A Night On The Town

by Calendar Hacksaw

Rick Zanutto, the lesser half of the Fence Post's editin' and publishin' empire, called last night out of the blue and invited me and Betty to join him and Donna for dinner at some out-of-the-way little place in Lake Isabella where we wouldn't be recognized.

What an offer. I don't know why the Zanuttos fear being spotted in public, but I guess that's their business. Lately, they've become magnets for more civil subpoenas than Billary and Hillary, so it's no small wonder that they want to lay low for awhile.

I imagine this "Take A Writer To Dinner" movement is a direct descendent of "Take Your Daughters To Work Day," which was also one of society's biggest mistakes. But I suppose Rick and Donna do this for all the columnists, so Betty and me are tryin' to warm up to the idea as best we can. I understand that dinner etiquette is very important, and we sure don't want to embarrass the Zanuttos in their favorite lakeside squat-an'-gobble.

I imagine Wayne Moody has already been treated to the Zanutto's hospitality, and if I read him right he would order the most expensive thing on the menu, like a Big Mac or a Whopper or something. But we don't want to give the restaurant owner the impression that the Fence Post's over-educated and culturally elite staff of gandy dancers don't know the difference between haute cuisine and slop. No, sir; we'd ask ?em to SuperSize it, and throw in some Curly Fries.

But first of all, me and Betty would like to set out some rules about where we eat and what subjects should be avoided in polite dinner conversation. This will make the evening go much smoother than it would otherwise, I can assure you.

We prefer restaurants which don't have any dress code. Specifically, we avoid those with that sign

in the front window shouting, "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service!" Now, what kind of an attitude is that? Hell, if I had shoes and a shirt, I'd go someplace nicer than that dive!

Also crossed off our list is any joint that caters to cops while they're on duty, such as donut shops. An innocent warrant check could significantly decrease what many of us refer to as our "discretionary revenues," which pretty much includes all of my contributions to the Walker Basin economy. No offense meant, Sonny.

You should know that my wife has quite an appetite; she can really pack it away. She used to say, "I'm so dang hungry I could eat a cow!" I thought that was just an expression until we ran across a semi-fresh road kill one day. She still wears that leather coat during the winter months.

Betty dips a little snuff at dinner time, so it would be best if the diner had a dirt floor. They raise eyebrows down at the Dinner Bell if she uses an ashtray or the urinal. In a pinch, she'll make do with an old spinach can or hubcap.

And for obvious reasons, I would like to sit at a table where my chair backs up to a wall, with a clear view of the front door.

Now, then; on to the business of dinner conversation. Betty and me are real picky about this. There's some things we just don't want to discuss. Here's a partial list: politics, religion, race relations, sexual relations, any of Betty's relations, Wayne Moody, the Moody Blues, The Birth of the Blues, childbirth, children, cars, travel, health, opinions other than my own, farming, range cattle, and the school board.

Poultry, the cost of living, Al, anyone who likes or doesn't like Al, retirement, hunting, fishing, piercing, tattoos, movies in general, the Oscars in particular, neighbors, rural living, living in the city, living in the past, living on the edge, minimum wage, OSHA, the macarena, trains, boats, and planes.

Bicyclists on Caliente Creek Road, high school reunions, family reunions, labor unions, well drilling, real estate, rural newspapers, rural columnists, bottled water, windmill farms, drivers license photos, weight loss techniques, hard work, computers and software.

"So what topics does that leave," you ask, and rightly so. Well, admittedly it's a short list, but then again we wouldn't want the evening to go on forever, would we? So my advise to Rick and Donna would be that they brush up on these before we sit down to dine: tiki torches, pickled eggs, Ron Ziegler, zucchini, incinerators, Erlang "C" queuing theory, Oklahoma (Pre-1910 only), gasoline prices, beagles, Lundy Lake, mental hospitals, David Allan Coe, K.D. Lang, wireless local loop, shrimp recipes, conspiracies, and the proper use of the Oxford English Dictionary.

So if Rick and Donna will just play by ol' Calendar's rules, it's gonna be a wonderful evening! See you at the lake, and don't forget to bring a real fat wallet!

Calendar Hacksaw's e-mail addresses are <calendar@usa.net> and <twistedsisters@hotmail.com> and he'd love to hear from you.

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