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Don’t mess with philosophy. It’ll eat your lunch. Oh yes. It was that way the other day down at the actual philosophy counter at the Mule Barn truck stop.
It all began innocently enough, with Doc claiming that his Egyptian shepherd, Irrigator, was the ugliest dog in the county. Then Steve said his cowdog with the bobbed tail, Heelfly, was uglier because he looked the same from either end.
Just when the subject started to heat up, however, Bert said quietly, “Just what is ugly?”
That shut things down while we ran barefooted over his question. We didn’t want to, but never let it be said the world dilemma think-tank shrinks from any reasonable challenge. In the lull, Loretta stopped pouring hot black liquid wake-up long enough to comment.
“’Bout time you guys started dealing with real philosophy,” she said.
“Bert is right. Look for the deep questions. Therein lies the key to human understanding.”
“Therein?” said Doc.
“Loretta’s been taking a philosophy class down at Jerry Hat Trick Community College,” Steve explained.
We looked at Loretta. She nodded.
“So how many answers did you come up with, Loretta?”
“It’s not the answers that matter, Bert, but the involvement in asking them. For example, among the top ten great philosophical questions is ‘What is reality?’”
That question was a two-sipper. It was beginning to look like philosophy could flat halt conversation.
“Ready for another one? How about ‘Is thought real?’”
That about shut it down for good. Hey, whatever happened to “Is a .30-06 better than a .270?”
“Here’s one to ponder, fellas,” she said. “Think about this … ‘Is four more than a duck?’”
After a proper silence, Doc asked, “You paid for a class to learn the question, ‘Is four more than a duck?’“
“Nope,” she said, heading for the kitchen. “Got that from my two-year-old granddaughter.”

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Slim Randles
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Slim Randles

Six years ago he began writing a syndicated humor column for newspapers called “Home Country.” He’s also the author of 16 books, including three novels and the biography of The Rounders author, Max Evans. One of Slim’s most recent books, “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right” has won two state awards and one national award. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer