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Dear County Agent Guy

By Staff | Apr 14, 2020

As per the advice of national health experts, my wife and I are practicing social distancing. We are staying at home and minimizing contact with humans although Sparkles, our cat, maintains unlimited lap privileges. In other words, things are fairly normal for us.

Everyone has been advised to keep their distance from others, to buy two weeks’ worth of groceries when they go to the store and to only venture forth when you absolutely need to. This, quite simply, is hunkering. Hunkering is second nature for my wife and me; we are hunkerers from way back. We’ve been given numerable opportunities to perfect our hunkering techniques thanks to our frequent prairie blizzards.

Many were startled when they visited the supermarket and discovered that the toilet paper section had been cleaned out (har!). This didn’t faze us in the least. My wife breaks into a panic whenever our toilet paper supply drops to less than a month, so we always have ample reserves. Plus, we continue to receive an endless stream of junk mail, so we will always have backups.

There have been more than a few changes to daily life due to the current situation. For example, I have participated in several business meetings – and even a baby shower! – via Zoom. Up until a few weeks ago, I thought that Zoom was the noise that little boys make with their mouths when they’re going really fast on their bikes.

We miss going out for the occasional restaurant meal. In an effort to support our local restaurants, we have been buying a few carry-out meals. But even that involves contact with humans, albeit briefly. This gave me an idea.

Pizza restaurants should hire professional frisbee throwers. Customers could place their orders on the internet and pay via credit card. The customer could then drive to the pizza joint and do a slow roll through their parking lot. An open car window and a skilled frisbee hurler would result in a safe, contact-free pizza transfer.

Another thing that I miss is getting a haircut. I enjoy Bob the barber’s jocular banter, although I don’t miss all those itchy post-haircut clippings under my collar.

You might be wondering why I just don’t have my wife cut my hair. This is because we have an unpleasant history regarding that particular activity. And by “unpleasant” I mean “resulted in actual bloodshed.”

Shortly after we were wed, my wife, who is in charge of keeping up appearances in our family, noted that I was starting to look scruffy. Back then, when I was a young dairy farmer, I frankly didn’t care how I looked. The only time I might glance in a mirror would be to see if I still had both eyebrows after using my cutting torch.

“You’re as shaggy as a yak,” remarked my wife one day. “You really need a haircut.”

“Haircuts cost money and we’re more broke than a vase that was tossed off the top of a skyscraper,” I replied. “Besides, the cows don’t care how I look as long as they get fed and milked.”

“But I care! I have an idea. Let me cut your hair. We’ll save money and you won’t look like It from ‘The Addams Family.'”

I will admit that the idea had a certain amount of appeal. Not only would it cost us nothing, having one’s hair cut by another person is an act of extreme intimacy. Imagining the pottery scene from the move “Ghost,” I agreed to my wife’s plan.

I sat in a kitchen chair and my wife draped a towel over my shoulders. As she began to carefully trim my scraggly locks, she hummed a vaguely familiar tune.

“That sounds a lot like the song they sang when the Cowardly Lion was getting clipped at the Wash & Brush Up Co. in the ‘The Wizard of Oz,'” I said.

“No, it doesn’t!” replied my wife. The humming stopped.

I decided to mess with my wife by yanking my head to one side and claiming that she cut my ear.

“Ow!” I exclaimed as I suddenly jerked my head, “You cut my ear!”

I stupidly jerked my head in the wrong direction, causing my wife to accidentally cut my ear.

From then on, I went to paid professionals for my coiffure maintenance needs. It cost money, but it also probably saved our marriage.

This current situation is causing a universe of difficulties but it’s also creating opportunities. For instance, I might soon get to try out that exotic new hairdo called the “ponytail.” My wife says that if I do, I’d better hide the hedge clippers.

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

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