naked legs and undressin’ the rest of her—the little she has on. If she would sneeze, she would be naked!

Now tell me, Gloria, what do you think of the new fashions on…

…..Arlen, what are you doin’ back in here? I know you didn’t get done that fast!

Myrtle, I forgot my gloves. …Say, what’s the TV still doin’ on…..and you’re still watchin’ that interview. I thought you were goin’ to turn it off. What the heck?

I just got to thinkin’, Arlen, and I had to take another peek.

Got to thinkin’ about what, Myrtle?

Well, here that man is dressed in a suit and tie, with clothes covering every inch from his neck down to his toes, except for his hands. But that woman he’s interviewing is naked except for that tight little piece of material that barely covers the middle of her body, and a few thin straps holding some soles to her feet. No wonder he’s looking at her with a smirk. No wonder you were leering at her, you dirty old man!

Ah, Myrtle, you got to admit that it’s hard not to look.

Well, yes—I guess I can’t fault ya. I suppose if the man had just as few a clothes on, I would be straining my eyes too.

You see! I’m not a dirty old man.

Well, you right, I suppose, Arlen. ….It just puzzles me how it got this way. Women running around half-naked, whining that they are cold, but not puttin’ anything on. …And then they’re unhappy when a man stares at them.

That’s not exactly true, Myrtle.

What do you mean, Arlen?

I think they are more unhappy when men don’t stare at them.

You might be right, Arlen. ….Except if it’s an ugly man, Arlen—then the man’s a pervert! Good looking men aren’t, and ugly men are! Meanwhile, the women are still paradin’ around with nothin’ on! I still don’t know why men don’t parade around half-naked.

Well, I think they do somewhat, Myrtle. Look at movies and TV.

Maybe, Arlen; but even the TV News has women sittin’ in-between men with suits and ties, but the women are wearin’ short dresses and showin’-off their legs. What’s her bare legs got to do with the news.

I don’t know, Myrtle. I kinda think that the woman makes more money by showin’ the “goose” how different the “gander” can be.

Well maybe the goose ought to do some “showin’.” Why aren’t the men showin’-off their legs?

Because men’s legs aren’t as pretty as women’s legs, Myrtle.

Oh, Arlen, sometimes you are so thick! I don’t want to look at women’s legs—I got women’s legs. I want to look at men’s legs. I want to see the “white flesh” of men, not women!

You want to look at men’s white flesh?

A lot more than women’s, Arlen. ….Why shouldn’t women and men show the same. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander! You’re not the only one in the house that enjoyed sex over the years—and still does when you can get the occasion to arise, Arlen.

I’ll work on that, Myrtle.

Good, it’s been too damn long! Come to think of it, Arlen. You sit here and watch that interview with that long-legged woman. I’ll tuck the chickens in. Maybe that interview will provide you with some “inspiration!”

Arlen, we need to sell our beef cattle, right now—all of em’!

Why would we do that, Myrtle? Where would we get our beef?

From the Food Lion up the road!

Well, why do such a fool thing as that—why not save our money, Myrtle, and just eat our own beef?

Arlen, you don’t know nothin’! I just saw on that TV talk show, you and I watch sometimes, that Organic Beef is fetching $15 to $16 per pound. Heck, Arlen, I can buy good beef at the Food Lion for less than $4 per pound—and less than that when it’s on sale!

But what’s “Organic Beef,” Myrtle?

Meat from cattle fed on pasture.

Hell’s bells, that’s all our cows ever eat. You won’t let me buy any mill-feed for em’, Myrtle.

Arlen, those cattle get plenty fat on pasture, and now I find out that they are worth more too.

Yeah, Myrtle! Sounds like we got walkin’ goldmines on the farm; and they keep the pasture and underbrush mowed-down, toboot. ….But, Myrtle, why is this “Organic Beef” so pricey now?

Well, that woman host on that talk show had an expert who said that cows that are fed grass rather than grain-feed don’t have as much fat in their meat.

Well, hell, Myrtle, the fat’s what makes it tasty.

Well, people don’t want that much fat, now-a-days, Arlen.

Well then why don’t they just buy meat that come from the leaner parts of a cow, like Round steak or Round roast? They could save one heck of a lot of money, because usually that meat is less expensive to begin with—because it doesn’t have as much favor as the fattier cuts, you know, Myrtle.

I don’t know, Arlen! I suspect it has something to do with people thinkin’, or not thinkin’, that they are somehow gettin’ something special—kinda like a bunch-a-years-ago when people were paying more for “free-range” chickens than regular.

But there wasn’t any difference in the chickens—other than the stamp on the package, Myrtle. The man at the butcherin’ plant told me so. He said that they weren’t lying about it either, because the chickens were never in pens—they could “range free” from one end of the chicken house to the other!

Yeah, well, people are too easy to fool, especially when they are so willin’ to be fooled.

Why do you think that is, Myrtle?

I’m not sure, Arlen, but I think it’s because they want to feel like they are doing the right thing. And “experts” like that guy on that talk show make lots of money by buffaloing em’ into believin’ what the “right thing” is.

I guess it would be better for them to think for themselves, Myrtle. But I suppose that’s too hard, and isn’t fashionable either.

