The dreaded pinchy-rabbit lives on, long after the juice boxes were empty.


Years ago I visited my cousin Angela and her two young daughters. The girls — Erin and Beth — were about four and two years old, and played separately in another part of the living room while I talked with their mom. At one point, Angela left the room to get coffee or something. While I was waiting, I started paying attention to what the girls had been saying for the past 10 minutes or so. Erin was playing with dolls on the floor, while Beth was at a table, scribbling in a coloring book. Neither faced the other, and each spoke quietly, in a calm, unemotional voice. Beth: “You’re a pinchy-rabbit.” Erin: “I’m not a pinchy-rabbit.” Beth: “You are a pinchy-rabbit.” Erin: “I am not a pinchy-rabbit. You’re a pinchy-rabbit.” Beth: “I’m not a pinchy-rabbit.” Erin: “You are a pinchy-rabbit.” Beth: “You’re a pinchy-rabbit.” Erin: “I’m not a pinchy-rabbit.” Etc., etc., etc. When Angela came in a few moments later to tell the girls it was time for lunch, they dropped the subject without any qualms and headed into the kitchen to eat in peace. However, their conversation took on a life of its own. Ever since that day, the dreaded pinchy-rabbit has become a part of Dixon family lore.  When my brother and I were in our 30s, we’d still say to each other: Joshua: “You’re a pinchy-rabbit.” Jonathan: “I’m not a pinchy-rabbit.” Joshua: “Yes, you are a pinchy-rabbit.” Jonathan: “No, I’m not a pinchy-rabbit.” Etc., etc., etc. I don’t know what a pinchy-rabbit is, but it’s gotta be bad. . . . Right now the federal government is about 15 trillion dollars in debt, with tens of trillions more owed in entitlements the government can’t possibly pay since politicians have already spent the reserves, and left us with IOUs. That says nothing about all the trillions of dollars of debt rung up by the individual states, money they’ll never be able to pay back either. And yet, if you point out the well-documented financial facts, and peacefully protest to demand politicians and bureaucrats treat the publics’ money with more responsibility and start dealing realistically with the coming crisis, you have to put up with garbage like the cartoon at the top of this page. Odd. . . . In last Thursday’s Gazette, in the Backward Glances section, I wrote that Tom Balko was honored for his corn husking championships starting in 1930. I raised an eyebrow at that, but it’s what the old newspaper said, and the accompanying photo did show an elderly man.  I shrugged and went with it. There are already two Tom Balkos I know of in town — there easily could have been a third at one point. On Thursday, after that issue came out, the Gazette got several phone calls informing me the old newspaper item was about Ted Balko, the champion corn husker. The Gazette regrets the error, and redirects the accolades to the correct Balko.