The Truth, Mainly - 01/31/2005

On forehead rental and other signs
by Leon Satterfield

"Well, m'love," I tell my wife, "have you got any ideas about how we should spend the money?"

"If it weren't so cold I suppose we could go out for an ice-cream cone," she says, not looking up from her crossword puzzle. "What money?"

"Don't tell me you haven't read about it," I say, thrusting the Jan. 25 issue of the Journal-Star between her face and her crossword puzzle. "It's one of the great capitalistic free enterprise developments of the millennium."

It's a story about a guy from Omaha who rents out his forehead to advertise stuff. What he did, see, was to auction off his forehead on e-Bay. The high bid came from an outfit that sells anti-snoring stuff.

"See?" I tell my wife. "See his picture?"

I point to the photograph. The guy from Omaha appears to have a tattoo on his forehead. The tattoo spells out the name of the anti-snoring stuff.

"You're going to have your forehead tattooed?" my wife says. "Are you sure you want to call attention to it? It already blinds people when the sun reflects off of it."

"Heh heh," I say. "Have your little joke, but my forehead is about to make us rich."

"I suppose," she sighs, "you're going to tell me about it."

"Read the story," I say. "Look at how much money the guy from Omaha is getting paid for advertising the anti-snoring stuff. Only $37,375. That's all. And that's just for one month of advertising."

"So," she says, "I suppose you're thinking that you can finally put your forehead to some practical use by renting it out to advertise some highly prestigious product?"

"You got it, baby," I say. "And get this: compare my forehead to the forehead of the guy from Omaha. He's got a laughably small forehead. His hair comes damn near to his eyebrows."

"I'm, alas, about to understand," she says. "Your hair isn't within shouting distance of your eyebrows. And so you believe—"

"You got it again," I say. "My forehead must have at least three times the number of square inches as the guy from Omaha's forehead does. Do the math. If he can make $37,375 a month by renting out his pitifully small forehead, then I should be able to rent mine out, I calculate, for three times that much and bring in $112,125 a month. And that, sweetie-pie, comes to more than a million buckerooskies a year."

She sighs and gazes out the window.

"So what'll we spend it on?" I say.

"We should probably start," she says, "by making a down payment on a room for you at the funny farm. Or if you'd rather, at the looney bin or the booby hatch."

"Heh heh," I say.

"It's not that I'm opposed to people carrying signs," she says, "but signs on foreheads give me the willies."

"So what kind of signs do you approve of, Miss Smartypants?" I say.

"Well," she says, "signs made of wood or metal or paper, not foreheads. Signs that inform. Signs that are there for purposes other than making money."

"Hah?" I say. "For purposes other than making money?"

"Yeah," she says. "I saw several such signs on television at President What's-his-name's inauguration."

"Bush," I say. "President George W. Bush. His second inauguration, a reflection of how much we all love and respect him."

"Yeah," she says. "That's the guy. Lousy choice of inauguration day. Cold enough to make a brass monkey shiver in anticipation."

"So what signs did you see there?" I ask. She can't stick to the subject for diddly-squat.

"Let's see," she says. "One of them said 'This Emperor Has No Clothes.'"

"Hah?" I say.

"Another one," she says, "said 'Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam.' And another one said '"Yeehaw" is not a foreign policy.' And another said 'Bush is to Christianity what Bin Laden is to Islam.' And another one said 'What would Jesus bomb?'"

"Enough," I say. "That stuff is unpatriotic."

"But my favorite," she says, "was the one that said 'Mr. Bush, under my mittens I'm giving you the finger.' There's a real sign for you."

"That's obscene," I say.

"It knocked me out," she says.

"You're a wicked woman," I say.

"Yes," she says. "Isn't it fun?"

I can't put up with that kind of candor any longer. I go to the bathroom mirror and while visions of dollar signs dance in my head, I try to look pious while I admire the vast territory between my hair and my eyebrows.


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is:

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