Coping tips 

I have a long experience with living in semi-want and wretched squalor, and I've got some money-saving tips for those of you who are new to the condition, thanks to this Great Depression Jr.

Feed your pets table scraps. If you have any table scraps.

Buy a cheaper brand of baloney. Your best bet is to get the store brand about an hour after they've swept up around the butcher block. It's fresher, too.

Use coupons to tip waiters, bellhops, exotic dancers, shoeshine boys, and hair stylists. Coupons also work as bribe extenders.

Bring homemade snacks into theaters, ball games, concerts, the race track, the state fair, and other venues that normally won't allow them — by disguising them as the contents of half-filled strapped-on colostomy bags.

Shop the thrift stores for such essential items as underwear and knick-knacks. I buy most of my books there, since all books have pretty much the same words in them anyway, only in different combinations.

You'll never make a profit picking up beer cans along the highway if they're all cans that you threw out there in the first place.

Instead of buying expensive illegal drugs such as meth, you can achieve the same long-term effects very economically by painting your teeth with pond scum and battery acid twice a day, and by putting toxic materials on your skin that'll make you look 40 years older than you are.

When a friend or relative dies, in lieu of flowers, send a memorial contribution in the deceased's name to yourself.

Eschew rimz for your car and grillz for your mug and anything else that ends in zee.

Remember, no Nigerian e-mail proposition is going to turn things around for you.

The Rotarians of Oakdale, Calif., charge $50 a plate for them at their annual Testicle Festival every spring, but if you call ahead just about any of the bigger livestock gelding operations here in Arkansas will furnish you with a take-home mess of them free of charge. Stew or grill, or marinate and kebob.

Instead of changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles, just pour some of your old Fry-Daddy fish grease in there.

Freshly gathered sycamore leaves make an acceptable (and free) substitute for expensive “bathroom tissue”  if you remember to use them before they dry out and get all crumbly and scratchy.

If you can no longer afford good whiskey, don't quit cold turkey — or cold Wild Turkey, if you can still joke about the thing. Descend the potent potables cost and quality ladder slowly and steadily until you hit the bottom where there's not much difference in taste or effect from a good snort or belt of paint thinner, and you don't care.

I understand that the $400 driver may be a necessity, but you can do without the golf glove if you just have to.

Trundling hoopsnakes used to be the prime economical entertainment of youngsters hereabout. You might look into it.

Ring up your friendly neighborhood lobbyist and tell him or her that you need a break from Spartan fare. You need wining and dining at a real classy joint. On his or her credit card. The same one state legislators borrow when they get similar hankerings. “Why, sure, glad to oblige. Be our guest,” the lobbyist might say. Or not. Stranger things have happened.

When planning your vacation, avoid the glitzier destinations like Tunica and Branson; choose instead thriftier getaways in less happ'nin' tourist meccas such as Pangburn and Ogemaw.

Half the weed varieties along the roadsides of Arkansas make excellent additions to dinner salads, and cost you $0.00. The other half are mostly poisonous, not a few of them lethal. You only have to know which half is which.

Have a yard sale and don't be dissing your humble merchandise. A Mrs. Steinmetz of our acquaintance once unloaded eight plastic margarine tubs at 25 cents apiece — enough to treat two broods that evening at Ethel's Sno-Cone House in Mabelvale.

If you spot something desirable but not affordable at somebody else's yard sale, there's a good chance it won't sell and the seller will throw it out in the next week's trash and you can pick it up curbside for nada.

If it's within a year or two of the expiration date, it's probably still good.

Even .22 shells cost money, and you'll have just about as much luck hunting squirrels, and be more entertained, if you make yourself a double-barreled slingshot out of a buxom relative's old bra.

Call up one of these tax-relief companies that promise to hornswoggle the Internal Revenue Service on your behalf, so that you only have to pay “pennies on the dollar” of the back taxes you owe, and see which one of you profits on the deal and which one gets a nice long sabbatical at the federal pen. Free room and board, though.  

Finally, be tolerant of those who tell you things like let a smile be your umbrella, and you brought all this on yourself. Anticipate the schadenfreude, as their time's surely coming.


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