THE IDLE AMERICAN Musings at the Mail Box…

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

There was much to chatter about when Uncle Mort reached his mailbox down the lane. A neighbor on the next farm was fetching his mail too, the day was sunny and warm, and their chance meeting suggested that a protracted visit loomed.

  It did. They “prattled” away, each sticking to topics of self-interest.

  Mort wanted to talk about how Dallas Cowboy Quarterback Tony Romo finally got to the Super Bowl (albeit as an announcer), and his friend was ready to share news from the county library. The latter took a part-time job there, fascinated by the job listing’s requirement to “liven up the place.” The librarian thinks too much has been made of the “shhhhhhh thing,” and that most folks really yearn more to chat than to read….


  Unlikely as it seems, his friend began the discourse while Mort was opening the envelope from the Reader’s Digest sweepstakes.

  “I got lucky, Mort,” the neighbor laughed. “The first library visitor asked me if I could direct him to the ‘self-help section.’ I responded, of course, I could–but wouldn’t that be cheating?”

  The new employee said that within the hour, a woman asked where she could find books on paranoia. “They’re right behind you,” Mort’s friend said, doubling up with laughter. Mort interrupted before his friend finished his account about how he helped a 10-year-old boy set a mouse trap behind the handful of books on the shelf about “rodents.”….


  Mort, perhaps suffering from the “travail of the undelivered speech,” had heard enough “library humor.”

  He wanted to tell his friend that Romo passed what Mort called the “acid test” of a sports analyst–“making a game sound interesting when it ain’t.”

  Contending that he tired of watching The Super Bowl, a “bone-crushing defensive contest most of the way,” Mort tossed a quilt over the screen. He wanted to evaluate Romo’s verbal description of the goings-on that many fans had paid thousands of dollars to witness….


  “They bragged about cheap concessions, and that $5 would buy a hot dog and soda. When fans pay huge sums to get in, what difference does it make what snacks cost?”

  Anyway, Mort concluded that Romo is indeed gifted at the microphone, and is perhaps destined to be remembered for his description of games far more than his quarterbacking.

  Mort said he thinks there’s a fair chance all of those Denver plumbers who invested thousands of bucks in Tony Romo bobbleheads may come out okay on the boondoggle if they don’t mind keeping them in storage for a few years….


  My uncle–staring down the barrel of birthday number 107 on July 4–admits that he may remember the details wrong, or maybe it was a dream or maybe (perish the thought) one of his “made-up” stories.


  Mort dredged up two-year-old details when rumors erupted that Romo might forego retirement in favor of playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos….


  A bunch of plumbers there “went nuts” at the prospect, and immediately bought a section of season tickets, printed Romo t-shirts, and ordered several thousand bobblehead dolls.

  When Romo chose broadcasting, the plumbers were able to cancel season ticket orders, and they could wear the Romo shirts. But what about the dolls? Most of all, the plumbers were sad that they didn’t get to unveil their “game name,” which, as might be guessed was this: “Romo Rooters.”

   As I’ve stated here many times, Mort believes himself to be a conversational genius. Give him a straw, and he’ll make a broom. As they left the mailboxes, Mort’s friend said he has a bunch of those 50-cent “forever stamps” left, and wonders if he can add a nickel stamp to them for the new 55-cent rate “so they won’t go to waste.” I’ll leave it to my Uncle Mort and his neighbor to “duke it out” about the use of “forever stamps.”…


  Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” roundabout. Comments/inquiries to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.