Ricky Harpole Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Sage advice offered by shrapnel-riddled political observer

I feel it’s time to address the issues involving shrapnel- old age – and the worth ethic as it is applied to me.

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In retrospect, lookin’ back, my advice to myself would be:

1. Avoid shrapnel and other forms of carnage;

2. Get as old as you decently can;

3. Work only as hard as your lifestyle requires;

4. Pray often;

5. Be careful of the examples you set;

6. Don’t drink whiskey unless you personally know the distiller on a first name basis;

7. Distance yourself from any war you didn’t personally start;

8. Vote in every election whether or not you have a clue about the issues;

9. Know your cuss words, but use them sparingly. Believe it or not, they lose their potency when used too often.

Consider if a sailor said, “&&& you and &&&,” it  would just be a common sort of statement, one that would not even attract notice.

However, if your grandmother made the same statement on the church grounds in the presence of the new preacher, the essence of the product would go up to about 190 proof. My grandmother wouldn’t say a certain word if she had a mouthful of it.

Keep your cuss words, children, they are a valuable commodity, but if you print them too often, inflation will devaluate them like a dollar bill in a democrat administration. (President Nixon was an exception to both rules.)

The shrapnel is self explanatory. I’ve been pickin’ out small foreign objects from my right knee on a regular basis since 1982. I asked my doctor back when the Mayhem was fresh, if that leg would ever work again.

He said “Why, certainly, you’re young and healing fast. In about three months you won’t even know it happened.”

That sounded so good I was already feeling better, but then he added, “In about 10 years unfortunately you will remember it.”

He was right on both counts.

It was nine years and 10 months to the day that I discovered arthritis, and in that very knee, and it spread like wildfire all over the property.

The good news is that I have shucked enough shrapnel so that I no longer set off alarms in airports, but it is a hollow victory because I don’t trust commercial aircraft enough to patronize the industry anymore. Those union rascals that work on them planes don’t have to fly on ‘em and as a general rule they don’t.

My advice this week is that you should also:

1. Keep the demands of patriotism;

2. Hold all religions to be sacred;

3. Vote against any cause that leans in the wrong direction;

4. Never divulge the name of a bootlegger;

5. Don’t teach your grandmother any new cuss words, because it might upset the preacher, you see.

Now about the work part. Maynard G. Crebbs could sum it up in one long word Whoork!!!

That’s right children, it remains the curse of mankind. I’m sorry ladies, but Eve had a hand in that wreck, although fortunately for her, she could afford to hire a mean lawyer.

It appears to me that she got the kids and poor old Adam got the snakes and had to get a job.

The Bible in the Book of Genesis informs us that at least one of those children was not much better than a snake and laid his brother out with a shank. In the legal world of this day that would probably be called “Judicial Compensation.”

In all the research I’ve done on that case, I have been unable to discover how much she paid her lawyer, but I promise you nobody was happy with the verdict.

I am old, arthritic and am probably a candidate for Alzheimer’s disease. I admit to certain prejudices (ticks, chiggers, lawyers, fleas and other sneaky varmints).

If my memory is some diminished, it is not for the lack of a garden, that brings us back to the dirtiest word of all: “wooork”.

That takes us to Ricky’s third list of the week:

1. There’s work in them beans n’ taters;

2. Git it while the sun shines;

3. Go from can to caint while you still can;

4. From daylight to dark;

5. And from hell to breakfast, ‘cause if you don’t, there may not be any breakfast or dinner either.

These are gems and jewels but thankfully they no longer apply to me.

“Daylight to dark” and “can to cain’t” can go right back to Eve’s lawyer for my part. By Jove, from will to won’t? I quit, and between the devil and the deep blue sea.

I ain’t up to it no more. However, a homegrown tomato or a Valley watermelon might change my mind.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the garden. Watch the heat index and loaf accordingly.


P.S. Don’t forget to pray. It works.