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Unhappy Hour

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

by Lee Pitt

People who are country music fans, like me, have no doubt heard the song, “Tequila Makes Her Clothe Fall Off.” Well, my wife doesn’t like tequila, but white wine does make our VISA card run hot.

You know how wives are always complaining their husbands never take them anywhere? Well, for the 40 years I was a road agent, I took my wife places she didn’t even want to go, like the cocktail parties I drug her kicking and screaming to the night before big cattle auctions. 

“Do we really have to go?” she pleads.

“Yes, it’s part of my job, and if I didn’t show up it would hurt the host’s feelings who just spent $3,000 advertising his production sale with me,” I say. 

Usually, these events were harmless, but I also took her to happy hours the night before big cattlemen’s conventions, which were usually sponsored by a big drug company and featured a no-host bar. 

I found these events to be a big bore because alcohol hasn’t touched my lips for over 30 years, and my wife has never been a big drinker either, although she’d have a glass of white wine or two. Such events were also harmless, unless they also featured a silent auction. 

Warning! Danger! The combination of alcohol, an angry wife and a silent auction can put a man in the poorhouse.

I blame the problem on purebred cattle breeders. Has anyone ever taken the time to notice at cocktail parties the men are usually hovering around a purebred breeder who is talking about what bulls a rancher should breed his cows to? His of course.

I found such discussions stimulating because I learned a lot about which bulls were hot and which ones were not. I found the subject of animal breeding very interesting. 

The problem arises because wives would rather have their fingernails ripped off than listen to men talk about expected progeny differences (EPDs), sire summaries and DNA. 

My wife is a really quiet person, and she’s the best listener I’ve ever met. But, even her eyes start to glaze over and roll to the back of her head after listening to 10 minutes of EPDs. I realize this, so I try to turn the subject around to something the wives would be interested in. However, I have no idea what this would be. 

I try to talk about sports and computers thinking this might interest them, but all the men turn the subject back around to pedigrees, rate of gain and loin eye area. This is when things can go terribly wrong for a family’s fortune.

Too late, the men will notice their wives have wandered off, and where do they always go? Stupid question. Where do wives usually go when they’re mad? Of course, they go shopping! 

This is where the silent auction comes in. Wives have somehow figured out how to turn a harmless cocktail hour into a competitive shopping event.

Knowing this in advance, I try to corral my wife the minute she starts meandering towards the silent auction where all the other wives are congregating and taking turns bidding against each other. The reason I quit going to cocktail parties was because I couldn’t keep tabs on my wife 100 percent of the time. 

Realizing too late, she’s escaped the scintillating discussion we menfolk are having, I’ll rush over towards the silent auction. 

“Where have you been?” I ask.

“Oh, I’ve been doing a little shopping,” she says.

“Okay. Did you find anything to buy?” I ask.

“A few things,” she says. 

“I’m tired. Don’t you think we ought to call it a night? You’re the one who didn’t want to come to this party in the first place,” I remind her.

“You go ahead, honey. I’ve got to wait around until 10 when the silent auction closes,” she’ll say.

“So far, how much would you estimate this free cocktail hour is going cost?” I ask. 

She responds, “Thus fars, I bought a four-wheeled wheelbarrow for only $1,200, one night at Motel Six for only $350 and five 100 pound bags of dog food we’ll have to take to our room when the auction closes. And, I’m in an ongoing battle to see who gets the $100 gift certificate to the new restaurant I’ve been wanting to try. I’m ahead, but I’m afraid Gloria is going to up my $700 bid.”

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