I ran a radio program a couple of days ago and one of the callers was Bob. My wife asked later who was Bob, Bob was a palindrome I explained patiently. She knows me quite well, so I was surprised when she took the bait and asked, “so what’s a palindrome”?

So I could not resist in teaching Jan about one of my absolute favorite parts of the English language. It is a word or phrase that is identical when read from left to right and right to left. Bob is a palindrome, albeit a very simple one.

I am a fan of inane projects and so decided it was my civic duty to spread the word about palindromes. How many have I used so far? I’ll give you a clue, they are all simple ones.

Let me tell you an unlikely story.

Bob was 30 years old, and his life seemed pointless, a dead end job, still living with mom and dad. “Wow, I have wasted my life” he mused as he clocked out from his boring and pointless job. He wasn’t much of a drinking man but as it was payday he felt rich, well at least until he paid his bills. He decided to stop off at a new trendy bar in town. A micro brewery called the Llama Mall. Bob knew nothing about beer, but the place seemed warm and inviting. Sitting at the bar Bob asked the bartender Anna what she would suggest. “Oh we have all kinds, we have a fine Porter, or an Indian Pale Ale, but the Larger sir is regal!”

It was, Anna offered a refill, but Bob declined, he needed to keep a level head. Also it was dinner time and Ma has a ham, his favorite dish. On his way out he caught a snatch of conversation, someone seemed upset and deserving of better attention from the staff. “Madam, I am Adam” the man spat out. Presumably Adam thought he deserved better treatment. I am glad I am not as mad as Adam thought Bob and headed for home.

Dinner wasn’t quite ready, Bob had time to check his email. What a sad state of affairs, there were no real emails, just an offer for quick and private paternity testing, an invite to join a group interested in geolocation, and a couple of emails telling him that he had inherited millions of dollars from an unknown relative from Nigeria. “Is this is what the internet has become maps, DNA, and spam” he silently pondered.

It was time for dinner, Bob loved baked ham, but hoped that Mom has not repeated the last version. He had asked her nicely, no lemon, no melon this time. A honey glaze is fine, but pieces of melon and lemon attached by toothpicks was not his idea of heaven.

Bob’s mother was slightly eccentric and baked ham seemed to be the food she loved to abuse most. “No lemon, no melon” bob asked nervously. “No sir! Away! A papaya war is on” was the answer. Bob left the kitchen with qualms. Ham and papaya seemed an odd combination, even worse was the reference to war. Were the ham and papaya duking it out in the oven?

Dad and I are close, at the appointed time we are both invited into the inner sanctum of the kitchen, dad will carve, I will watch. We now know what the papaya war was all about. Wars rarely have happy endings, this one was a case in point. Dad made a quiet noise, it was barely audible, mom was on it in a flash. Dad had a poor defense and merely said “Naomi, did I moan, it is just my arthritis giving me problems”.

The next day was my day off, but I had much to do. The big problem was my car, it was so old that parts were no longer available, they had to be found in scrap yards. It was so old that it didn’t have an alternator, it used a dynamo. I headed off to the best Junk yard in the area to see if I could find a working Dynamo.

I have to admit that car maintenance is not something I am strong in. Gas, oil and water is about the limits of my knowledge. I knew there would be seven eves before I would have another chance to fix the damn car and I wasn’t sure it would last that long. My sis had recommended that I try this junk yard, “just tell them what you want, they will probably have it”

I walked into the office, everyone seemed to know what they were doing, well everyone except me. One of the assistants, a nice young lady, said “Sir I’m Iris, how can we help you”? I explained that I needed a dynamo, she led me to a shelf, I gasped “So many dynamos”. “yes sir we do have a large selection”.

Package secured I headed to visit my friend Sam, he is currently laid up with a blown rotator cup, a baseball injury, of course these means that he is spending his time absorbing all of the baseball games and stats he can find.

I always enjoy visiting Sam, he is an animal lover and whereas his neighbors have signs posted with No Trespassing, Attack Dogs On Site, etc, Sam has a more gentle approach, he merely says Step On No Pets.

Sam has many cats and certainly there were plenty of them to greet me. There is a saying about how difficult it is to heard them, but would it be possible to stack cats? I doubt that they would be happy, but it sure would be fun to see someone try.

Sam was jovial and happy for some company, his shoulder was healing, but his face looked a mess, almost like acne. “haha, no, I was out in the barn today moving some bails of straw around. Straw makes for great bedding material for the animals, but is not so friendly to the human face when the two come in contact, farmers call it Straw Warts, it will be fine in a day or two”.

“Hey, fancy a snack, I have some sushi in the fridge or some pecans fresh off the tree, so Tuna roll or a nut? Oh I also have some Chinese stuff, but to be honest with you I didn’t much care for it, I call it UFO Tofu”

So here is the challenge, how many palindromes are in this article? Some are easy, some are not.

Simon Barrett

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