The Smack of Snacks

I have always enjoyed munching on pretzels, at least the kind in the small bags that you buy in gas stations. Brittle, a little salt here and there, you know, like the brand Rold Gold. I thought of them as relatively harmless nutritionally, and except for the saline granules that piled up on your clothing, acceptable in society. All of that came crashing down when a North Dakotan named Dot came up with her version of a gas station pretzel. ‘Twas then that I realized that Rold Gold had been the gateway snack to my newest addiction.

Suddenly I was presented with a pretzel that overloaded my body with salt, that sold at twice the price of the normal variety, and that I couldn’t stop eating. It was the smack of the pretzel world. I know exactly when I became addicted. It was in the summer of 2019, in a dusty little town named Hanksville Utah, when I stopped at a convenience store to use their bathroom. The “pusher” was a kindly middle-aged lady who kept pictures of her grandchildren near the cash register.

I guess the only clue that I might have had to the true nature of the contents of the package I was buying was the rapid shifting of her eyes back and forth as she took my money. At the time I took it for an unfortunate neurologic condition, but looking back she was undoubtedly watching for signs of the local gendarmerie.

So here I am three years later taking blood pressure meds to offset the effects of these dreadful things on my body, tossing the pills in with my left hand while my right hand is dipping in the bag for more. Worse, they now come in three flavors, and last year Hershey’s bought Dot out so they will go national (and therefore unavoidable) before you know it.

All I can hope for now is that my friends will remember me as I was before the fateful day I opened my first bag, and not the drooling degenerate that I have become.


From The New Yorker


As some of you know, I am an observer of highway signs. I think it goes back to childhood when I was smitten by those Burma-Shave signs and their little rhymes. But as I grew older what I most appreciated were the inane ones. Those not meant to be silly, but were.

For instance, at the marina on Lewis and Clark Lake near Yankton SD, there was a breakwater which created a harbor for the boats at anchor. You could drive your car out along the breakwater until near its end you came to a sign that read “Lake Ahead.” To be able to read the sign you had to drive a couple of hundred yards along a narrow berm with water on both sides. I always wondered who could do that without being aware that there was a lake somewhere, but decided that perhaps this sign was necessary in this heavily Republican state with its necessarily high nitwit to normal ratio.

At any rate, on our recent trip to New Mexico, we encountered signs on several occasions as we neared the crest of a hill that read: “Hill Obscures View of Road.” Once again, I found myself wondering … who could be old enough to drive a car who didn’t know that you couldn’t see over a hill until you reached the top? And if you were actually that dim, would a sign like this make up for your shortcomings?

I will file these in the Duh! category. Along with the fine print on the tube of glue in front of me that says Do Not Eat.

Detour, by Spade Cooley


It has occurred to me that liberals are having a bad time of it in recent years. I think that they would benefit from having more places to get together and decompress, to allow the wounds of daily life to heal in sympathetic company. So, why aren’t there campgrounds that unashamedly cater only to them, and are advertised as such?

That way, you could walk around the campground loop and know that everyone you saw felt just as you did about women’s health care, rainforests, and recycling. You could be confident that none of the other campers were QAnonists or Cluckists or any other variety of fascists, and that no one was packing anything more sinister than a water bottle.

Every tree in the area could be clearly labeled “Hug Me,” with instructions posted nearby as to how to do that without damaging the bark. The bathrooms could drop the obsolete designations of “Men” and “Women” and be labeled simply – “Whomever.” There would be a Kumbaya Amphitheater where campfire talks on clean water and child care were the order of every evening.

Now in case you are thinking … wait a minute … what’s with this guy? Is he poking fun at liberals? Guilty as charged. But surely you know that at the present time only liberals are able do that. The modern version of political conservatives seems to have no sense of humor at all, as if it has been completely bred away. What a cheerless lot of bozos they are, and about as much fun to be around as a case of athlete’s foot.

But to get back to the original premise, if on some future day I can get the thing going, you will all be welcome to pull your tent or RV into Camp Namaste, where the divinity in each of us recognizes the divinity in the other.

But no loud chanting after 10:00 P.M.

Kumbaya, by Rhythm Child


A Dick Guindon cartoon


Robin flew off to Sioux Falls on Friday, attending her sister’s sixtieth birthday celebration and very much looking forward to hanging with many of her South Dakota friends. She will be there for about a week, and I have a honey-do list as long as my arm to attend to here at home. A list, however, that I made up for myself.

One of my major problems is that I have a personality that would be perfectly matched to the lifestyle of the idle rich, but without the wealth that makes that possible. I can easily picture myself lolling about a pool tanning my torpid torso and languidly reaching for another pretzel … all the while sipping on an iced tea that was being constantly refreshed by a servant who lacked proper documentation.

So my list is a grudging acceptance of the status quo, and my fervent hope is that by the time Robin returns I will have accomplished at least one of the items on it. But you know how it is in this life … there are no guarantees.


6 thoughts on “The Smack of Snacks

  • Love “Camp Namaste”.

    (Perhaps located not far from my imagined institution, “The Jimi Hendrick Nursing Home” for those aged hipsters needing assisted care).

    At Camp Namaste you can have a dispenser for those pretzels.


  • Hi Jon,

    Hey thanks for Detour by Spade Cooley. It brought back all kinds of memories from childhood roadtrips. We’d sing the chorus with the windows wide open and laugh at the lyrics. And, we knew a lot about Detours.

    Smiling. Caroline


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