There are those who either have everything, think they have everything or think they have everything they need. Trying to shop for those kinds of people can keep even an otherwise sane person in a perpetual state of anxiety.
Grampa Delbosque has decided that he wants a pair of peacocks. Grampa is the father-in-law with the Fred Sanford collection of worldly possessions that puts him in the class of thinking he has “almost” everything he needs… except a pair of peacocks.
The sign as you cross the culvert at the end of the gravel road leading to Grampa Delbosque’s place outside of Big Spring, Texas, reads “RANCHO DELBOSQUE”. It’s home to a wide array of domesticated birds and fowl ……ducks, turkeys, geese, guineas and chickens of all kinds and colors. But he doesn’t have peacocks and he, by gosh, wants a pair and Oreo has assumed the task of granting her father’s wishes. Indirectly, or in fact pretty directly, that has put me in the crosshairs to help with the project.
The ad in the Bulletin (and several other papers) reads “WANTS TO BUY – PAIR OF PEACOCKS. PHONE: 642-4895.”
Apparently peacocks are very scarce in this part of the country, or at least they are among the Bulletin readers, because it’s been over two weeks and not a single call. If they’re not scarce, it would appear that they are certainly not for sale. Even if I find a seller, there is another problem that surfaces. Grampa, Oreo or I have not a clue as to what a fair and civil price is for a pair of peacocks. You see, there is not a Blue Book that can be used to price used peacocks, or unused ones for that matter. There is no source of listings that says “USED 1991 MODEL FEMALE PEACOCK $30-40 DEPENDING ON CONDITION OF TAIL FEATHERS.” The Internet will tell you everything you ever wanted to know and a lot of things you don’t need to know about peacocks except what you can expect to pay for them. I guess the peacock market is a somewhat exclusive segment of capitalistic endeavor. But nevertheless, I am now inextricably entangled in the peacock market.
My friend Clovis Simons from Cross Plains, who has one male peacock, doesn’t know what they cost either, but he said if I found any, he’d take any that I don’t want, and he doesn’t care what they cost. I asked him why he was so careless about what they cost and he just said, “ ‘cuz I like ‘um.” I guess Clovis has more money to spend on peacocks than I have, and besides, from what I hear about peacocks I’m not sure I’m going to “like ‘um” for even the short time I plan to have ‘um before delivering ‘um to RANCHO DELBOSQUE. I understand they are boistrous and filthy and that is about the best that can be said about them.
There are now people in Brown, Mills, Comanche and Callahan counties looking for peacocks on my, or I should say Grampa Delbosque’s, behalf in addition to the ads running in the papers in several other counties. I’m continuing to try to research the fiscal aspects of peacock shopping because I’ve got to think there’s somebody out there who has a pair of peacocks, that irregardless of his fondness for them, will be willing to part with them for a price to be extracted from a novice peacock shopper shopping for his father-in-law. Shoppers like that have been known to do silly things with their money in the interest of proving that they can find the one thing in the world that the father-in-law covets beyond reason.
This shopping for the people who think they have everything is, frankly, for the birds.
John Kliebenstein is circulation and operations manager of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Wednesdays. E-mail him at john.kliebenstein@brown