Laugh Tracks in the Dust


I stopped in for a burger at a little restaurant in Emporia last week. While I wuz sitting there waiting for my meal to be delivered, four bright looking college kids came in and sat at the table across the aisle from me.

I noticed that they were wearing those stick-on name tags and, apparently, from the name tags, they were attending a Mensa convention for college youngsters. Just in case you aren’t familiar with Mensa, it’s a national organization for people who have an IQ of 140 or higher. They’re smart folks.

They’d no sooner sat down when one of the group discovered that the salt shaker at their table contained pepper, and their pepper shaker was full of salt.

A discussion quickly got going. How, they wondered, could they swap the contents of the two bottles without spilling any, and using only the implements at hand?  Clearly — this was a job for Mensa minds.

The group debated the problem and presented ideas and finally, came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw, and an empty saucer.

They called the frazzled waitress over, ready to dazzle her with their solution.

“Ma’am,” they said, “we couldn’t help but notice that the pepper shaker contains salt and the salt shaker contains … ”

But before they could finish,……….the waitress interrupted.

“Oh — sorry about that,” she said.  Then, she leaned over the table, unscrewed the caps of both bottles and switched them. There was dead silence at the Mensa table.

The whole thing reminded me of our government at work solving difficult problems. Usually, the solutions could be so simply solved with common sense, but the brilliant government minds usually make the situation difficult and costly.


I’ve got a friend who recently had the unenviable duty to attend a memorial service for a co-worker. From the story my friend told me, the co-worker was “into” model aircraft aviation.

As part of the prepared memorial, a squadron of little aircraft were parked on the sidewalk and the “pilots” were going to fly a memorial formation using remote controls.

My friend thought the ground formation looked neat and decided to shoot some photos with his cell phone of the planes before they took off. He had to get down on his knees and belly to get the right perspective for his photos.

He told me he shot eight pictures and wuz pleased with the angles he’d achieved for his photos. Well, at least he wuz pleased until he looked at the photos on his cell phone and discovered eight very close, in focus, well-composed SELFIES of his face.

He said he quietly put his cell phone up and enjoyed the model aerial show at the memorial.


I forgot to mention that a couple of weeks ago, during a little snowstorm, I drove my utility vehicle out to get the mail. The wind wuz blowing pretty hard, so I stuffed all the mail into the open tool box in the dash of the UTV so it would be protected from the snow and wind.

Well, apparently, I didn’t go a good job of securing the mail becuz a couple of days later after the snow had melted, while driving the UTV around Damphewmore Acres, I noticed a white envelope wedged into some grass along the driveway.

Investigating, I discovered that it wuz an envelope that contained a $300 check. The check wuz damp and a little wrinkled, but I salvaged it and the bank accepted it for deposit. Talk about good luck overriding dumbness!


Gosh, it’s a big comfort to know that Big Brother will go to the ends of the earth to protect me from myself. I heard on the news and read an article that said the Environmental Protection Agency is considering ways to protect us all — and the environment — from those highly dangerous, noxious fumes we release into the atmosphere and suck into our lungs when we barbecue outdoors.

It is considering a range of expensive gadgets, complete with regulations,  to mitigate all the BBQ damage.

Frankly, I feel I’m more apt to be damaged by the EPA and its regulations than I am from BBQ fumes. In fact, what smells better than a good hamburger, steak, pork chop, or just plain brat or hot dog sizzling in the outdoor grill?

I haven’t mentioned that my good friend Mocephus is a “wood wizard.” The guy can make anything out of wood and it always looks superb when he’s finished.

Well, his current winter project — working with two grown grandsons — is making a wooden canoe. The canoe is well on its way to completion and from what I’ve seen so far, it will be gorgeous when it’s done. I think it’ll be too pretty to put on the water, but I’ll bet when they launch that handsome canoe, it’ll handle better than a store-bought canoe.


Shucks, I might as well end this column with some wise words about canoes. David Suzuki, author and environmentalist, said, “I’ve always been more interested in organisms that can move on their own than in stationary plants But when I canoe or hike along the edge of lakes or oceans and see trees that seem to be growing out of rock faces, I’m blown away. How do they do it?”

I’m in awe, too, of such rugged trees. Have a good ‘un.


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