Gordon: Good to see you, Chet.
Chet: You, too, Gordon. How are those prize-winning hogs?
Gordon: Hard to tell, really. They don’t share much.
Chet: (Nodding.) Seen any candidates at the State Fair? Watch a little of the debates?
Gordon: I did, on both. But just between you, myself, and the smokehouse, I can’t seem to follow the thing.
Chet: You mean with the tariffs?
Gordon: No, not tariffs, Chet. It’s all those issues they keep bringing up about some Kitchen Table.
Chet: I think they mean a counter, Gordon. Or maybe one of those pricey “islands” we saw at the Home Show in Des Moines.
Gordon: You’re wrong there, Chet. Biden said it. Buttigieg said it. President Trump said it, too. Issues about a table sittin’ in someone’s family kitchen.
Chet: Funny place for that.
Gordon: (Thinking.) Out at the farm nowadays we use the old kitchen for storage. Back issues of Grit, The Saturday Evening Post, that type of thing. Come dinnertime, it’s some nights Cracker Barrel, some Bob Evans, and some Chick-fil-A.
Chet: Hear you, Gordon. Since we got the satellite dish, we’re pretty much a couch corn dog family. Supper is there. The mini fridge is there. Game console. About all we need.
Gordon: It’s couch potato, Chet. Not corn dog.
Chet: Okay. But what is the Table Issue, do you think?
Gordon: I’m the one asking, Chet. Far as I can tell, politicians may be afraid that we are short on wood. Planks and tenons, if you catch my meaning.
Chet: China could be hoarding those. Or glue. Or varnish.
Gordon: Or something worse. Might have to do with beer glasses or plates. Or salt, even. You can’t eat a snack, Chet, without salt. You know that. A shortage of this type could lead to war.
Chet: Or more tariffs, I guess.
Chet: Nice seeing you, Gordon. It’s just about couch corn dog time for me.
Gordon: It’s couch potato, Chet, as I told you. Can’t you ever get things right?
Peter Mandel is an author of children’s books including Jackhammer Sam (Macmillan) and Bun, Onion, Burger (Simon & Schuster). Contact him at www.petermandel.net.