Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Miffed matron vs. the world

Maybe I should do a commentary 180 and go for it, big time

Last Sunday, I was laid back in a comfy recliner sipping on a cup of steaming tea awaiting an early Sunday morning kickoff, when our phone nearly blew off the end table initiating an unseemly oath from my freshly parboiled lips.

Normally, I scrutinize the Caller I.D. before answering because I write weekly fishing articles in a piscatorian community and another column with “Unhinged” in the title, so I really want to know who or what is lurking on the other end of the line.

It went something like this.


“Is this Nick?”

“I believe so. Would you like to me double check?”

“Look smart a$&, Why don’t ya cut out the comedy routine and get down to some serious investigative reporting around here? Gasoline prices are set on gouge, general grocery tabs are obscene, it cost almost as much for meat as it does to buy something to cook it with and my bunion correctors just shot up a buck and a half.

So, why aren’t you media dorks doing something about this b(*%#@*)^? Got anything to say in defense of yourself, ya s%^*&$#%#@?”

I stared at the phone for a second and did the only thing appropriate for that kind of challenge to my integrity as an ace reporter. I hung up. The phone immediately began ringing again and this time I let my maniac monitoring device handle the testy caller.

“Hey you +@u^*&^$#!, why’d ya hang up on me? What kinda investigator are ya anyway? I know yur there. Answer the #%^*&!#g phone!”

I picked up the receiver and gently replied, “Excuse me madam, but I’m not an investigative journalist. They get paid in real dollars not the Sunday newspaper’s coupons. Not only that, they know secret grammatical rules and where seismic colons are used. Plus, they can name the three kinds of ellipses. Hint: They are not exercise machines.

I just write deeply researched articles on how to remove rust from treble hooks or the pitfalls of using a Dust Devil to clean gutters or dangle down a wood stove’s flu with a rope to vacuum the interior.”

Note: I actually watched my reprobate bro, W.W., try one of those techniques just once. Things didn’t go well. The device immediately clogged and he would have taken a half gainer off the ladder if he hadn’t been able to snatch the edge of a downspout before reaching terminal velocity. He ended up resembling a clueless primate swinging around up there while asking if we had any beer left.

She sputtered for a few moments and then let loose with a litany of colorful expletives usually associated with accidentally smacking oneself with a blunt object. The outburst was followed by an intense silence, a quaffing noise, dainty burp and then an unseemly shriek along with an uncultured slam of her receiver that nearly blew the touch keys off my porta-phone.

I sat for a moment and contemplated what would make a lady of seasoned citizen status flatline her vocabulary like that. Why yowl at me? It wasn’t my fault people had to choose between filling up their rigs and buying a new stove. In fact, I reached out to several politicians requesting that they take action on the growing cascade of government overreaches. The response, so far has, been the same as a gentleman would get popping two aspirin instead of one of those little blue pills.

Needless to say, the lady still got my attention and I started to ponder if I should take my wordsmithing more seriously and leap into the hard journalism fray that bona fide reporters confront each day.

Maybe I should dial down the whimsical and seriously delve into why an oil change and a tire change-over without rims is becoming more expensive than a month’s worth of heating oil. Or why, when you call around for a price on a new car, they ask if you want one with or without microchips. And, if it’s electric if you want the roof solar panel option or just a really long extension cord.

Maybe I should do a commentary 180 and go for it, big time. May haps peruse and analyze the entire Build Back, At Least Something, Better Bill.

Nah, why should I? Most members of Congress didn’t read it either and probably wouldn’t have understood it if they had. Poor old Diogenes would run out of fuel for his lantern searching D.C. for a wise public figure nowadays.

I think I’ll pass on shooting for a Pulitzer and go back to dealing with people who call with a half a box of Merlot in their system to complain about poultry purloiners or Gmail messages asking if I heard about alien landing near Port Graham.

That sort of info is eclectic cool and but probably drives up my bosses’ Maalox intake when I write about it.

Nick can be reached at if he’s not enjoying a highly iced down tea with his new BFF and sweet critic, Grumpy Granny and her dog, Tank.

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