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COUNTY AGENT GUY

By Staff | Feb 12, 2010

It’s been a long and gloomy winter; the sort of season where a guy looks up one day and is startled by a bright spot in the sky and it takes a few moments to recall that our planet orbits this shiny, star-like object we call, “the sun.”

It’s a winter that began with the best of intentions. My goal was to keep a path shoveled from the house to the car, a clear carpet of dormant grass my wife could safely traverse without fear of falling.

But this blasted winter soon overwhelmed my efforts and the path from the car to the house now closely resembles the topside of a glacier. The only thing we can do about it is grumble and strap on our crampons.

The unending chill and gloom has kept us cooped up, which has led to more time spent on indoor pursuits.

This included my joining Facebook. Such online organizations are normally the dominion of the young, so joining seemed somewhat weird. It was like wearing someone else’s underwear: you can’t help but feel sort of … eww!

Facebook led to a whole new slew of responsibilities; people to “friend,” posts to respond to, grammar and spelling mistakes to gently chide others for.

Several of my former high school classmates asked to be “friended.” Being a big softie, I agreed to them all. A mistake.

The sheer size of this gaffe hit home one cold, gray morning when I was perusing Facebook. One of my classmates posted that this year marks the 35th anniversary of our graduation and that maybe we should plan some sort of get-together.

It was as if a lightning bolt had jumped from the computer screen to my chest. Thirty-five years! Is it even possible? Surely that number was incorrect! Maybe someone forgot to carry a 1 or got confused about “borrowing.”

But, no. Counting upward from 1975 to 2010 requires 35 fingers and toes (and a felt tip marker to keep track of which toes had already been used).

How could this be? Aren’t we all still 18, with only one chin and not a single strand of gray? The photos posted on Facebook seemed to suggest that the answer is an emphatic, “no.”

We once had a motto that said we shouldn’t trust anyone over 30. What now? Don’t trust anyone who uses a walker? Certainly we would eventually rue that slogan, also.

My wife and I have been married for 29 of those 35 years. How would I describe our lives at a class reunion?

A little embellishment might be in order. Since my wife loves to shop, I could say that she is the chief clothing buyer for Chanel and is constantly jetting around the globe. I could casually mention that I’m a former CIA “Black Ops” guy and that Warren Buffett calls me daily to beg for investment advice.

That’s much more glamorous than the truth, which is that my wife and I lead a very quiet (that is, dull) life. We’re as comfortable with each other as an old pair of shoes and don’t mind the long silences that often pass while we watch TV. In other words, we’ve become – horrors! – our parents.

My wife makes a point of watching “Mad Men” with me, a show that depicts a world wherein it’s against the law for husbands to do housework and men go about in a haze of bourbon and cigar smoke and the only acceptable answer from a wife is “yes, dear.”

My wife can’t stand “Mad Men,” but watches it with me to ensure that I don’t get any ideas.

She prefers the stuff seen on the DIY Network and Home and Garden TV. These nefarious networks feature shows that tell homeowners how they can have an elegant outdoor bar beside their magnificent in-ground swimming pool which adjoins their charming flagstone patio. All you need to get started is unlimited funds.

We’ll watch such shows and my wife will get a dreamy look and I’ll say, “Don’t get any ideas!”

I was getting a haircut recently and thinking of this upcoming class reunion when a clump of gray hair plopped onto the poncho. Inspired, I told the barber to lop off all the gray stuff.

“Can’t do that,” he replied. “It wouldn’t be good for business if a customer walked out of here looking like he has a bad case of the mange!”

My wife suggested that I start doing stomach crunches so that my belly would look like Matt McConaughey’s instead of the Michelin Man’s. But that sounded like an awful lot of work.

It would be so much easier to make a few minor adjustments in other areas. Does anyone know how to operate the “unfriend” function on Facebook?

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

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