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Fri, Dec. 13

One Man's Rant: I’ve decided to celebrate

I went to the Dollar Store here in Chino Valley the other day to buy party supplies. I got a party hat, a noise maker, a balloon and a very small bag of confetti. The occasion? I’ve decided to celebrate this, the 295th column that I’ve written for the newspaper. This may be the first time the 295th version of anything has received special recognition. Most folks would wait for an even-numbered something, such as 300 or 500. My motivation for not waiting is that by making a spectacle of this column, I get to pig out on chocolate cake and ice cream today. I’ve never been one for delayed gratification.

At first, I thought I’d invite all my loyal readers to the shindig. For the first couple of hundred columns, my loyal readers probably numbered close to 11. But recent trends are exceedingly encouraging. In just the last couple of years alone, my following has swelled to around 18. I think. Since these 18 devotees were busy on party day, and my wife had a last-minute garden club function, I decided to host a contemplative wingding of one. That approach would give me an opportunity for quiet reflection about columns for the future. That approach would also mean more cake and ice cream for me.

As I look back over the years, I’ve written approximately 177,389 words under the One Man’s Rant banner. Many of them appeared in the proper sequence. I even applied the correct rules of punctuation once in a while. My wife made sure of that.

The more meaningful columns, of course, involved pants-less advertising spokes-animals (pigs, lizards, owls, etc.), Brussel’s sprouts, socks, Marshal Matt Dillon, lettuce and football. Oh, and fried pig parts. Clichés. Peas. Charles Atlas. And making fun of neighbor Luiz. You know, the topics that America wants to know about. OK, OK, if America didn’t give a fig about these subjects, at least they amused me. And that’s the important thing.

The month of November won’t only be remembered for my 295th celebration, there are other notable festivities on the calendar this month. Earlene Lebowski just promoted the 19th year of her shop, Earlene’s Notions, in Crab Orchard, Nebraska. And did you know that Dr. Quigley Jones has operated his dental practice in Chunky, Mississippi, for 26 years? I understand that he’s commemorating the occasion by offering a Two-Fer promotion: “Pull one tooth, pull the second one for free” promotion. Yes, this November will be remembered. Well, and then there’s the Thanksgiving thing.

So, where do I go from here? With my age and dwindling mental physical reserves, I doubt I have another 177,389 words left in me. If I were a member of the Vietnamese community, I could expect that my children would demonstrate their “profound gratitude” with a ceremony to wish me good health and long life. According to what I’ve read, in a Vietnamese village, a man of 50 is honored as an old man. I wonder how they refer to a man of over 70 years of age? I suspect there are corresponding words in Vietnamese to geezer, gramps, ancient one, codger, buffer, old fart, coot, etc.

Other than the obvious fact that I’m not Vietnamese, I probably won’t receive any expressions of “profound gratitude” from offspring since I don’t think I ever had any. Nor will I receive a ceremonial red dress or a red-bordered mat to sit on.

On the other hand, I should check with the editors at the newspaper to see if they have a spare red dress and red-bordered mat stored in the back room.

To comment on this column or if you’ve found a red-bordered mat, email

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