Random Thoughts while Driving in Waco

By Jack Smith

About six months ago, I was appointed to be a justice of the peace in Falls County. It’s an interesting job. I get to interact with a group of people that I’ve never really encountered before. I meet them at the jail where I read them their rights, explain what they are charged with and set their bonds. They are not happy people.

But I also get to do weddings. I’ve done 10 so far. These folks are happy (except for the time the groom was about 20 minutes late). But one strange thing has happened at three or four of the weddings. I read the vows for them to repeat: “I, Fred, take thee, Martha, to be my lawfully wedded wife,” but they will repeat, “I, Fred, take thee, Martha, to be my awfully wedded wife.” I think it’s just a mistake, but I’m not sure. It could be a precursor. Or a pre-cusser.

I served in the Army (the U.S. Army), and therefore I’m a veteran. But I notice on TV, from most everybody I hear, that I’m not really a veteran, but a vetran. I guess it saves time.

Why does bottled water have an expiration date or a sell-by date? If it sits on the shelf too long does it get all watery?

The Center for Disease Control (or the CDC for you three-letter acronym, or TLA, fans) warned recently that we should not kiss chickens. I imagine there was an expensive study to verify this potentially dangerous situation. It has to do with salmonella, which chickens often have. Salmonella doesn’t bother the chickens but can be spread through chicken kissing. For once a government agency is issuing sound advice. My chicken kissing days are done.

Speaking of chickens, it was pointed out to me recently that I was no spring chicken. I’m not sure exactly how that is determined, but I think I’m a fall chicken. But regardless, don’t kiss me.

A relative recently asked me what “it hurts like the dickens” means exactly. What is a dickens? You might think it refers to Charles Dickens, but that isn’t it. Turns out (I looked it up) that “dickens” is a euphemism for “devil” and was used by Shakespeare. So basically it means it hurts a lot.

Another phrase I heard recently was, “They’re dropping like flies.” (Probably they were talking about presidential candidates.) But when does one see a lot of flies dropping? Never? Again I looked it up. The phrase goes way back to the 1600s, which was way before electric fly zappers. When I think of dropping flies, I remember my days in Little League baseball, not lots of dying insects.

My butane outdoor grill has a temperature gauge that shows me how hot it is inside the grill. It gets up to 700 degrees or so. This information doesn’t help me. I just open the top to see if the meat or chicken or vegetables are done. But on my inside oven I think knowing the exact temperature of the oven from a temperature gauge could be helpful. But who am I to gauge?

Do you ever notice the small, daily article in the Waco paper titled “Do Just One Thing?” It’s almost always about saving the Earth through various environmental actions. A recent article told us how to save a mouse or rat that is caught on one of those glue strips which we put down to catch mice or rats. It said to take the device with the trapped varmint outside and put olive oil on the creature’s little feet so that it can escape back into nature. This was a revelation to me. I just didn’t know that we had a catch and release program for rats.

IF I WERE KING: Rats would stay out of our homes and spend time kissing chickens until they dropped like flies.

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