Well, Arlen, just so we don’t make the same mistake, I think we ought to do some thinkin’ about sellin’ those “organic” cows while they are still fashionable!

Well, Arlen, I see you got that haircut you’ve been puttin’ off. For as long as you wait to get a haircut, I would think that you were goin’ to get a tooth pulled.

I know, Myrtle. I guess it’s the same reason I put off cuttin’ the grass. It just keeps growin’ back anyway.

Arlen, you are sometimes the dum… Oh, never mind!

Ah, Myrtle, I just ain’t perfectly designed like you. God missed some of the “workin’ parts” in my brain. …Get it, Myrtle—“workin’ parts!” Funny, huh?

Hilarious, Arlen. …..How was our cousin, the barber?

You know, Myrtle, that barber cousin of ours sure does have some interestin’ customers.

What’s so interestin’ about ‘em?

Well, while he was cuttin’ my hair, Jimmy was also pontificatin’ about the two political parties that run this great Country of ours. He sounded like our old Baptist preacher the way Jimmy got so fired-up with his pontificatin’. Anyway, Jimmy was saying how nothin’ will ever get done as long as the two sides keep snipin’ at one another. But he didn’t see the snipin’ endin’ anytime soon. …Then this young fella, who was waitin’ to get his haircut, piped-up. He said that…

How young was he, Arlen?

What? …Oh, you know, just a young pup.

How young, Arlen?

Oh, maybe forty-somethin’. …Now what the hell does that matter, Myrtle?

Arlen, don’t swear at me!

Sorry, Myrtle. …..Please, Dear, may I finish my story?

OK, get on with it!

Well, Myrtle, this young fella says that we need more political parties. Can you imagine, Myrtle—more! Jimmy and I looked at one another like we were maybe on that TV show, Candid Camera. Jimmy let out a holler: “Are you crazy, Boy?”

What did the fella say to that, Arlen?

Well, the poor boy was taken back by Jimmy’s holler. But, he swallowed hard and said, “No sir, I’m not. If we had more Parties, then extremists in each Party wouldn’t be able to hijack the system. Afterall, there are 300 million people that make up these great United States; but there are only two parties that will help someone campaign and get elected to government. So, a person is either a Democrat or a Republican. 300 million people are represented by either Democrats or Republicans.”

So what did Jimmy say to that, Arlen?

What difference does that make?

Because I want to know, Arlen?

That’s what Jimmy said, Myrtle: “What difference does that make?”

Oh, OK. …Well, why didn’t you say that, damn it!

Myrtle, don’t swear at me.

You know you’re one hilarious man, Arlen! ….And a handsome man too!

Why thank you, Myrtle. ….Anyway, the boy answered by talking about religion.


Yep, religion, Myrtle.

Well, get on with the story, Arlen!

Religion, he says, is supposed to be separate from government—he called it the “Separation of Church and State.”

Well heck, Arlen, you and I learned that in school some sixty years ago. Don’t you remember?

I do, Myrtle. …Anyway, the boy says to Jimmy and me that a person can’t be a good “fiscal conservative Republican,” for example, without being against abortion rights and supportin’ the rest of what he called the “other religious ideology” that is controlling the Republican Party. “So,” he said, “I can’t be a conservative without being against ‘Pro Choice’ when it comes to abortion rights, if that’s what I want to do.” That’s when I piped-in, Myrtle. I asked him, “Why don’t you just become an Independent?”

What did he say to that, Arlen?

I’m gittin’ to it, Myrtle. ….He says that there is no such thing as an “Independent Party,” so most likely the politician that will eventually represent him will either be a Republican, who follows the Party-line, or a Democrat, who follows the Party-line. And regardless of what the candidate may say during his campaign, and how moderate he may pretend to be during his campaign, once he gets elected, the politician attaches himself “life & limb” to his Party for fear that he won’t get re-elected if he doesn’t latch-on for dear life. And so, 300 million people end up in one of two pots—they are represented by either a Republican or a Democrat, even though they may not fit into either mold, or accept either’s “ideological bullshit.” …He used that word “bullshit,” Myrtle, not me; I’m just reportin’ what he said.

OK, but why did you have to say it twice, Arlen? Once was plenty!

In this case, Myrtle, it just seemed to have a nice ring to it.

Oh, Arlen! You sure can sling it sometimes. ….So how did you men leave it?

Well, Jimmy asked him how more political parties could help.

And what did he say, Arlen?

Myrtle, he gave a one-word answer.


Competition! …This fella said that more political parties would provide more choices for those 300 million people. Then, just two parties wouldn’t be able to control everything and dead-lock our great Country.

But, Arlen, wouldn’t more parties just create more confusion and more “dead-lock?” Wouldn’t there be even less chance for a majority to occur so that government could get anything done?

No, I don’t think so, Myrtle. The boy said that different parties would join together with one another on specific issues and create a majority—even if they disagreed on other issues. And on another issue, maybe a new majority between a party and some other party, or parties, might occur. But the “People’s Business,” as he called it, would get done. And he could be a “fiscal conservative” and a “social liberal,” if he wanted, or a “fiscal liberal” and “social conservative,” if he wanted—and he would still feel like he was represented in the “People’s Government.”

That’s interesting, Arlen.

I think it is, Myrtle. I think it’s very interesting.