Gwen Peterson: Old cowboys commiserate on aging
Those two cranky old cowboy geezers are at it again. Often, Jake and Jerome sit on the porch, especially in the heat of summer and discussing the vicissitudes of life. On this particular evening, they got to commiserating about how they were getting on in years.
“We done got old,” said Jerome and heaved a sigh.
“Yep,” agreed Jake, “Older’n dirt.”
“Ain’t much we kin do about it,” said Jerome with another sigh.
“Well, I hear there’s a new doc in town. One of them specialists in what they call geriatrics.”
“Not a who, it’s a what. Geriatrics—it’s a special degree in how to measure old age.”
“No kiddin’? How does that work?”
“Not real sure, but maybe we should try out this new doc.”
Forthwith, Jake and Jerome made an appointment to visit the geriatrics doctor whose office was in the fancy new hospital. They went together. As Jake observed: “Kinda like ridin’ buckin’ stock, ya gotta have a partner who’ll watch your back, make sure your riggin’ is solid.”
At the hospital, a receptionist typed their ages, weights and blood pressure into a computer, then advised them to take a seat in the waiting room. They did as they were told.
Very soon, a spiffy smiling nurse beckoned and led them through a door and down a cavernous hall and into a holding cell. She invited them to have a seat. They did. Smiling Nurse, holding a clipboard, informed Jake and Jerome that she would ask questions and note their answers.
“You gonna tally our answers? Okay, shoot,” said Jake.
Nurse: “Can you remember these three words: Tree, ball, flag?”
“Tree, ball, flag? Don’t make much sense,” said Jerome.
Nurse made a mark on her tally sheet, then asked, “Can you spell world backwards?”
“Backwards? What for?”
“I’ll take that one. I’m a better speller than you,” Jake declared… D,L,R,O, W. Seems purty silly way to spell.”
Nurse (making a tic mark on her tally sheet), “What is today’s date, month and year?”
Jerome advised, “Ya oughta know that, ma’am, but I’ll be glad to help ya out.” He rattled off the information.
Nurse wielded her pen again on the clipboard, then asked, “What season of the year is it right now?”
“Ma’am,” said Jake, “this here silly questions stuff is gittin’ purty irritatin’. Look outside. It’s 90 degrees in the shade out there. That don’t exactly make it winter.”
Nurse, ignoring Jake, turned to Jerome: “Subtract the number 7 from 49 down to 0. Take your time.”
Jerome: “Now we gotta do arithmetic?! Sorry, I ain’t gonna do that.”
Nurse, making still another tic on her tally sheet, “What is the name of this health facility?”
Jerome: “This here facility?” Jerome’s voice took on an edge. “Ma’am this here’s the hospital.”
Nurse: “No, this is the Health Care Center.”
Jerome: “The heck you beller. Well, you kin call it whatever ya want. I call it a hospital.”
Nurse made another tic on the tally sheet. Then she handed Jake a blank piece of paper. “Please write a complete sentence.”
Jake and Jerome exchanged astonished looks.
“Write a sentence? What for?” asked Jerome.
“Yeah, what for?” echoed Jake. “We got outta high school a long time back.”
Nurse, firmly: “Please write a complete sentence on the paper.”
“Okay,” said Jerome. He wrote rapidly, handed the paper to the Nurse and got to his feet. “C’mon Jake. We’re gittin’ the heck outta here.”
In the truck on the way home, Jake inquired, “So what sentence did you write on that paper for that bossy nurse?”
“Well,” he drawled, “I wrote: May the bird of paradise fly up your nose.”
“Well,” Jake said, “I gotta admit, it was a complete sentence. Hey, we’re almost to the Dirty Shame Saloon. Whaddya say we stop for a beer and a burger?”
“You betcha,” Jerome said. “Best question I’ve heard all day.” ❖