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National Society of Newspaper Columnists
2008 First Place Humor Column
Hogspore News from the Ozarks
By Clet Litter
Strained lumbar leads to discussion
I was talking with Hardy Barkins over to Bickum’s Hardware. I sez, "I hurt my back a
while ago. Doc Spicer speculated that I’d strained my lumbar spine, but I’m doing fine
He said, “I’m glad you’re feeling better. That can pain you for a while. Yeah,
I sprained mine when I was a kid.”
“I never heard about it. Course, you grew up in Texas, so I reckon I don’t know about
you from that time.”
“Yep, I got out of school at 16, and joined the rodeo. That’s where I hurt my lower
I sez, “That’s a might early at 16. Were you gifted?”
Hardy offered, “Naw, my elementary school principal thought it would be best if
I left. I was 16 and still in the fourth grade.”
“Did you make a lotta F’s?”
“Actually, my grades weren’t as high as F’s, and I was much taller and older than
the other kids.”
I sez, “They likely kicked you out cause you mighta started dating some of them young
girls in your class.”
Hardy said, “Nope, it was for my own good. There was a couple of twin lady teachers
that wanted to carry me to their house to tutor me. It probably didn’t help that their
daddy was my principal.”
I asked Hardy, “Do recollect where you injured your lumbar spine? Was it the L-1, L-2,
L-3, L-4, or L-5?”
“It was in Texas, but I think I get what you’re asking. It was L-Paso.”
I woke up this morning hearing a hundred chain saws whining outside. It sounded like
a film crew was shooting a documentary on the dwindling rain forest, clearing land for a
South American convenience store with six flavors of Blurpees or maybe just making
kindling wood for cooking fires. It ain’t no coincidence that dwindling rhymes with
I found out later that we had a tornado run on down through here last night.
There weren’t no injuries, but we lost a lotta trees. It reminded me of Christmas a
few years ago when Grimely’s Tractor Sales and Farm Equipment had a half price sale.
Every adult in town got a gift chain saw.
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