How I Spent My Summer Vacation

by Calendar Hacksaw

September's come around again, and that means all our yuppie friends have returned from Cancun and Tulsa braggin' about what great vacations they had without us, and somehow the conversation always gets turned around to them wantin' to know how we spent the summer months, knowing full well that damned few of us have saved up enough empty beer cans to finance a trip to Keene, more less Lamont.

So, ol' Cal thought maybe we should save them losers the trouble this year, and just come right out and tell everyone how we spent our summer vacations. I'll gladly go first.

To begin with, I spent 34-cents on a postage stamp to send a copy of a Wall Street Journal article to a friend of mine in Oregon. The piece in question described how some big religious broadcasting companies were using an obscure federal law to kick National Public Radio out of rural markets and replace it with their own programming. So now the hicks in the sticks get to hear ultra-conservative fire and brimstone instead of sniveling, whiny liberals. What a trade-off. But no one's listening to either of 'em anyway, since one's supported by tax dollars and pledge drives, and the other's funded by hand-wringing, coercion, begging and guilt trips.

I spent $68 on a new Stetson, mail order, and it ain't come yet. I sure hope it shows up before I need it. When it comes, I hope y'all will help me with some fashion tips so I'll know what color shorts and sandals look best with it.

I spent $12 on a ticket to the big Queen and Princess Benefit at Ed Oakley Hall last month, and it was the best twelve bucks I've spent since I bought my marriage license. Lou's food was terrific, the congregation was much to my liking, and I had a rare opportunity to see just how much the current Princess had matured since assuming the title last year and taking her celebratory helicopter ride. She sure made me wish I was 15 again.

I spent $37 on a canister-style respirator so I could really get inside and muck out one of my mouse-infested trailers, and the fact that I'm still living and breathing is testimony to the fact that it was money well spent.

I spent $10 in an effort to locate a slow leak in a tire, which was losing about 20 pounds of air every ten days. But in spite of much searching, no leak could be found, so I got a new valve stem instead. God played a cruel joke on us when He made air invisible. But L.A. did something about it.

I spent $30 and a sleepless night rebuilding my personal computer after a crash so loud you could hear it all the way to Weldon. But it was time and money well spent, or else I would have missed this month's column deadline. By the time you finish this, you might not agree.

I spent $11 on a new battery for the cordless phone because nobody in this darned house knows how to put the darned handset back on the darned charger when they're done using the darned thing for the night. But I've got three dogs who sure as hell know how to turn it on and dial 9-1-1 when it's left laying on the couch overnight. On the bright side, "Officer Debbie" and I have a coffee date next Tuesday.

I spent $2 on a rat trap after several sightings in the kitchen, and three days later we had dinner.

I spent an undisclosed amount on birthday gifts for Betty, and even though she hasn't opened 'em yet, I think she'll like 'em. If not, I'm next in the rat trap.

I spent $16 on an old CD by EmmyLou Harris entitled "Duets" because I flat wore out the cassette, and I want that music played at my funeral some day. But not too soon. And make sure I'm dead first.

I spent $5 on a nickel bag of jerky at a new store that just opened up near my place. It's pretty good stuff—very hot—but I don't know how anyone can make a go of it just selling jerky. All I have to sell is this monthly column, and look where it's gotten me. But at least I have a website, which is more than I can say for the brick-and-mortar jerky joint.

I spent about $6 sitting at the counter in TOGS chewin' the rag with a fellow from Back Canyon. It's always good to meet a fellow traveler who's also living in sub-standard quarters. But in reality, he was a little tame for my tastes, and I doubt we'll be seeing much of each other. He was a lot smarter than me, though, and he knew his limits.

I spent an anxious hour reclining on the front seat of a car in a seaside parking lot while a crowd of paramedics and firefighters pondered the reasons for my pulse rate of 140. Miraculously, I survived, and even drove myself home a few hours later. But now I take two small pills, morning and night, and carry a more powerful little pill in my pocket. And, no, it ain't blue.

I spent a lot of time this summer just thinking while driving through Caliente Canyon, because that's pretty much all there is to do there. I've found it to be one of the most productive spots in the world for serious thought, and I think I'll try to do it more often. Having the opportunity to do nothing but think on a regular basis can solve a lot of problems. I'd get a lot more things straightened out if Caliente Canyon was 100 miles long.

Calendar Hacksaw will surely hang his new hat at, and he wants you to know he's not really a cheapskate. He just prefers to spend his vacations in places where money isn't the Number One priority in life.

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