Cot in the modern day world

There are two more things that I now know for sure.
First, the late humorist Lewis Grizzard was right when he said “Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”
That’s why I got some of the best deals this past weekend. I was there first.
Six regulars from Canada and their wallets—packed with a year’s worth of U.S. pocket change—had headed south of the border into cottage country on Friday.
Like horses to water, we bee-lined it in the heart of Minnesota for the annual community garage sale extravaganza—and the one little getaway in the world where the bargains run aplenty during the day and José Cuervo is your best friend the rest of the time.
Indeed, I traded my small diamond pinkie ring for José’s companionship Friday night as I sat around the fire chewing the fat with friends and family.
José was there for me into the wee hours of the morning—even moreso after a certain “Queen B” began free-pouring the Mexican into my Margarita glass.
However, he shot to the bottom of the list the next morning when I awoke chanting “José Cuervo you are no friend of mine” as the veins in my temples tried to pop out and escape the influences of the little traitor.
I managed to pull it together in the name of spending money and headed out to the garage sales (I know, I know, more junk is just what I need as our house size gets cut in half when we move).
By the time I was done, I had more blankets than one would need for warmth in an igloo plus an old electrical insulator bigger than the ones I swore I would never buy more of.
There also were two pieces of furniture that smacked of refinishing to add to the mile-long list I already have on the go, a giant teddy bear, an old wooden ladder, a barbecue, cooler, and more knick-knacks for an already stuffed kitchen cupboard.
Oh, and for three bucks, a rickety fold-up metal cot with a beat up mattress. That was my big find.
I’ve always wanted a cot. Why, I’m not sure. And given what happened when I tried to bring the stupid thing back into Canada after waiting in line to cross the border for half an hour, I wished I’d have spent the money on a shot of Tequila instead.
The second thing I now know for sure is that hauling a used mattress from a foreign country back into Canada was a big no, no.
We rhymed off the $160 (U.S.) in junk we’d just bought to the Canada Customs officer, who then informed us we couldn’t bring the mattress into the country—unless, of course, it had been fumigated.
I looked out the back window of the truck at the pathetic piece of sponge half-covered in fabric remnant of 1954.
“What do we do with it?” I queried.
“You have to take it back to the other side,” said the officer.
It was a piece of sponge, okay.
My mind flashed to jails all over the world, where the real problems of crime are being addressed. . . .
So back we went across the bridge with a piece of sponge watching the long line of traffic waiting to enter Canada—and only to be held up on the U.S. side for a brief interrogation of a cooler that contained Canadian and American groceries.
Don’t get me wrong. Customs on both sides of the border are doing their job very well. But who decided a piece of old sponge and a citrus fruit were the bad guys?
And for a minute there, nobody in power seemed to know where we could get rid of the cot sponge, which at that moment I could have burned to a crisp with lightning bolts shooting from my eyes.
We were released into the unknown to find our own solution to the matter late on a Sunday afternoon into a country that right then really felt foreign.
Needless to say, we also felt like “Big Brother” was watching as we stuffed the stupid thing in a dumpster along a lonely stretch of a back alley—sure that the thing was going to explode out of the garbage bin and blow down the street and into the back of a half-ton headed for Canada.
We paid a second toll to Canada, then nearly wet our pants laughing all the way home.

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