Login   Sign Up 



by Colonist 

Posted: 12 July 2004
Word Count: 1419
Summary: Two humor (hopefully) columns I'm preparing for the Denver Post (Denver, Colorado, USA).

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Apocalypse Cow
By Del Shannon

My mother called me last Saturday and when I picked up the receiver she blurted, “Del, the dairy farmers are trying to take over the world.”

For just a second I imagined a herd of farmers in coveralls riding big Jerseys through Larimer Square. Sitting high on their bovines they yelled, “We have not yet begun to milk.”

“What?” was all I could manage to say, as my mental dairy farmers were overrun by another vision of tofu fighters from Boulder.

“The dairy farmers are trying to take over the world,” she repeated, not trying to dilute her opinion with the luxury of sensible thought.

This time I managed a “Why?”

“Antibiotics,” she answered.

Most people probably would have hung up at this point, even if their mother were on the other end of the line, but not me. My curiosity had just been punched in the nose, and punched hard. “Of course,” I answered. “Because the diary farmers don’t like antibiotics and they’re going to…” my voice trailed off as I failed to make the next leap of logic.

“You’re not following, are you?” Her words rifled out of the phone at me with deadly precision. During the following pause and sigh I thought I heard her mumble, “Strong back. Weak mind.”

“No, I’m sorry,” I squeaked.

“It’s very simple,” she said slower this time, as if I had some disorder that prevented me from understanding quickly spoken, maniacal theories. “Antibiotics kill bacteria, right?”

I paused as I wondered if this was a rhetorical question or not.

“Right?” she repeated, answering my wonder immediately.

“Right,” I quickly barked. “Antibiotics kill bacteria. Always have. Always will.”

“And they don’t differentiate between the kinds of bacteria they kill. They just lay waste to the whole spectrum, right?”

“Right!” I barked again, almost in unison with her. Gaining momentum I continued my agreement. “Antibiotics are bad! They kill innocent bacteria. It’s bactericide.”

“Stay with me on this. I’m trying to be serious,” she sighed.

I mumbled another apology.

She got back on track. “So, if you get pink eye, and the doctor prescribes antibiotics, and all the good bacteria in your stomach get decimated as well, what do you do?”

“I don’t know?” I answered quickly.

“You have to drink acidophilus milk!” she announced with a dramatic exclamation.

I can’t say it all “clicked” at that point but I began to see a shadow of what she was talking about. “So you think the dairy farmers are trying to make acidophilus addicts out of us by funding rogue antibiotic research?”

“You’re my son and I love you, but you can be so naïve sometimes,” she said with another sigh. “I don’t have any proof – yet – but I think the dairy farmers aren’t doing anything to stop the creation of ever stronger antibiotics. And the good bacteria in our stomachs will continue to suffer to the point that one day we’ll become completely reliant on acidophilus milk for our very existence.”

“But why would they try and stop antibiotic research?” I mildly protested. “They’re dairy farmers. They worry about cheese and milk and butter and yogurt and cows. They seem like such nice people every time you see one on television. And can’t you buy acidophilus pills at the store?”

“And who do you think owns the company that makes the acidophilus pills? Those same dairy farmers,” she said lowly.

At this point I gave up and cut to the quick. “So, why are you telling me this?” I asked.

“I need a name for this disaster. You’re a writer. You’ve always been good at coming up with pithy statements. What do you think?”

“How about Apocalypse Cow,” I blurted without even thinking.

“Perfect!” she yelled, which was followed immediately by the click of her hanging up the phone.

“Great,” I mumbled to myself as I replaced my own phone it its cradle. “Now I’ve got this on my conscience too.”

End Apocalypse Cow

Battle of the Naked Zydeco Bands
By Del Shannon

As we pulled into the nudist camp parking lot Beth, my wife, said, “Just because we're going to nudist camp doesn't mean you have to get naked.” One of these days I've got to figure out exactly how she gets inside my head.

