ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
AND SOME THAT AIN'T
Howdy folks! This here's ol' Pete and Rosebud comin' at you again!
How's the weather where you're at? It's been cold up here in Gump Holler. I've been settin' here by the fireplace readin' a book I got down at the liberry. It's just a reg'lar story book but t'tell the truth I'm a little bothered by it. Not the book, by book readin' in general. I wouldn't be doin' it atall 'cept it's one of my new year's resolutions. I got it the other day when I was down there with Rosebud. It had a pitcher on the front that caught my eye. I took it down and looked at it but it didn't have no pitchers on the inside. Just only writin'. I don't usually like books that ain't got no pitchers in 'em but I figgered it must be okay, judgin' from the one that was on the front.
I've heard tell that you can't tell about a book by the cover, but that ain't so. That's the only way I ever picked a book. I go down the row till I see somethin' that looks like it might be inner-restin'. Why pick out a plain lookin' book when you can get one with a pitcher on it? And this'un ain't too bad a book as far as books go. But it still bothers me some.
Like I said, what bothers me is that I'm settin' up here readin' a book atall. And I'd 'preciate it if you didn't go talkin' it up to nobody. I know, book readin' is for young'uns and that grown men don't read books. Not manly men. Take that Clint Eastwood fellers. You wouldn't a caught him readin' no book. Wouldn't that've been a sight, Clint Eastwood ridin' into town, six gun strapped on his hip and settin' up there on his hoss readin' a book?
Or how 'bout that feller that used to be in them Rambo movies? You wouldn't a caught ol' Rambo humped up readin' a book. Shoot, I'm doubtin' he could read atall. He wouldn't have time to mess with stuff like that, what with all the shootin' he had to take care of. If he took any time off atall, he prob'ly spent it practicin' blowin' up stuff. Either that or somethin' useful like smearin' mud all over hisself so's he could hide.
So what if somebody I didn't know come up here and caught me settin' here readin' this thing? Why, I'd be mortified! I don't know what I'd say. There's just some things a body does in private that he don't want everbody in the county knowin' about. Book readin's one of them things. Yeah, if you're gonna do it atall it's best to keep it quiet.
Sometimes you can get away with it when you're a young'un if you let on like you've got to do it. You know, 'cause your teacher made you. Teachers is bad about makin' young'uns read books. I've used that excuse a time or two. I'd find somethin' that looked like it ort t'be good readin' and I'd start gripin' and complainin' to anybody that'd listen about havin' to waste my time readin' the thing 'cause Miss Sally was gonna give us a test over it. That gen'ly worked purty good. I mean, if your teacher makes you read a book, you can't be blamed for it. But of course that don't work after you get grown and outta school. Miss Sally can't make you do nothin' after you're grown and gone.
'Course all books ain't like that either. Some of 'em is okay to read. Catalogs. Back when they still had Sears 'n Roebuck catalogs you could set and read them all you wanted to and there wouldn't nobody think nothin' about it. You just couldn't get caught lookin' at the pitchers of the half-nekkid wimmin in it. Or, what's worser'n that, lookin' at the kitchen stuff. You know, pots and pans. Or dishes. Curtains. Wimmin-stuff like that. People might laugh at you a little for lookin' at stripped down wimmin, but they wouldn't never let you live it down if they caught you lookin' at sheets and piller cases. Tools is alright, but stay plum away from the wimmin's stuff.
Another thing you can do if you've got a book layin' around is to write somebody else's name in it. Then, if somebody comes around and sees it, you're covered. It ain't yours, see? You don't know nothin' about it. There's one drawback to that, though. Everbody does it. I've been to a lot of places and picked up a book and it had somebody else's name wrote in it. Sometimes there's five or six layin' around and ever one of 'em had a different name wrote in 'em. When you see that, you know what's goin' on 'cause you've done it your own self. They're coverin' up. They're fakin' it and you know they're fakin' it and they know you know.
You still don't say nothin', though. It's kind of a rule that men have about books they find layin' around. You play dumb about it not bein' theirs and they play dumb about the ones layin around at your house not bein' yours. Everbody knows what's goin' on, but there ain't nobody sayin' nothin'.
The best thing is just to stay plum away from 'em 'cause sooner or later you're gonna get caught. You're gonna slip up and say somethin' about what you've been readin' and then the cat's outta the bag. It'll be all over the country before you much more than get it outta your mouth. Then you won't be able to hold your head up in front of people. You'll be like my pore ol' dumb Uncle George that got caught readin' books. I'll have to tell you about ol' George sometime.
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