ERROL CASTENS: Chip and Chuck provide a punishing experience



Chip was on his roof, putting up a new layer of shingles. I was safely on the ground, picking up the occasional dropped nail and standing by in case a 911 call might be needed.

“Populate,” he said loudly.

I was befuddled until I heard steps, turned around and saw Chip’s father, Chuck, who’d promised to be there an hour before to help.

Chuck set up a second ladder and worked the other way from the garage corner. They immediately started trading their trademark puns, and I, a mere good Samaritan trying to offer moral support, was trapped.

“What do you say when Monica tells a joke?” Chip asked.

“Harmonica,” Chuck answered deftly before issuing his own challenge: “What would we be if we had a president named Harold and a first lady named Lucille?”

I supposed we would be in a parallel universe stuck in the 1920s, but Chip answered, “A Hal-Lucy Nation.”

Chuck hadn’t much more than just toted a bundle of shingles up the ladder when a commercial for a lottery came across the radio.

Chuck listened, then clucked, “A lottery ticket is fool proof.”

Given he’d always called gambling “a stupid tax” before, I looked dumbfounded, so Chuck helped me out: “Fool proof: proof of a fool.”


Chip said he’d been thinking how ironic it would have been, back in the day, if some Klansman igniting a religious symbol on someone’s yard had found his own costume aflame.

“Talk about getting caught in the crossfire,” he said.

As Chuck and Chip pounded nails – including, occasionally, those on their left thumbs – I tried to change the conversation to politics by musing on the national debt and wondering whose formula would best reduce the problem.

“One thing’s for sure,” Chuck said. “We shouldn’t use Grecian Formula.”

Nan drove up about that time, just home from a hairdressers’ convention in Denver. Chip hustled down the ladder to hug her.

After they had embraced and she’d said hello to Chuck and me, Nan announced that she’d come across a novel recipe in the Rocky Mountain State.

“It’s what we all know as banana pudding, right down to the vanilla wafers,” she said. “Out in Colorado, since they’ve legalized marijuana, it’s a favorite for stoners with the munchies.”

We waited for it.

“Out there, they call it ‘pot pie,’” she said.

Nan wasn’t the only one in our quartet who’d taken a little trip lately. She asked Chuck about his visit to the school down the road last week, where he’d gone to look into buying some new dairy goat bloodlines.

Chuck said he was offered a bit of a tour there and saw a steer with a permanent opening in its side so students in livestock-oriented majors can watch its four bovine stomachs at work.

“The students have labeled it ‘Graze Anatomy,’” he deadpanned. “I just thought it was awful offal.”

Contact Daily Journal reporter Errol Castens at or (662) 816-1282.

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  • Kevin

    Nostalgically reminiscing about your days as a Klansman, eh Errol?

    • clevelandgator

      Dang it Kevin, get back to school and quit bothering people with jobs.

  • barney fife

    She said ” pot pies ” heh, heh heh, heh
    Reform our marijuana laws!