Not everyone is a fan of social media

Published 6:02 pm Thursday, April 12, 2018

could tell by the way the telephone rang that Skeeter Skates was calling. The phone sort of jumps and jangles when he calls. He can be a pretty intimidating guy, even to a telephone.

Skeeter is the owner of Skeeter Skates Plow Repair and Stump Removal in Ryo, Georgia. I don’t know many folks in the plow repair and stump removal business besides Skeeter, but if they are anything like him, it is a no-nonsense crowd that doesn’t waste a lot of time with pleasantries.

“Hoss,” Skeeter barked when I picked up the phone, “the plow repair and stump removal profession” — Skeeter considers his work a profession, like doctors and lawyers and belly dancers — “is hard enough without you going and messing things up.”

Before I could ask Skeeter to clarify what he meant, he proceeded to tell me. “You remember I talked to you last year about maintaining my position as an industry leader in the plow repair and stump removal industry and you suggested that I get on Facepaint and Twerp?” Actually, I think what we talked about were Facebook and Twitter, but this wasn’t the time to bring that up.

“Well, somebody told me that the Russians get on Facepaint and cook up all kinds of mischief. I’m worried that, given my high profile in the profession, they might make me a target and say my plow blades ain’t sharp enough or I don’t get all the roots when I take out an eastern cottonwood tree stump. Folks in Ryo would know that ain’t true. But most of your readers might just fall for that stuff.”

I haven’t done a reader survey in several years, but I am pretty sure plow repair and stump removal aren’t all that high on your list of concerns. A reading of my mail says you are more concerned getting hosed by the Legislature than what Vladimir Putin thinks of tree stumps.

“Besides,” Skeeter asserts, “about all I see on Facepaint is somebody bragging about some fancy-schmancy place where they ate dinner or went off and visited Kansas or something. Maybe it is just me, but I think understanding the workings of a Groundhog ATV Disc Plow would be a lot more beneficial to our society than where somebody ate supper or seeing pictures of a bunch of giraffes at the Topeka Zoo.” He has a point there.

“Son, you’ve told me that you’ve got a bunch of important contacts at the very top levels of our government in Washington,” he said, “and that your opinions are very important to them.” I didn’t say that to Skeeter Skates. I swear I didn’t. Well, OK, I might have kind of implied something like that a time or two, but I didn’t think he was listening. I didn’t want to tell him the most important person I know in Washington is George E. Perdue, who is the Secretary of Agriculture and who used to be our governor and who has never listened to me. He got his shorts in a wad early on when he was governor because I said his “Go Fish, Georgia” initiative was uglier than a catfish.

“What I want you to do is talk to President Trump next time you see him and tell him to quit twerping so much. Tell him Skeeter Skates said it didn’t help the plow repair and stump removal profession one bit and it ain’t helping the country. The man has got everybody mad at each other. He ought to have better things to do than just twerping all the time.”

I told Skeeter the president and I don’t talk much these days, but I was sure he did a lot of things besides twerping. I do agree that he could be a tad more judicious when he does. It can get a bit scary, I admit.

“Hoss, I want you to know I ain’t mad at you for suggesting I get on Facepaint and Twerp,” Skeeter said, “I know you meant well, but the plow repair and stump removal profession ain’t like other professions. We are about plows and tree stumps, not where to eat supper or where you can find a bunch of giraffes.”

I told Skeeter I always appreciated his wise counsel and asked him if he would mind if I put something on Facebook about our conversation after I had tweeted it out. I heard him banging his head against the wall as he hung up.