Sow’s Ear: No escaping the DUH’s
April 14, 2006
by Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.
A DUH attack is like suffering from a virus or a bad rash or maybe just an eruption of stupidity. Whatever the case, there are days when one’s zodiac is out of whack. A pestilential bug follows in your footsteps, hovers above your head, permeates the air you breathe. It interferes with your chores and makes you do dumb things.
Yesterday was a double-DUH day. You might say it was a DUH plague day starting with the horrible discovery that the well had gone dry. The local well-driller responded to my panicky call, looked at the situation and fixed it merely by shutting down the handle on the well-head. I must have failed to push it down completely to off position after filling the watering tank where the calves come to drink. DUH. Later I saw a calf drinking from the tank, then I observed him rubbing his neck on the pump handle ” up and down, up and down, gradually forcing it to the open position. DUH.
Having solved the pump problem by tying down the handle, I focused on my next chore. I drove the tractor to the cow pasture, which also contains four yearling colts who behave like friendly puppies. Problem: how does one get off the tractor, open the gate, spook the horses away, return to the tractor and drive through before the sociable colts surround you nuzzling, sniffing and getting in the way. I felt like a celebrity with a following. Opening the gate (one of those wire-filled metal kind) the bare width of the tractor, I eased through, put the tractor in neutral, leaped off (make that descended slowly and clumsily), hobbled to gate, closed it and returned to the tractor ” which was now surrounded by four yearlings who apparently wished to drive it. Struggling past the ponies, I labored aboard and put the machine in gear.
Habits can trip you up. First gear on my truck is up to the left. On the tractor, reverse gear is up to the left. With the colts now nibbling on me, as well as the tractor, I tromped on the clutch, put ‘er in gear, yanked the throttle and reversed through the wire gate which folded back on itself like a paper airplane. DUH.
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You can’t escape an outbreak of the DUH’s. In town, I mailed a missive to pay a bill that had one of those deadlines where you get charged the price of a pair of shoes if it doesn’t arrive at the destination by due date. Next day I found it back in my box. I’d failed to put a stamp on it. DUH.
Once again at home, I figured I’d had my quota of DUH’s for the day. I got on the four-wheeler, drove to the horse corral and discovered I’d failed to fasten the chain on the gate opening from the horse corral into the hay barn. DUH. The blasted equines had stirred the barn’s contents, ripped the lids off all containers, left calling piles, broke a storage tub, knocked the cats’ food dishes off the stack, and, of course, had munched and pawed and ruined half a dozen haybales.
I wouldn’t have wanted to see my blood-pressure reading right then, but I remained calm and picked up, returned, retrieved and fixed what I could. I made sure locks and chains were fastened on all gates and double-checked twice.
What a day. Oh, well. Surely nothing else could happen. I enjoyed the view of the river and the songs of the birds as I put-putted toward the house, a quarter mile away. That’s when I ran out of gas. DUH.
Oh, well, I’d just walk to the house and fetch back the extra can of gas. Then I remembered, I’d put all the spare gasoline into the tractor. DUH.