The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

Due to my increasing age—and a direct inverse relationship between my age and my memory—I’ve decided to do something about living forever before I forget about it.

I wish that I had asked more older people what might have helped them live longer. There might have been some tips there that would have helped me. Mostly, the people of whom I wanted to ask the questions are gone now, so it’s too late.

They were old. I was young. Who knew?

I called up Grandpa Yurho. When I asked his wife if I could talk to him, she said: “Oh, you mean Spud?” If, I replied, Spud and Grandpa are the same, then, yes, I’d like to talk to him.

“Where’d you get the name Spud all of a sudden,” I asked him once I had him on the phone. It took several minutes to get him to the phone, so I figured he was out in his shop tinkering on something. 

“After I put together a potato gun that would shoot a spud a half a mile, I guess,” he replied. He added: “Unless of course there was a house wall in the way, in which case I found out it will only go about fifty feet.”

“What? You’re building spud guns now?” Ain’t Grandpa Yurho a wonder? And he’s eighty-some years old, so I guess there’s a little time left for me to get tips about living forever.

He went on to tell me how he’d worked his way up to the gun he has now by starting with PVC plastic pipe and hair spray for ammunition. He told how the PVC took to blowing up once he graduated from hair spray to gunpowder. Then he told me how, despite the fact that he lives a half a mile from town, the city policemen–he called them “The Fuzz”– laid a restraining order on him about shooting his cannons at the water tower.

“I wasn’t going to hit it,” he claimed. Just used it for an aiming point, was all.

“Hell,” he said, “terrorists are giving us guys a bad name.” Aren’t they, I thought to myself.

“Listen,” I asked him, “I need some pointers on living forever, and since you’re well on your way, maybe you could give me some?” In the background, I could hear babies crying. Grandpa’s on his third wife, and third set of children. Apparently his spud gun isn’t the only thing that’s going off.

“Well,” he said after thinking a minute, “you can make sure you don’t step out in front of any buses or trucks, stuff like that. That would help, you know.” In the background, I could hear him telling his wife to rub the upset baby’s gums with rum to ease teething problems. “Give some to the other three kids, too,” he said, “while you’re at it.”

“ And bring me a glass full, since you’re up.”

“What else?”

“You want to study up on it some, like I been doing,” he said, “then you know the latest scientific research on what to do, which is drink beer and rum. Oh, and coffee.”

He added: “Cranberry-flavored gin martinis? You’ve heard about that, right?”

I said, yes, I guess so. (Not really. Not at least as far as helping one grow older.)

“It’s a sure remedy for gout. Most people don’t know that,” he stated.

Then he went on about how he’d figured out that most species were originally intended to live only long enough to reproduce. 

“So,” he said, “I figure I’ll just keep reproducing.” He giggled and said, “That’ll confuse the DNA that’s in charge, and should buy me an extra fifty years.”

Drinking. He’ll need it. I could hear at least two infants squalling. Then I heard kissing sounds.

He said: “Also, you have to keep busy. I gotta go. Bye.” His wife came on the phone.

“Where’s he going in such a hurry,” I asked her.

“He’s headed for the bedroom. I gotta go. Bye.”

Well. I guess I could build a spud gun.

Make a crantini or two.