Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

Back to: Columnists
December 1, 2012
Follow Columnists

Gwen Petersen: In a Sow's Ear 12-3-12


Remember Debbie Downer from Saturday Night Live? Not having television, I had no first-hand knowledge of Debbie. Thanks to the Internet, I am now aware of her. Think about it — we’ve all known characters like Debbie.

As polar opposites to the Debbie Downers of the world are the Harriet Helpers. Those are personalities who drive you nuts by being “helpful.” Every thought, word and deed you express around Harriet Helper is confiscated, taken over and executed for you. (After HH’s pronouncements, a piccolo chirrups).

I’m in the midst of writing a script for the annual Toot, Snoot, ’n Hoot Chili Contest and Wild and Woolly and Full of Fleas comedy show. In it will be Debbie Downer skits from a cowboy/cowgirl perspective. Plus Harriet Helper skits, also from cowboy/cowgirl standpoint.

Debbie has her own theme song (which you can listen to online). I’ve penned a similar ditty for Harriet.

Debbie Downer lyrics:

You’re enjoying your day

Everything’s going your way

Then along comes Debbie Downer

Always there to tell you "bout a new disease

A car accident or killer bees.

You’ll beg her to spare you, “Debbie, Please!”

But you can’t stop Debbie Downer!

Harriet Helper lyrics:

You’re enjoying your day

Everything’s going your way

Then along comes Harriet Helper

Always there to assist every thought and deed

Disregarding that you have no need.

You’ll beg her to spare you, “Harriet, Please!”

But you can’t stop Harriet Helper!

Imagine Cowboy Jake and Cowgirl Jane plus Cowboy Wade and Cowgirl Wanda seated at a table along with Debbie Downer. They are holding a conversation about the price of livestock.

Cowboy Jake: “Hey, I got a heckuva good price for my calves this year.”

Cowgirl Jane: “Oh, that’s terrific. Maybe we can take a trip!”

Debbie Downer: “It’s a good thing you got a nice price this fall because buffalo
are spreading brucellosis among cattle
and you probably won’t have a crop next spring. All your cows will abort.” Horn: wah-wah-wahhh ...

Cowboy Wade: “Taking a trip? That’s a good idea! We sold our lambs and got a hefty check.”

Cowgirl Wanda: “Let’s all go together. Maybe to the Florida Keys where we can fish and swim and ...”

Debbie Downer: “Well, it’d be fun alright, but count me out. I read where sharks have killed six people and the fish have mercury levels so high, you daren’t eat any.” Horn: Wah-wah-wahhh ...

Now imagine same scene, same cowboys and cowgirls at the table along with
Harriet Helper. They are holding the
same conversation about the price of
cattle and sheep.

Cowboy Jake: “Hey, I got a heckuva good price for my calves this year.”

Cowgirl Jane: “Oh, super! Maybe we can take a trip!”

Harriet Helper: “My goodness, that would be so wonderful. You could all get a nice tan. Do you want me to look up airline tickets for you? I don’t mind. Really, it’s no trouble. I’m happy to do it.” Background piccolo chirrups: tweet tweet tweet ....

Cowboy Wade: “Yeah, a trip’s a nifty idea. We sold our lambs and got a plumb hefty check!”

Cowgirl Wanda: “Let’s all go together. Maybe to the Florida Keys where we can fish and swim and ...”

Harriet Helper: “Wonderful! Wanda would you like to borrow my swimsuit? I haven’t worn it. It’s brand new. Oh, no, I don’t mind at all.” Background piccolo chirrups: tweet tweet tweet ...

So which would be easier to take — Debbie Downer or Harriet Helper? It’s a toss-up. Debbie Downer makes a person want to smack her and get out of her company. However, being around Harriet Helper makes a person want to smack her, get away from her AND makes one feel guilty — like smacking an over-friendly puppy dog.

As an experiment: Put Debbie Downer and Harriet Helper on a desert island together. Whose behavior, attitude and social skills would undergo change, improvement or alter in any way? Talk about a reality show! ❖

Put Debbie Downer and Harriet Helper on a desert island together. Whose behavior, attitude and social skills would undergo change, improvement or alter in any way? Talk about a reality show!




Stories you may be interested in

The Fence Post Updated Dec 1, 2012 04:10AM Published Dec 3, 2012 09:54AM Copyright 2012 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.