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Dear County Agent Guy

The assassin

February 14, 2020
By Jerry Nelson - Columnist , Farm News

The cunning assassin silently slipped in under the cover of darkness.

It was after suppertime and my wife and I were watching TV. Slowly, I began to intuit hints of the assassin's presence. An inexplicable feeling of discombobulation crept over me. My instincts whispered that something was amiss in our house, but I couldn't determine what it was.

Bedtime came and I tried to quiet my anxious brain with a book. This normally puts me right to sleep, but my senses remained at red alert. My mind searched the dark, silent house for the devious intruder that I somehow knew was lurking.

He waited patiently, biding his time until I began to doze off. Then he struck with a fury that was stunning and majestic. His skillfully executed sneak attack caused my innards to churn like a blender set on "frappe."

To make a long story short, I was hit by the mother of all tummy aches.

I grappled with my foe the entirety of that sleepless night. Should I just give in and go to the bathroom and york? I hate upchucking more than anything! There's also the "ick" factor of holding your head so close to the toilet, one of the last places you would want to place your face.

Might a chewable antacid help? The mere thought of chewing made me feel like urping. I finally managed to choke down a sip of ginger ale to give my stomach something to work with if worse came to worst.

I wondered where the bug that was trying to off me had come from. When our kids were booger-faced little dirt-dwellers, it was easy to know who to blame for dragging home diseases. But our kids had flown the nest years ago.

I searched my memory for any questionable food choices I'd made recently. It had been a long time since I'd taken a flier on a skeevy gas station burrito or noshed on potato salad that had sat out long enough to form its own unique ecosystem of microbes. And it's been years since I've eaten roadkill.

Then I recalled that my wife had been ill a week or so ago. She had experienced similar symptoms, but my ailment was much, much worse, mainly because it was happening to ME.

The interminable night slowly drew to a close. The day and my fever broke at the same time. It gradually dawned on me that I would live, that I had somehow managed to give my dastardly assassin the slip. But my victory had come at a cost. I won't say more other than I was extremely glad that my wife always keeps us well supplied with super-soft TP.

Over the next day, things slowly returned to normal although my digestive system remained as jumpy as a sheep at a wolf convention.

Just when I became certain that our home had escaped the machinations of the malicious assassin, he abruptly struck at the very heart of our household. That's right: he killed our TV.

Shortly after I resumed eating solid food, I decided to celebrate by watching an intergender music-based synchronized locomotion competition. But only half of the TV's screen was viewable; the other half was a mishmash of mixed-up pixels.

I turned the TV off and on. No good. I unplugged it, hoping for a lifesaving reboot. The screen went totally black. The TV still had audio, but that doesn't do much good when you're watching a cutthroat ballroom dancing contest.

Once was a time when we would have called Toby Tyler, our TV repairman, and Toby would have nursed our telly back to health. But modern electronic appliances are throwaway items; they are no longer cherished heirlooms which are passed from generation to generation. This is why you seldom see homes that have a Victrola.

We purchased a new 55-inch TV for about $300. Back in the early 1960s, Dad spent a similar amount for a black-and-white TV that had a viewing area the size of a cell phone screen. This was a huge financial lift back then. Dad made monthly payments on that TV for several years.

Setting up a new TV is a pain. You have sign into apps and supply your usernames and passwords. Of course, we couldn't recall any of those things. I had cleverly taken the precaution of writing them down, but we couldn't remember where I'd hidden them. Why can't a TV simply have a button that's labeled "Watch TV"?

Everything is finally back to normal now. And we're ready should the assassin decide to strike again because our new TV has a three-year warranty.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

 
 

 

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