Joanne Palmer: 'Grouch Potato'

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Joanne Palmer

Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at jpalmer@springsips.com

Find more columns by Palmer here.

— Welcome to Steamboat Springs, home of the newest reality TV show, "Grouch Potato." In this first episode, we will meet and interview several contestants to determine their grouch factor index. The grouch factor index is calculated using a complicated mathematical formula - kind of like the one used for the caucus - where factors such as amount of snow shoveled since Dec. 1 are multiplied by the number of days spent on the couch instead of at work. Other criteria are: relationships with friends and family (have you called your mother lately?) and number of ski days vs. number of sick days. Bonus points are available for the contents of the contestant's refrigerator. Fast food, fried food and junk food can catapult a contestant to the winner's circle. Subtractions will be made for leafy greens, organic food and soy-based products. The winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Sun City, Ariz.

"Wait! We seem to be experiencing technical difficulties with snow on the TV screen. What? Oh, I see, our producer says that's just the 371 inches of snow to fall in Steamboat Springs this winter. The strange thing is ... hmmmm ... let me double check before I say this, well, yes, snow appears to be falling into contestant No. 1's living room. Morose Mike is a snowplow driver and three-year resident of Steamboat Springs. Ah, Mike, can you tell me why you have snow in your living room?"

"Yeah, there's nowhere else to put it. The city of Steamboat Springs offers a $500 daily incentive for employees to take the snow home. I'm making big bucks just laying here on my couch watching the snow melt."

"But you also have your windows open?"

"Yeah. I've given up shoveling. I figure it's easier to let the snow come in and melt inside on my heated floors."

"Isn't that kind of messy?"

"Nah. I pay my kid a buck an hour to use the Shop-Vac."

"Contestant No. 2 is Depressed Daphne, a 10-year resident of Ski Town USA. Daphne, how long have you been on the couch?"

"Leave me alone!"

"Alrighty then, we'll try another question. How many days have you skied this winter?"

"I work three jobs. Now, leave me alone!"

"Okey dokey smokey. On a scale of 1 to 10 how grouchy would you say you are?"

"69,442 to the power of 10. You do the math. Now leave me alone!"

"Is there any one thing that will motivate you to get off the couch?"

"Yeah. When my Girl Scout cookie order arrives. I cashed in my 401K and bought every box they had. I'm not moving from the couch until the doorbell rings."

"Contestant No. 3 is Pessimistic Polly. Polly, not only are you on your couch, you seem to be wrapped in bandages and look like a mummy. How come?"

"The medical community is trying to keep it quiet, but I'm suffering from a new condition called polypropylene poisoning."

"What the heck is polypropylene? Toxic waste?"

"Long underwear, you city slicker! I've worn nothing but polypro all winter, and because of that I've broken out into a rash. : It's highly contagious, and I wouldn't recommend touching anything in the house."

"Time for us to go. Thanks to all contestants for playing. Because of the depressed states of all three contestants, we've decided to send everyone to Sun City, Ariz. What do you guys have to say?"

"We're outta here!"

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