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Days of Yore (Before Fast Food) and Dreams of Serenity

Plus the new DWI test, redneck sensitivity and Forrest Gump in heaven.


You're only as old as you feel. . . New correspondent Farmer Pam writes from Deming with a little yarn about the joys of getting older:

"An elderly woman called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car had been broken into. She was hysterical as she explained to the dispatcher, 'They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!'

"The dispatcher told her, 'Stay calm. An officer is on the way.'

"A few minutes later, the officer radioed in. 'Disregard,' he said. 'She got in the back seat by mistake.'"


You know you live in New Mexico when. . . We happily welcome back Blue Moon with another installment of things unique to life in the Land of Enchantment:

"You know you live in New Mexico when. . .

"You can actually spell 'Albuquerque.'

"You think school should be cancelled when a nanometer of snow falls. And you go out and build a snowman in it.

"You think it is perfectly normal to get your local news from a city 300 miles away.

"You can name all four corners.

"You think of Arizonans as snooty and pretentious.

"You know all the stats of a minor league baseball team.

"You had to learn either Spanish or English when you moved here.

"You know a roadrunner doesn't actually go beep-beep.

"Every time you move the name on the mailbox next door is 'Ted Turner.'

"You once ate something so hot that for a minute there you were a member of the Fantastic Four.

"You've tried to rhyme 'Mogollon.'"


Don't make Blue Moon go it alone in defining our state of mind. Send your ways you know you live in New Mexico to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email diary@desertexposure.com.


Our pets, ourselves. . . Speaking of rhyming, another new Deming correspondent, HowardS, writes in response to our call for more cat poetry. We were actually requesting poetry written by cats (or purportedly by cats), not poetry about cats, but we'll gladly share this nonetheless—as long as future contributors do not interpret this as an open call for poetry of all sorts. Is that clear, people? We're making an exception here! Got a poem? Save it for our annual writing competition. Here at Desert Diary we like only limericks, poems by cats and, well, this RARE exception:

"Queen Serene

A cat who'd been on the roam

Came by my place looking for a home.

The first thing I had to learn

Was she would not bow down a place to earn.

She came in, checked each corner, looked around

Not quite content with what she found.

To the door she went, then gave a stare

Which, I guessed, meant I should help her there.

Outside she strolled a bit, dug a while

Then, with care, covered up the little pile.

Dogs gambol, leave a mess behind

While the cat reflects a finer mind.

She then pranced back and seemed to say,

'Well, open up, you're in my way.'

Once inside, she sought a corner, squatted down

Hiked up her tail, then squatted down.

Thus arrayed, she made it clear

My house was short of needed gear.

I asked a friend who said, 'Don't you know?

She wants a box where she can let it go.'

I did, of course, meet this mimed request

And learned other lessons as she put me to the test.

I've learned the rhythms of my majestic cat,

She's the boss and that is that!

Although at night she goes out to play

She wakes me early every single day.

There is no Sunday in her plan,

It's 'Get up, get up, you shiftless man.'

Yet withal I've been truly blessed

By the tenure of my self-invited guest.

She, with constant, careful care, has lifted crabby me

Closer to her world of calm serenity."


Annals of law enforcement. . . This tale of law enforcement in our time comes courtesy of Jess Hossinaround in Arenas Valley:

"A New Mexico state trooper pulled a car over about two miles west of the Texas/New Mexico state line. The trooper asked the driver why he was speeding. The driver answered that he was a magician and a juggler and he was on his way to Houston to do a show that night at the Shrine Circus and didn't want to be late.

"The trooper told the driver he'd always been fascinated by juggling, and if the driver would do a little juggling for him, then he wouldn't give him a ticket. But the driver told the trooper that he had sent all of his equipment on ahead and didn't have anything to juggle. The trooper said he had some flares in the trunk of his patrol car and asked if those would work. The juggler stated they would, so the trooper got three flares, lit them and handed them to the juggler.

"While the man was doing his juggling act, a car pulled in behind the patrol car. A very drunk good old boy from central Texas got out and watched the performance briefly. He then went over to the patrol car, opened the rear door and got in. The trooper, seeing him doing this, went over to his patrol car, opened the door and asked the drunk what he thought he was doing.

"The drunk replied, 'You might as well take my ass to jail, 'cause there's no way in hell I can pass that test.'"



Postcards from the edge. . . This latest response to our invitation to send a photo of yourself on vacation with a copy of your favorite publication—ahem, that would be Desert Exposure—comes mighty close to matching the distance of last month's image from Antarctica. Neysa Pritikin is shown here perusing Desert Exposure at the Temple of Karnak in Egypt—pretty near to halfway around the world in the horizontal, rather than vertical direction!

Take us with you on your next trip—to the other side of the world or just to Topeka—and send home a snapshot of yourself holding "the biggest little paper in the Southwest"! Send it to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, or by email to diary@desertexposure.com.


The good old daze. . . Reviving our occasional theme of reminiscing about those thrilling days of yesteryear, Scoggin-in-NM writes:

"'Hey, Dad,' one of my kids asked the other day, 'what was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?'

"'We didn't have fast food when I was growing up,' I informed him. 'All the food was slow.'

