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March 20, 2005

A Fate Worse Than Death and Slots

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

A huge glass of cold milk with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is my idea of a gourmet lunch. The thicker the goobers are spread, the better. Desert or snacks consist of warm chocolate chip cookies with the morsels barely melted with an almost ice temperature serving of cow juice. No after dinner treat can beat this concoction and I don't care if it does come out of a five star French restaurant.

The cramps started around the first of the year then the gas. I don't mean minor waves; bent over pain had me on the floor. The flatulence could power a 767. I figured it was a case of the intestinal flu.

Purchasing the drug store remedies, I managed to control everything for about a week. Then, the symptoms started up again. By this time, I had become sociably unacceptable and my friends, ditching the politeness, told me in no uncertain terms the relationship would be terminated unless something was done. Doctor time!

I made the appointment and after listening, poking and probing he told me to quit consuming milk. This was like asking me to stop guzzling beer during my drinking days.

Tears flooded my eyes! “No, doc, please no!” I implored. He would not waver.

Sure enough, after 24 hours, the symptoms cleared up and I was normal again except for the severe depression and milk withdrawal problems.

Mom said it was just a coincidence. Nobody in her family had a problem with milk and ditto on Dad’s side. Okay, I ate a piece of cheese and sure enough, “double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble” (Macbeth-act somewhere, scene someplace, I really know it’s there…Maybe in Robin Hood) the symptoms returned with a vengeance.

I went to the grocery store looking for milk alternatives. I vaguely remember they had something called soy milk. I had been very familiar with the soy bean having lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The plant, cultivated everywhere, feeds the voracious chicken industry for Frank Perdue and I could not imagine anything as delicious as milk coming from a bean. I was right.

After tasting of this vile chalk colored substitute, I was convinced it was used as an expectorate for poisoning. I couldn't believe anyone willingly drank the stuff. I went back to look again and discovered they had different flavors, so I tried the vanilla. It was better, but not like the real thing. It was similar to switching from real beer – no kiss of the hops, or horses, or pretty girls, just hard harsh beer – to lite.

Dear readers, Bessie and Belvedere are two good bovine friends who reside in a pasture in Middletown, Maryland. Bessie wears a straw hat with a flower while her husband, Belvedere, sports a bowler and bow tie. They have been in previous adventures but not on the Internet.

I walked down to the fence. “Hi Guys!” “Hay, Tom,” they both mumbled, chewing their cud. I related the bad news about my health.

“Gas, huh? You should have been in Annapolis during the slots debate. Same thing,” mooed Belvedere. “Did you read where Frederick County is one of the locations for slots,” he asked.

“I wonder how that happened” grunted Bessie.” Here you have a conservative anti-slot delegation to the legislature, and the area winds up with a proposed parlor” she stated in wonder.

“Shows how much power they have,” intoned Belvedere with a swish of his tail. “Something smells worse than the muck from the stalls.” They shook their heads sadly.

“I agree” I said, as my good friends ambled to the center of the field.

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