Recently I wrote about being invited to the Handyman's Club. Well now they want me in the Cooking Club and the Garden Club. Obviously, these people don't read my column.

The theme of these organizations is to get you to use certain products and give your opinion of them. Then you can "become eligible" to keep some of the stuff they sent you to test.

I've already made it clear that I won't be joining the Handyman's Club. I've already got a level, a square, a hammer and a nail apron. I'm pretty sure they won't let me keep a table saw.

Remember, I said you can "become eligible" to keep these products. That's like saying "you can qualify to win." It doesn't mean you will win. And my guess is there's a quiz involved that has questions like, "What did Gen. Patton have for lunch that day he crossed the Rhine?" Which brings me to the Cooking Club.

I can fry eggs. I can fry fish. I can fry chicken. I can grill a hamburger. I can grill a hot dog. I can put a sardine on a saltine cracker. As for as I'm concerned, these are the basics, and they don't require joining a club in which you share secrets.

The only secret to frying eggs is, don't drop pieces of the shell in the frying pan. As for fish, know when you've overused the grease. And for the hot dog, don't drop it on the ground. If you do, pick it up in a hurry before anyone sees you. I can assure you that there's nothing on the outside of that wiener that will intimidate what's on the inside of it.

Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate those people who go to great pains to prepare a delicious meal. I just don't need to watch them do it and wonder why they all talk with an accent.

But just because something is fancy, doesn't necessarily make it any better than something basic.

And there are some skills that I would bet are not covered in any of these cooking clubs, like how to gnaw the marrow from a pork chop bone without chipping a tooth.

Now I know some hoity toity will cringe at that idea, but when it comes to a choice of eating snails (something found under damp boards down by the dock) and gnawing the marrow from a pork chop bone, I'm siding with the hog every time. Besides, I believe the world is divided into two parts -- those who lick their fingers and those who lie about it.

And I would pose that membership in those cooking clubs would shrink considerably if those folks had to chase down their own chicken, wring its neck, scald it, pluck it, singe it and quarter it. A parallel to that would be a rise in membership in Methodist churches if baptisms were still held down at the creek.

This brings us to the Garden Club.

I quit growing a garden several years ago. It was too far down to the farm to stay ahead of the buffalo grass. Not only that, the deer kept eating up my peas. Since I'm not a big fan of venison, this was a lose-lose situation for me. I put up scarecrows and tin pie plates on strings to no avail. So here's a question that's haunted me ever since my last patch of peas and my last scarecrow. If a deer snickers in a pea patch and there's no one there to hear it, was there actually a snicker?

Well my logic is this. Just because there wasn't anyone in the pea patch doesn't mean there are no peas there. Therefore, I submit to you my snickering deer.

No, I didn't join that club either. I'm holding out for the big-screen TV club. You know, the one where they send you big-screen TVs to watch and critique. Followup question: If I open up a crate with a big-screen TV in it and there's no one there to see me take it out, did I actually receive it?

... Nah, bad idea. I'm sure they'd have me sign for it.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail:

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