“Okay, okay,” I mumbled.

“We're here to see John and Maureen's Zydeco band. They begged and we promised, but that's it. No sympathetic naked participation”

“How do you come up with the idea to start a naked Zydeco band?” I asked, changing the subject as we walked toward the entrance.

“How do you do anything naked?” Beth answered as we walked. “Wait, don't answer that.” How does she do that?

“I will tell you that's the last time I have four margarita's at any dinner they're at,” she grumbled.

The dance hall wasn't difficult to find. Indiscernibly blaring music pouring from a large white building told us exactly where to go. I could tell Beth was getting queasy with the whole naked thing.

“What if someone gets,” she paused for the right word, “interested, in someone else tonight,” she asked as we walked into the building.

“No chance anyone's going to get ‘interested’ in that group,” I said, nodding at a group of people to our left in desperate need of clothing.

I'm not sure what I expected to see, this being my first time at a naked zydeco band competition. But I can tell you I didn't expect to see our friends, John and Maureen, jumping around, naked, on the stage playing Louisiana swamp music. Maureen had warned me about the custom washboard she used, the one with two cutouts conveniently placed in it's front. But I still wasn't ready for the actual sight of…them.

She was scratching the front of the washboard (scritcha-scratcha, scitcha-scratcha) while her two “accompanists” thwacked away on the offbeat. Scritcha-scratcha, thwacka-thwacka. Scritcha-scratcha, thwacka-thwacka. John was sucking away on a harmonica but, while he wore a big smile, his body language suggested he was very uninterested.

Beth was wide eyed at the whole scene and I could tell she was becoming a little too fixated on John. “He's probably just a little nervous, or cold,” I offered in defense of the every male on the planet. “It's no big deal,” I continued, instantly regretting my choice of words.

Then the song ended and we realized we were standing in the middle of the room staring slack jawed at the stage. We scurried to an empty table, joined my John and Maureen a minute later.

“You two been here long?” John asked as they sat next to us.

“Just got here,” I said, locking my eyes on their faces. “Sorry we're late. Sitter,” I offered with a shrug.

“That's okay, you caught our big finale,” Maureen said with a giggle. “I'm sure we'll win the Battle of Naked Zydeco Bands if we can just beat this next act – Jim’s Big Band.”

As if cued, Jim strode onto the stage with his band. Like Maureen, he sported a washboard but, instead of cutouts, a small cymbal hung from the bottom. Jim's Big Band jumped immediately into what sounded like a Zydeco standard Jim jumping around scritcha-scratching away.
After several songs I was sold by Maureen’s thwacka-thwacka. That is until Jim started using his cymbal. In the middle of their last song, like a bolt from the blue, Jim gave a little oomph from downtown and clanged his cymbal on the offbeat. The place went nuts. Scritcha-scratcha, clang. Scritcha-scratcha, clang.

“Maybe you should start playing the washboard?” Maureen groaned to John. But then, after a long pause, and a discrete look, she sighed. “Or maybe not.”

Beth and I stayed for the awards ceremony and cheered thunderously for John and Maureen's second place trophy. It wasn't until the ride home when Beth finally came clean. “You know, I think the Simon's have one of those old washboards.”

“No!” I barked.

“And I’ll bet I scrounge up a cymbal,” she continued.

“There will be no cymbal playing with parts of the body that shouldn't be playing the cymbal,” I said vigorously.

“You're such a weenie,” she said with a smile.

“Okay, that's not fair,” I said. “Yes, I'm a weenie, but not in the way you're thinking.” She called me a weenie the rest of the way home while I secretly thanked the almighty I was, indeed, a world-class weenie.

