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Beware: another ol’ fart story. This is true, and a painful childhood memory.

We were a ‘construction tramp’ family; stepdad was an iron worker, so we ‘tramped’ from job to job back & forth across the US.

One season found us somewhere in Sheepshite, Wyo. where he was working on a big power generation project. Mom, myself, & kid brother were living in an old trailer tucked away somewhere in the sagebrush and blowing sand. Rattlesnake country.

The area, populated only by scattered ranches and a crossroads business cluster, had a one-room school: all six grades, and one teacher. I’m dying of boredom because all the kids are taking turns reading aloud, and most of them are barely able.

Then the spelling quiz: “Doofus, how do you spell ‘does'” she asked me. I hear “duz” and back in those days a popular radio jingle sang about a soap product called… you got it… “DUZ!”

So my head tells me the ‘duz’ she pronounced is spelled ‘does’ but my reasoning revolts! ‘D-o-e-s’ is female deer, which we had running everywhere in the sagebrush around our trailer, and that’s pronounced ‘doze’ … but DUZ is ‘duz’ like ‘he duz it good’ … so I shout it out: D-U-Z, ma’am.

The shit hit the fan; her face got red, and I’m realizing that I’m the turd in her punch bowl cuz us construction camp gypsies are a passing headache in her life.

“What!?” she snarls at me. “D-U-Z” I repeat.

Well, it went downhill from there. She finally got right in my face and explained that the word ‘duz’ like ‘he did it’ is ‘DOES’ … and I protest again, that applies to female deer. I’m sent to the dunce corner, and I’m cussing at myself because my reasoning process sure did get derailed by that damned radio jingle!

It had repeated over and over on our radio in the trailer, ‘D-U-Z is DUZ!’ over, and over, and over until it burned a groove in my cerebrum.


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