Uncle Mort on Facebook

Published 7:57 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury


   The new owner of the thicket’s general store has “hit the ground running” on her promise to introduce changes, one of ‘em featuring “bait and grab.” (When dealing with clientele like my 104-year-old Uncle Mort, grabbing is easier than switching.)

Anyways, she’s got him “hooked” on the Internet’s Facebook site, and as far as he’s concerned–a shorter distance than he admits–she can delete all the other websites.

Maybe Mort is a distant relative of late comedian Grady Nutt, who said when radio airwaves rocked with the sounds of gospel singing, his dad dared anyone to mess with the frequency knob on his radio. All he wanted to hear was the Stamps-Baxter quartet’s daily show. To make sure, he sawed the knob off so no one could change stations when he wasn’t looking.

Her plan to bring Mort and his domino-playing buddies into the 21st century–the “bait part” of the formula–is in place. A Facebook devotee, she whiled away downtime recently while the guys shuffled dominoes and argued, with occasional threats thrown in.

None have home computers, so she is offering a “special” for the week. There’s no charge for 30-minute computer access; she thinks it will be a “soft place” for losers to find solace after games.

Mort asked about Facebook, and soon wanted to know more. Much of the “more” centers on the owner’s promise to add some computers she’ll have for rental soon. Then, the “grab” part begins.

Mort was “much obliged” for the access she granted to her list of FB “friends.” Now, he’s “hooked” on the “ponderables” (as well as “imponderables”) posed online.

This, he thinks, is his kind of place. The FB bunch seems always bent on topics that cause his mind to whirl.

He cited several questions begging answers during a recent session, including these: “What if a person comes down with amnesia and déjà vu at the same time?… If one uses spot remover on his dog, will he be able to find him again?… Why do they have a ‘permanent press’ setting on irons?… When people mention life being difficult, is it okay to ask them, ‘Compared to what?’”

“Some are claims that deserve to be mulled over,” my uncle said. I didn’t have to ask for examples. They came at me like West Texas flood waters after a long drought. (Sudden thought: If it is a short drought, would it even be a drought?)

Here are some declarations Mort passed along: “I had the right to remain silent, but being Irish, I guess I was too stubborn…. I live on a one-way, dead-end street; not sure how I got here…. Everywhere is within walking distance if you have time. Depression keeps the jukebox playing.”… And how about this chiller left on an answering machine: “I got rid of the body; now what do you want me to do?”

Whatever, now Mort has more reasons than domino or “42” playing to wander into the general store.

Uncle Mort didn’t take long to get a bunch of his FB “friends” sideways. All it took was mentioning the arguments that keep popping up, pro and con, about Daylight Saving Time.

“Sure thought the issue was nailed down, sealed tight; I’m talkin’ permanently in place, when it was voted in,” he challenged, hoping one of his “friends” on line would take the bait. One “Facebooker,” calling himself HolierThanThou, was ready to argue on the Internet. He asked Mort why in the world he thought that.

My Uncle, with Baptist leanings that calmed him and his kin down a bit when the 20s were at “full roar,” silenced the guy with a single phrase: “Once saved, always saved.”

Geezers gathered quickly that day, and with the arrival of the fourth one, the shuffle of dominoes meant the computer would be in sleep mode for a spell


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to newbury@speakerdoc.com. phone 817-447-3872, web site, www.speakerdoc.com.