End Battle of the Naked Zydeco Bands

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

eyeball at 19:01 on 12 July 2004  Report this post
Naked Zydeco ~ scary. Actually I have a little video on my PC, sent to me by a lunatic collegue, which is very much along these lines. Will share with anyone who's interested.;)

Like that one, Del. Only one little quibble: maybe too many repetitions of weenie in the last few lines. Sharon

Becca at 19:59 on 12 July 2004  Report this post
I read the first story when you uploaded it somewhere else and laughed out loud more than once, particularly at 'Strong back. Weak mind.' It seemed like a real relationship between a son and a loved but tiresome mother.

In the Zydeco story I couldn't quite get the visuals, so I think there were references I missed. I do know Zydeco music though. I liked the use of 'weenie' more than once at the end.

Colonist at 20:32 on 12 July 2004  Report this post
Sharon & Becca,

Thanks for the read (and re-read). I'll mull the 'weenie' reference at the end and see what works best. My editor will have the final say though, and may just cut it out. We Yanks are far more prudish than the rest of the world (with the exception of a few Arab countries) so I'll be curious to see how a large newspaper handles the topic of nudism. And Becca, you've confirmed one of my fears about writing a piece like this for a wholesome newspaper like the Denver Post. How do you describe a penis without calling it a penis? I could default to romance novel stuff and say "manhood," but even that would probably be viewed as dirty over here. Similarly, how do you describe bare breasts in a similar manner.

I used words like "downtown" and "accompanists" to describe them here. You see, we're still collectively recovering from the shock of seeing Janet Jackson's pastie during the Super Bowl.

As a total random aside, a Nick Drake tune just popped onto the online music station I'm listening to and just blew me away. I haven't heard a Nick Drake song in years.

And Sharon, absolutlely send me the video. I'll send you a WW mail message with my personal email address. But you'll have to promise not to sell it to spammers.

Thanks again!


Becca at 07:07 on 13 July 2004  Report this post
Del, a pastie? Did it have a sell by date?

Colonist at 15:43 on 13 July 2004  Report this post
What? They don't call them pasties in the UK? What do they call them? Little thingies that cover nipples?

Did get me laughing, though. A sell by date... Come to think of it, knowing American's, I'll bet it does have a sell by date. I'll bet her boob biodegrades after so many hours in the open air.

Thanks for the chuckle!


Becca at 19:28 on 13 July 2004  Report this post
I can't think of anything that covers nipples, are we from a different planet?

Colonist at 20:05 on 13 July 2004  Report this post
It's quite possible. But, more likely, we're from different cultures. I'll give you a long winded explanation of where I'm coming from.

Here in the US, some states have what are called "Blue" laws and regulate the more dubious enterprises of our citizens (e.g. liquor licenses, prostitution, strip clubs, cigarette sales, gambling, etc.). For instance, I can't buy an automobile or liquor in Colorado on Sunday because the state feels I should be thinking about God instead. Silly? Of course, but that's the way it is. I've learned to stock up on Saturday night. Another example, sodomy is illegal in Texas and gay couples have been prosecuted for this offense.

Other states have dictated that women in strip clubs can't be completely nude when performing. The way strip clubs get around this is with something called a pastie, which is the tiniest piece of clothing you can imagine and large enough to just cover a woman's nipple. It's called a pastie because you "paste" it on with an adhesive. Sounds painful to me.

I'd thought most people had heard of the Super Bowl troubles with Janet Jackson and her pastie. During the halftime show, Justin Timberlake tore off Janet's blouse, revealing one of her breasts and a pastie covering her nipple. CBS - the television network broadcasting the show - will probably be fined $750,000 for the incident.

Maybe you're just joking around with me and already know this, so please excuse my tome length reply. But I didn't want you to think I'm completely nuts.

Thanks again for the chuckle.


Becca at 20:14 on 13 July 2004  Report this post
Del, we should be doing this in the lounge. I'll join you there.

Colonist at 20:26 on 13 July 2004  Report this post
Sorry. Where's the lounge? Is this another term for WW mail?


Becca at 20:39 on 13 July 2004  Report this post
Del, go to the forums, there's a lounge forum, with cushions.

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .