Tag Archives: marriage


24 Sep


By Homer P. Nogginfogger

Dear Mr. Marsidoo (I hope I spelt it right),

Please publish the following essay of my opinion of what is bass-ackwards in this great nation of ours. I’ve limited it to three or four, but believe me when I say I coulda gone on and on. Nevertheless, every journey begins with a step, and this is my first step at being vocal, seeing as how every other jack-ass is allowed to scream and shout what they think. I’m gonna use that little comment you use so often to apply to this here below: my opinion and 75 cents will get you a cup of coffee anywheres. That excludes Starbuck’s, of course. Which I also exclude on a regular basis, if you know what I mean.

Thank you, Kind Sir,



Bass-akwards. One of the best words to de-scribe most of what ails this country and me.

Once notions was based on simple and plain logic: what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours; and don’t do or say nothin’ to nobody you wouldn’t want done or said to you. You know, the Golden Rule thing.

Seems to me, though, as this nation has got older and sophisticateder — “wiser” some folks might say — we ain’t done more’n get things so turned around we don’t know which way is up anymore. We got things bass-ackwards, in other words.

Like marriage. Used to be a guy and a gal honeyed up to one another on the porch and listened to the radio and sipped lemonade. Then the guy would go ask her papa could they marry (her and the guy, that is — you have to be so clear about that these days), and the wedding would be planned down to the First Baptist Church. Wasn’t no super expensive deal. Friends and family brought a cover dish and the Oak Holler Boys would show up with the music, and there’d be a barn dance afterward.

Then the new couple would sneak off to the cabin he had built during their courtship and consummate the vows. Later that night, some of the wedding guests would show up a bit tipsy and proceed with a shivaree, banging pots and pans and sometimes firing a pistol or shotgun in the air.

And they’d have kids — enough to work the land and help bring in the harvest — and that would be that. 

Today you got to sign a prenuptial agreement, where nobody much makes out but the lawyers. It is a contract that says who gets what if who does what to whom. Kind of an albatross that hangs out, waitin’ for what has come to be very common in most marriages: divorce.

I ain’t sayin’ divorce didn’t happen way back when — it was just that it was more uncommon than common — and for a lot better reasoning than in-com-pati-bility! That’s a big way of sayin’ “we don’t get along anymore.”

My parents was married more than fifty years — and to each other! I know people these days been married nearly that long, but to two or three different spouses. So it don’t really count.

These days people go into marriage kinda with the attitude if they stay hitched for five or more years, they done good! But with that prenuptial in place, they figure they done even better! Seems these days people go into a marriage for what they can come out from it with, not with the mind of what can I put into it. Used to be “for better or worse” meant the good and the bad times, period. Today, it’s better until I figure I’m worse off. That’s bass-ackwards, I think.

Then the divorce, and the only ones benefitting are the lawyers — onct again! Everyone else is miserable and angry!

And insurance. Again, bass-ackwards! I pay money to a company that is betting I’m not gonna get sick, crash my car, say something horribly bad about someone else, or any number of really bad things — while I’m betting I am! Then, when something bad does happen, the insurance company — who has already invested my money in land and bonuses and paying off the politicians — says to me, “You can’t have your money less you can prove the bad thing meets our guidelines! What guidelines! I never saw no guidelines! Well, it’s in the fine print. And I get a letter back from the insurance company saying my claim is denied. Or, if I do get any money — say for a car accident — they begin deducting. Depreciation. Mileage. Wear and tear. More if it’s my fault, yet still some even if it’s not my fault. And then they do what? They raise the amount I have to pay them! Bass-ackwards!

And, finally, taxes. I know. Ain’t nobody likes them. But some of us get the tax-shaft. You know, good, honest workin’ folk. We grind and we sweat, and we pay out to our country, state, county, city, and through sales taxes on just about anything and everything until there’s barely enough to squeeze out for the rent and the water and the lights and a trip to the grocery store. That don’t include what I call the luxuries: clothing, gas, and going to the doctor (by God, the government has got us by the scrotum on that one, too). 

So I wear my jeans and shirts until they’re so thin they don’t even make good rags. And by the time I give up on a pair of shoes, I can scoop up a dime off the street with the leather that flaps as I walk.

Even if I get a raise from where I work on account of inflation, it is eat up with higher taxes! Social Security. Medicare (do I care?). And other stuff I never see. But I hear Congress has a fine time with those dollars!

And the rich? Hell, I personally know a rich man brags every April about the amount of taxes he pays: nuthin! So many loop-holes and what-not, that only the rich understand and can take advantage of. Plus their high-paid tax accountants. Me? I go down to the Y and some volunteer helps me file my taxes for free. But even that might go away, the way the Infernal Revenuers are headed. Even the E-Z tax form takes a PhD to figure out. No matter what, I always pay more.

Bass-ackwards! The rich need to pay their fair share. Make it across the board fair — like five percent or so. Way it is, them that’s got, gets. Like at the bank, where when you apply for a loan ‘cause you need the money, but you get refused on account you need the money. Whereas the rich get all they want, and they don’t need it! I seen a skit on that on TV one night, where a poor man trying to keep his house is rejected. Then a rich man comes in and the banker keeps shoveling money to him by the handful. I laughed and cried at the same time. Even if it’s funny, the truth hurts.


I know. Lynn Anderson made a record, “I beg your pardon,” and truly I don’t expect a rose garden. Pretty as those flowers are, they can still stick you with their thorns. And I know that the Almighty Grave is the great equalizer. But none of that makes me feel better at the present. Maybe in the Hereafter I’ll feel better. Sure hope so.

And even if these bass-ackwards things didn’t exist, we’d still have a time of it. I know that. But I’m not asking much. Just the three. Get ‘em right, for God’s sake. Then I can turn my mind to more important matters.

Yours truly,

Homer P. Nogginfogger



We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos and negativity and bullying in the world. And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common – which is – we all want to be happy. [No, really … the quote actually ends this way]

— Ellen DeGeneres


Kicking the Tires

15 Jun


Kicking the Tires

By L. Stewart Marsden

My dad was an auto mechanic for years. On the weekends he and me used to work on an old jalopy he bought for practically nothing. Said it was his therapy. Well he musta had a severe case of the crazies on account he worked on that car till the day he died.

Sally, he called her. And she was the jumpin’ off point for many a life lesson I never forgot.

“Sally is just like a woman,” he said a lot. “She may be old, and may not work the way she did when she rolled off the assembly line, but she’s reliable and fixable. Not like the shiny new cars you see in the dealerships. No. And she wasn’t made for the smooth life of the highway, but the bumpy backroads.

“Once she’s back in shape, she’ll purr like a kitten and be the envy of every guy within three counties.

“Not like those fancy-finned gals with all kinds of gadgets. The ones what seems great the first time you take ‘em on the road, only to fall apart after not too long. The ones with built-in ob-so-lescence. Cosmetic crates, I call ‘em. Lemons with a fancy paint job.”

My dad’s ability to hone in on Sally as a universal roadmap to life was better than a lecture from a triple-PhD at some high-powered college or university. According to my dad, those guys had nothing but wind chimes for brains, which tinkled loudly whenever a fresh wind blew.

But Sally was the real thing. The true compass. From sex to marriage to being dependable and trustworthy as a worker. She was the rusted splotch-polished real McCoy example of how life should be, and once was.

“The thing about marriage is you are drawn by the sleek sexiness of a sedan or a convertible under the lights on the car lot. Never buy a new car at night, by the way.

“Oh, the shine and the new vinyl smell and the reflections of city lights as you cruise the boulevard make you think you’re in heaven! The AM/FM works just fine, and the steering is tight. The big rubber whitewalls grip the road on every turn, and you only have to tap your breaks to slow or stop on a dime. The clutch is taut, and the gears slide like butter from first to third.

“And there ain’t no crusted-over milkshake spills on the floorboard. The cigarette lighter is virginal, and the ashtray slick and clean. The visors hold where you place them, and the rear view mirror ain’t spotted.

“And it’s just fine as it can be, you say to yourself.

“But you worry. About the first bug marks on the silver bumper that won’t scrub off. Or a ding on the side where some jack-ass parked too close and swung open his door. Or the temperature gauge light popping on suddenly when you are miles from a filling station.

“That first slow leak from a nail in the road. Is that person going to stop at the light or not?

“It’s all a worrisome time.

“Plus your car needs the high-priced gas, not the cheapest leaded fuel, although you are tempted to ask the attendant to use regular instead, knowing your baby will eventually chug and shudder on the road –– right when you’re trying to pass a semi on a two-lane county back road with oncoming traffic.

“And you begin to try to save in other ways, avoiding the manufacturer plugs and points and air filters for the cheaper no-name brands. Less expensive motor oil. Maybe you don’t change the radiator fluid for a while. You quit hand-washing and waxing and zip through the new automats.

“Then it’s not too long before you hear the door hinges and springs creak loudly, and there is a crusted-over milkshake spill or two on the floorboard. The vinyl smell is gone. The cigarette lighter has turned gray-white on the coils, and the ashtray is dusted over and no longer shiny. Rust spots dot the bumpers and other chrome trim. And when you idle at a light, blue-gray puffs of lead-filled exhaust spew from your loud muffler.

“And you think to yourself, ‘It’s time for a trade in.’”

Don’t get me wrong. Dad loved Mom. And he always treated her like the fine Cadillac convertible he saw her to be.

But he was at his happiest when he worked on Sally. And he whistled. And he compared life to his life-long restoration project.

He and Mom stayed married sixty-seven years.

“Don’t ever forget, Son. You gotta kick a few tires to find the right one. And never –– ever –– buy a new car at night.”

Words to live by.