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Don Locke: Looking Through Bifocals

You can rent a casket now in some places. 'Course it goes without saying only if you plan to be cremated. Three days rent on a casket is cheaper than buying one.

They said Barney Barnhart slept in a casket. Barney was a guy I worked with at a chemical plant in Texas. Turned out, he only slept in a casket box caskets are shipped in - he got it from a local funeral home . . . only in winter did he repose in the box - said it was warm in there. Barney was an eccentric bachelor. About how eccentric was he? At home he had a big bunch of jars, full of bent nails. He went down to the Sears store and bought the biggest bench vice they had. Back then forty plus years ago it cost him about $300. He could have bought a right smart bunch of new nails for that. But, folks do things for their reasons . . . like I used to tell my 99-year-old mother. She never could understand why people went to Florida in the summertime . . . "where it's hot." (Oh, I neglected to mention at the onset: this week is "A little 'insanity.'")

I've been convinced for years that this generation is so impatient with the present they live somewhere between memory and anticipation. In sports, no sooner than the first kick-off in football, the first tip-off in basketball, and the fist pitch thrown in baseball the announcers start talking about the Superbowl, the NCAA and NBA Championships, and the World Series of baseball. Recently I heard a young man say, "I hate the present; I can't stand it." I wanted to tell him, "When you get to the future, you will still be in the present, you goofy jackass." But I couldn't; he was on TV. Colonel Potter, on TV's M.A.S.H., used to tell his people, who were always griping about wanting to go home: "If you ain't right here and now, you ain't NO WHERE."

The terrible cost of Medicare? Somewhere around the first of the year I went to the hospital emergency room for a simple, BUT PAINFUL, procedure men of my age sometimes need. Turned out I had an infection, for which they kept me a couple of days. No less than FOUR DIFFERENT DOCTORS came by my room and did little more than stick their heads in. But they all had one notion: I have a good "card." They all were MILKING IT . . . ALLIGATOR SHOES AND BMWs.

"Oh sweet mama, tree-top-tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down." (Somethin' Smith and the Redheads)

Kindest regards . . .

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