The idea for writing this little column every once in a while has been rewarded by comments from friends and new friends all over the county. People whose names I should remember speak across a Wal-Mart aisle with an “I enjoy your column in the Messenger.”
Another enjoyable element that has morphed into being as a result of the fairly-regular writings in the paper is this: Friends watch me walk up as they talk, and one of them will smile and say, “Watch what you say! Gerre will put it in the paper.”
(Just so you know: I try to ask for your permission before mentioning your name in the newspaper.)
Another interesting feature is this: Friends come to me and tell me their own stories (some of which shouldn’t be printed in the newspaper).
A few days ago, Stephen Wren, county court-at-law judge, told me about a conversation in which he participated when he was attending a meeting of the Bridgeport Lions Club. Someone used the phrase, “pretty good” to describe something.
Before the visit was done, everyone agreed that the term could be used in a positive way, in a possibly negative way or to mean “just average.” Stephen and I thought this phrase would spark some conversation with my buds at the coffee shop.
Well, it didn’t spark anything when I brought it up the next day. Things were “pretty” quiet when I tried to direct the discussion toward “pretty good.”
Not long after the “pretty good” non-discussion, I heard two guys discussing business. The first thing I remember hearing was, “If I buy something for $1 and sell it for $2, I’ve made 100 percent profit.”
The other guy responded, “No, in order to make 100 percent profit, you would have to sell the product for more than $2.” He mentioned a percent. Before long, the whole bunch was weighing in on this discussion. Several possibilities exist. Among them are the following:
- There is a difference between “profit” and “profit margin.” I researched on the “internets” and discovered that I am not capable of understanding the difference between the two terms.
- I’m not savvy enough to remember the other possibilities.
This morning, the conversation turned to animals. The story topics included:
- Jerry Mara’s near-death experience during which he was thoroughly beaten up by a rogue bull a year or two ago. He’s had two close calls since then. I think he carries a stick with him now. (I would suggest a gun.)
- Brothers Truitt and Todd Hodges told of a dog with the unfortunate name of Dammit. They swear that was the dog’s real name and tell a colorful story about the way the name came to be.
The Hodges’ dog, a blue-heeler, I think, would attack anything the Hodges’ father, Truitt Sr., deemed worthy. A coyote was a likely target. Todd has vivid memories of being attacked by the dog at the command of their tender-hearted daddy. Todd still cusses a little when he tells the story.
We also talked about those wind farms dotted across our great state of Texas. I drove to Lubbock for a funeral earlier this week and saw plenty of them and wondered about a few things:
- Do those big blades stop turning when the wind’s blowing 60 miles per hour? (Answer: Yes. There is a clutch that stops movement when the wind reaches a certain speed.)
- Are they making any money? (Short answer: Mostly the person on whose land the wind farm is situated.)
- Are they more efficient than solar-generated power? (Short answer: We don’t have an answer. Someone should Google this!)
By the way, if you can explain the difference between profit and profit margin using good old earthy terminology, email me at gerjoiner@gmail, and I’ll report it to the masses.
Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.