The Picnic Its season is here. But dorit let it bug you. As with other disasters, it sometimes can be avoided. Just be alert and watch for the warning signs. Between the tornadoes of spring and the hurricanes of fall comes a treacherous thing known as the picnic, conceived by the makers of beer and charcoal and dedicated to the proposition that bugs need to eat, too. As with other natural disasters, it is doubtful if man.will ever be able to control the picnic, but millions of stomachs, nerves, and marriages can be saved yearly if people will learn what to dp when they spot one approaching. , It is important, for example, to distinguish between a Picnic;Watch and a Picnic Warning. j A Picnic Watch means: Conditions favorable for creation of a picnic are forming in the empty spaces of your wife's head. Stay alert and be prepared to take cover if a picnic materializes. A Picnic Warning means: A picnic has been sighted in your area. Hide. If you are not directly in its path, try to make it to the car and down to the friendly neighborhood tavern. A word of caution: If you see a picnic close at hand, do not stand around to watch, or pause to pick up golf clubs or a six-pack. These will slow you down and in- / crease your chances of being : . caught. How do you tell a Watch from a Warning? Easy. A child screeching "Can't we go on a picnic?" does not justify a Watch. But if your wife replies, "It is a pretty, day, isn't it?" a Watch is in effect. If she follows with, "It would do us all a lot of good to get out of the house," you are definitely under a Picnic Watch. Check your hiding place. You may want to stock some beer, bread, and sandwich meat along with a portable TV in case the Watch becomes a Warning. Wife statements that constitute a Picnic Warning are: "It's just too pretty to stay in this house." "Have any of you seen that picnic hamper (thermos, long fork, first- aid kit)?" "Have any of you seen your father? He was here just a minute ago." Upon hearing any of the above the experienced picnic observer JOHN ED PEARCE, of The Sunday Courier-Journal Times staff, it as much a friend of the fly, the ant and the motquito as any man, but he prefer* not to dine with them. State will not hesitate. He will bolt. It will do him no good to point out that rain is predicted for the afternoon. The rain will not arrive until the tablecloth has been spread, the first ants have arrived, hot dogs have been burned, yellow jackets have settled on the spilled soft drinks and the clods on the nearby playground have hit a spftball into the potato salad. Then it will rain. What, you may ask, do you do if By John Ed Pearce you are at the office when you see a picnic on the horizon? Run into a rest room. Faint. Office picnics are larger and more dangerous than domestic ones. They offer beer, bologna, and softball instead of potato salad, and .feature a lot of messing around between married men and girls from the typist pool. Sort of a Christmas office party with flies. What if you are in a factory? The same rules apply. The only difference between office and factory (or union) picnics is that at the office picnic the boss makes a funny talk and nobody laughs, whereas ( at the union picnic the local president makes a serious talk and everyone laughs. The office picnic features a shoving match between two salesmen, both of whom had eyes on the blonde from Dispatch. The union-picnic features loud talk and V.*""'.', 'Â·'", L Â«. 'Â·Â·.*Â· Â·'Â· "-. Â·:* i clumsy footwork by two foremen who have eyes for the blonde from the stock room. What should you do if you are in the open and see a picnic bearing down on you? First, do not try to outrun it. Try to find some, any, natural cover -an old sewer, a snake hole. If you are in a car, get out and lie in a ditch, taking care to protect your stomach. Post-picnic surveys show that the great majority of injuries from picnics are to the stomach. This is especially true of the one- on-one or Rustic Chic picnic. You can easily spot the Rustic Chic by its wine cooler, wicker hamper, checked tablecloth and the absence of potato salad. Instead, it carries with it a heavy load of brown bread, cheese, a little fruit, and some cold chicken or pheasant, plus plenty of wine, which accounts for its circular motion. The Rustic Chic can be more savage than it appears. Pheasant under glass is one thing, pheasant under flies is another. Which leaves the question: When do you know the picnic has passed? There is, alas, no infallible sign. Generally, when the charcoal dies, when mosquitoes replace yellow jackets and the brawling salesmen find that the blonde has left with the office boy, the picnic has spent its real force. The Rustic Chic may be considered over when the girl finds fire ants have invaded her slacks. The Common, or Domestic, picnic, however, tends to end with a final blast of fury, usually when the youngest child pulls a snake from his sweat shirt and asks if he can keep it. He does this just as daddy is turning onto the expressway, and causes a final burst of danger as daddy tries to whack the snake with one hand, keep mama from leaving via the window with the other, and still keep the car in traffic. No matter how it ends, no one who has ever lived through one ever quite forgets the terrifying moments of a full-force picnic. But it is the saving grace of the human spirit that it survives horror as well as hurt. Slowly the memories ease. There is a time of healing. Before you know it, out of a clear blue sky, one day you will hear your wife say: "It's just too nice a day to stay in the house." (C) 1975 Courier- Journal and LouiiviUe Timt$ Co. N. .W. ](A. .?m.
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