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July 09, 2013 8:02 am

MY LOUSY WORLD: Finding news and personal memories on the front page

Written by Doug Blough

I’ll say it again: A typical Sunday newspaper is a cornucopia of column nuggets — a guided tour through every aspect of human nature at its best, its worst and its wackiest.

Small wonder I’m addicted and can’t throw away unread issues, even if my carpet is littered with headlines from the Clinton administration. As Aerosmith sings, “… I don’t want to miss a thing.”

A recent Billings Gazette Sunday edition was a bit on the slow side, but I still learned on Page A-6:  “ ‘Cattle Bank’ Takes Deposits that Moo in Africa.” The world’s first ‘cattle bank’ opened in Zimbabwe, where owners bring in their cows as collateral for cash loans.

In the event cattle owners fail to repay, the bank keeps the cows. The article matter-of-factly mentions: “The bank owns several fast-food outlets across the country …”

I don’t like the sound of that. There’s something untoward about it and the collective “gulp” from the cows upon hearing the terms of the transaction. It’s just one more reason I won’t plan my next vacation to Zimbabwe.

Another headline read, “Beagle-Boxer-Basset Wins Ugliest Dog Contest,” with a photo of the Sad Sack-looking hound with the huge head, one ear up and one ear down. I can only hope its owner loves it regardless, just as my parents did when they initially saw I was a far cry from symmetrical perfect.

Still, I think entering me in such a demeaning contest — trophy or not — might have been quite damaging to my frail psyche.

Page D-7 announces, “Most Workers Hate their Jobs.” Well, DUH! God created work to punish Adam for taking the advice of a woman. Punishment wasn’t meant to be pleasant, so naturally, most of us hate our jobs. I do, and I’m self-employed!

In the “Local & State” came this headline: “Inmate Sues Over Eagle Feathers.” Andrew Yellowbear, serving life for beating his 22-month daughter to death, is suing the Fish and Wildlife Service for not sending an adequate amount of eagle feathers for his worship.

Yellowbear pouts, “The damage and religious significance here would be akin to asking a sincere Christian to pray without the Holy Bible.”

Yeah, yeah; blow it out your peace pipe, ya creep. Why should we endure the bored amusement of this baby-killer and his phony religious sensibilities? I’m reminded again why I’m a fervent proponent of the death penalty.

But it was the June 9 Gazette front-page headline that really made me grateful I hadn’t let my subscription lapse: “Local Man Beaten Early Saturday by Group of Youths.” It explains, “A Billings chiropractor was pummeled when he tried to detain several teens he thought were trying to break into his shed.

“The incident happened around 2 a.m. said Dr. Jeff Meier, who …” Whoa; say what?

Is this the same Jeff Meier from Minnesota who stayed at my house 25 years ago while visiting his mother, my fiancée Kathy? Yep, the photo of his battered face confirmed it; even pummeled, he almost looks the same.

I was aware Jeff and his wife Kim were chiropractic partners when several years ago a Gazette article titled, “Billings’ Most Successful 30 Under 30” featured the Meiers’ lucrative practice. While proud of the young man that came dangerously close to being my stepson, I also felt brief, memory pangs. I hadn’t taken the breakup with his mother, who also lives in Billings and is successful in her own right, well.

I detect a pattern: Just after dating me and moving on upon realizing the scope of my crippling fear of commitment, ex-girlfriends hit the success mother lode. I hate to brag, but I’m obviously an invaluable stepping stone.

I remain friends with most of my exes, but in this case, the aftermath was too intense. I waged a relentless win-back campaign for this woman I willfully chased away, right up until the night before her Billings wedding three months after we parted.

I even pathetically wrote 12-year-old Jeff a “recruitment letter” back to Minnesota, where he was raised by his grandparents. I hoped the visit from him, his granny, aunt and her two wild toddlers — as taxing as it was on my bachelor sanity — might reap rewards in derailing his Mom’s irrational wedding plans.

No such outcome, and now here Jeff is a husband, father, ultra-successful and front page pummeled. The article states Jeff refused medical attention even though his face was nearly unrecognizable. That’s one tough chiropractor I darn near raised.

Hopefully, he and Kathy will see this pummeling as an omen, prompting her divorce and return to me.  

Ah, I really should let it go, I guess. Besides, why would I even want her back at this point? I mean, she’d be old!

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