Beating the Blues

If you’re a bit down in the dumps, this advice from Bert just might be what you need. Either that or a walk in a park. A walk outside in the sunshine usually works for me, even when my heart is heavy as it has been with recent deaths in my family and among close friends. Grief is always a weighty blanket to have around our shoulders, but that isn’t anything that most folks don’t already know. What makes it worth saying again, is that we have to speak our sadness; not keep it silent and hidden.

So I’m saying it now. I’m sad.

Thank you for listening.

Now, here’s the guest post from my friend Slim Randles, with the advice from Bert. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy…

You have to know Bert really well before he’ll share his secret with you, but if he does, it’s as though he’s revealed the reason for life and sunshine and the main reason our dogs think we’re smart.

Oh, Bert gets down in the dumps just like the rest of us, but he has discovered a way to jerk himself out of the bar ditch by his own belt loops, and he finally broke down and explained how he could remain so cheerful during a year and a half of basic house arrest during the pandemic.

He looked up from his coffee and whispered, “mail order madness.”


“What you do is buy stupid stuff. Cheap stuff. Maybe even stuff you’ll never use, but maybe it’s a pleasant color, or lead you to daydreams where you become dang near adequate.”

“For example?” asked Doc.

“Okay,” Bert said, “ask yourself this … what’s the very best part of ordering something through the mail?”

Our mouths still hung open.

“Anticipation,” Bert said. “I love it. You can do it with a computer, or just send off for a catalog. The simplest way to get anticipation kinda mail is to get those catalogues. List your address and name, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to add the title ‘Purchasing Coordinator’ below your name. 

“Then you add a note telling the catalog folks not to give your name out to anyone else or little old ladies will pull out their whiskers, one at a time.

“It doesn’t hurt to add that the chairman of the board mustn’t find out what has been ordered. Then be sure the item you order is really cheap and makes no earthly sense at all. Hey, why waste money? Think porcelain-frog soap dish here.

“This will immediately start a flood of catalogs coming your way. You have now broken once and for all the evil shadow of boredom.  Besides, you know you’ve secretly wanted a porcelain-frog soap dish anyway.”


What do you do to cheer yourself when needed? Please do share so we don’t have to resort to paper filling our mailboxes.


Pick up “Home Country: Drama, Dreams and Laughter From the American heartland


Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at his Goodreads Page and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program.

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