Library Rambler: When do I take my Christmas lights down?
Editor’s note: Ed Hughes is leaving the area to take a position in Mississippi and will not longer be continuing his regular column. He has agreed to “check in” from time to time with an article as he transitions from Wisconsin to the south.
Over the years, I have given lifesaving answers to urgent questions to men from all walks of life. To help men everywhere steer a course straight and true, I provide answers to the following of life’s most important questions.
Question: My wife complains that I am too moody. What can I do?
Answer: I once went through a phase where all I wanted to do was see the Chicago Bears lose. This was the result of a low intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. My wife started me on a diet that included a jar of pickled herring every week. After several weeks, I felt different. Don’t get me wrong, I still wanted the Bears to lose.
Question: When I go fishing with my brother-in-law, Dennis, he always catches more fish than me. What’s his secret?
Answer: Joy on Wisconsin’s lakes and streams can be ruined by the naturally competitive nature between male anglers. If you want to stick with this strategy, try crowding him on the stream. When in the boat, “accidentally” cross his line on every fifth cast.
Alternatively, check his tackle box for secret weapons. If he is like me, he is putting a sliver of pickled herring on the ends of his spinners. Fish love it and, because my bait is also a snack, I can sometimes skip lunch when the fish are biting. By the way, as long as you’re in his tackle box, steal a few of his cookies.
Question: Are there really Loch Ness monsters in the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage?
Answer: Like Asian carp, some Loch Ness monsters have gotten into our waters. It’s best to cut them free if you snag one.
Question: Some women in my mixed bowling league make my wife mad because they talk to me. I have trouble discouraging them. What can I do?
Answer: You are probably a good bowler, and they want you on their team. Throw a few gutter balls and the problem should solve itself. If that does not work, the onions and bay leaves in pickled herring usually drive people away. Sometimes just the act of eating herring looks revolting.
Question: Does consuming beer repel mosquitoes?
Answer: Researchers are still working on this one. My brother-in-law, Dennis, thinks it does. However, when he drinks beer he is not a very good mosquito swatter. And you have to ask yourself, “Why are they bothering him? He drinks beer.”
Question: Do fish think they are safe when the ice is still too thin to walk on?
Answer: Yes, it is about the only time they get to relax, but you still should stay off the ice. They know they’re safe because you are being safe.
Question: I’m not very good with numbers. Is there a cure?
Answer: When I first met my wife, she asked if I balanced my checkbook. I said I did, but that I always used a pencil with six sides (not the cylindrical pencils). Then I demonstrated how, by laying the pencil flat on the kitchen table, I could lay my checkbook crossways on top the pencil such that, with a little effort, the checkbook balanced on the pencil. I have not had to balance the checkbook since.
Question: When should I take my Christmas lights down?
Answer: Pickled herring is often a holiday treat that lasts long after the egg nog is gone. Be sure to keep it refrigerated. As the months roll on, the liquid at the top of the jar will develop a fuzzy film. I am reasonably sure that it is not good to eat. That is the signal to throw out the herring and take down the Christmas tree lights. Otherwise, shoot for May 15.
Rhinelander District Library director Ed Hughes is available at (715) 365-1070.