"'C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?'

'It was a place called "at home,''' I explained. 'Grandma cooked every day and when Grandpa got home from work, we sat down together at the dining-room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.'

"By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it:

"Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a 'revolving charge card.' The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears AND Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.

"My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed (slow). We didn't have a television in our house until I was 11, but my grandparents had one before that. It was, of course, black and white, but they bought a piece of colored plastic to cover the screen. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the bottom third was green, like grass. The middle third was red. It was perfect for programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding across someone's lawn on a sunny day. Some people had a lens taped to the front of the TV to make the picture look larger.

"I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza; it was called 'pizza pie.' When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had.

"We didn't have a car until I was 15. Before that, the only car in our family was my grandfather's Ford. He called it a 'machine.'

"I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line.

"Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was.

"All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost seven cents a paper, of which I got to keep two cents. I had to get up at four every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect the 42 cents from my customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

"If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

"Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?"

Share your own memories of the "olden days" back before Al Gore invented the Internet, when people lived in trees. Send to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email diary@desertexposure.com.


Capital pun-ishment. . . Consider yourselves warned. We hereby continue our presentation of groaner puns sent our way by kMcFlea in Hurley. Read on at your own risk:

"A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

"If you do not pay your exorcist, you can get repossessed.

"With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

"Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft, and I will show you A-flat miner.

"When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

"The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine has been fully recovered.

"You are stuck with your debt, if you can't budge it.

"A calendar's days are numbered.

"A lot of money is tainted. 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.

"A boiled egg is hard to beat.

"He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

"A plateau is a high form of flattery.

"Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

"When you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.

"When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she would dye.

"Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

"Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

"Acupuncture is a jab well done."


Heaven can wait. . . Our occasional reports from the afterlife resume with this yarn from Dakota Duaine:

"Forrest Gump dies and goes to heaven. He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. St. Peter says, 'Well, Forrest, it is certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we have been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into heaven.'

"Forrest responds, 'It sure is good to be here, St. Peter, sir. But nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. I sure hope that the test ain't too hard. Life was a big enough test as it was.'

"St. Peter continues, 'Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions. First: What two days of the week begin with the letter T? Second: How many seconds are there in a year? Third: What is God's first name?'

"Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter, who waves him up, and says, 'Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers.'

"Forrest replies, 'Well, the first one—which two days in the week begin with the letter T? Shucks, that one is easy. That would be Today and Tomorrow.'

"The saint's eyes open wide and he exclaims, 'Forrest, that is not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I did not specify, so I will give you credit for that answer. How about the next one?'

"'How many seconds in a year? Now that one is harder,' says Forrest, 'but I thunk and thunk about that, and I guess the only answer can be 12.'

"Astounded, St. Peter says, '12? 12? Forrest, how in heaven's name could you come up with 12 seconds in a year?'

"Forrest replies, 'Shucks, there's got to be 12: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd. . .'

"'Hold it,' interrupts St. Peter. 'I see where you are going with this, and I see your point, though that was not quite what I had in mind. But I will have to give you credit for that one, too. Let us go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name'?

"'Sure,' Forrest replies. 'It's Andy.'

"'Andy?' exclaims an exasperated and frustrated St Peter. 'OK, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with Andy as the first name of God?'

"'Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,' Forrest replies. 'I learnt it from the song, "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own. . ."'

"St. Peter opens the Pearly Gates and says: 'Run, Forrest, run.'"


When in Rome. . . Continuing that pious thread, RCH in Arizona returns with this clerical tale:

"A drunk man who smelled like beer sat down on a subway next to a priest. The man's tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half-empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket.

"He opened his newspaper and began reading. After a few minutes, the drunk turned to the priest and asked, 'Say, Father, what causes arthritis?'

"The priest replied, 'My son, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol, contempt for your fellow man, sleeping around with prostitutes and lack of a bath.'

"The drunk muttered in response, 'Well, I'll be damned,' then returned to his paper.

"The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. 'I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?'

"The drunk answered, 'I don't have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope does.'"


The joke's on us. . . Because we like to think of ourselves as caring and sensitive, we happily pass on this funny from Ned Ludd about three caring, sensitive "rednecks":

"Three rednecks are working up on a cell phone tower—Cooter, Pete and KC. As they start their descent, Cooter slips, falls off the tower and is killed instantly. As the ambulance takes the body away, Pete says, 'Well, dang, someone should go and tell his wife.'

"KC says, 'OK, I'm pretty good at that sensitive stuff, I'll do it.'

"Two hours later, KC comes back carrying a case of Budweiser. Pete says, 'Where did you get that beer, KC?'

"'Cooter's wife gave it to me,' KC replies.

"'That's unbelievable! You told the lady her husband was dead and she gave you beer?'

"'Well, not exactly,' KC says. 'When she answered the door, I said to her, "You must be Cooter's widow." She said, "You must be mistaken, I'm not a widow." Then I said, "I'll bet you a case of Budweiser you are."'"


Send your jokes, puns, heartwarming anecdotes and cosmic ponderings to: Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, email diary@desertexposure.com. Remember, the best submission each month gets a highly collectible Desert Exposure coffee mug.


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