Would You Like Some Fries with that Tan?

One of my favorite topics is beeper and cell phone sales.out to lunch

That there is an almost endless combination of retail establishments offering beepers and cell phones has often been the subject of the withering repartee of the fine honed edge of my rapier wit. Of course, that depends on your perspective, and one might just as well say “He yields his wit like a wooden club: those he cannot induce to laugh voluntarily he bashes about the head with the blunt edge of a medieval mallet he calls redundancy.”

I’m not sure I understand what I just said, but rest assured, it is quite hilarious.

By the way, speaking of beeper sales, Granny Ferguson’s Quilting Service has now become Granny’s Quilting, Beeper and Cell Phone Bee.

I thought I had seen, or imagined, almost every combination of retail business that would reasonably subject itself to ridicule and a column, but in my worldwide travels between Clio and Abbeville I came across one that I have not seen before: Ted’s Famous Cheeseburgers & Tanning Beds.

I would not have thought twice had Ted decided to combine his famous cheeseburgers with beepers or cell phones. The fact that Ted’s is in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Obscureville and Grease-Spot-on-the-Map-Burg, of interest primarily to grazing cattle and location scouts for the nearest moonshiners, would not have diminished my recognition of the synergy between electronic communication devices and grilled, formerly-grazing cattle.

As it were, though, I had been paying some attention to this tanning bed thing, because it has threatened once or twice to overtake beepers and cell phones in sheer volume, and the juxtaposition of sizzling beef and sizzling people caught my eye.

Initially, tanning beds seemed to be limited to salons dedicated solely to tanning, although some spas and beauty parlors also had a bed or two.

(Is “beauty parlor” the correct term? Once again, this demonstrates the truth that women’s things are naturally more complex than men’s. Men get their hair cut at barber shops, where everyone understands that the term “high and tight” does not mean stoned and frugal, and where the combs are kept in huge jars of a mysterious blue liquid. If men’s grooming can’t be done with scissors, electric clippers, and mysterious blue liquid, it shouldn’t be done at all.)

Then, tanning beds began popping up in gyms, health food stores, apartment clubhouses, and finally, remotely located burger joints.

I wonder, incidentally, if Ted’s cheeseburgers were independently famous, or whether fame came to Ted when he combined his formerly mediocre and slightly known burgers with cheese and tanning.

The market, as they say, delivers what the market desires, so we should at least conclude, regardless of how we view fame, that Ted and his neighbors desire to be neither hungry nor pale.

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