April 17, 2024

Mister Natural!

He put the finishing touches on the sign, climbed down the ladder and stepped back to admire his work. “Uncle Homer’s Backwoods Medical Research Establishment & Natural Stuff Emporium” the sign proudly proclaimed. This was the culmination of years of study, planning, saving, building, and dreaming. There in the middle of the great forest, Homer had built the business of his dreams.

Surrounded by the natural world he loved so well, he would serve mankind by eliminating disease and producing healthy products for all the world to thrive on. His list of medical research priorities arranged before him, Homer pondered the impact he would have on humankind. The list was ambitious. It was comprehensive.

It was Homer’s most careful compilation of diseases affecting millions of lives: dislocated fingernail, blue pinky, furry eyeballs (when everything looks fuzzy), pulmonary rectitude, tennis ear, polychromatic uvula, Bob’s syndrome, cartographer’s knee, St. Vitas boogie, pickle foot, dislocated tongue, hair pain, heartburn, liverburn, spleenburn, lungburn, kidneyburn, vertigo of the thumbnail, neck odor, floppy tooth, hyperactive navel, Truman’s thumb, flat follicle, and limp bones all vied for priority at the top of the list of diseases to be conquered. In his spare time, Homer planned to continue his search for the elusive gene that makes people stupid.

Fast forward 20 years. An intrepid group of hikers explores an overgrown path in the deepest part of the woods. They come upon a clearing wherein they discover the ruins of a building. Some digging, some prying, some speculation – a pattern begins to form. There, hidden among the litter of broken test tubes and rusty Bunsen burner skeletons, lie the remnants of an old hand-lettered sign. The hikers can just barely make out two old faded words – “Homer” and “Emporium.” Intrigued, they dig further.

“Eureka!” one of them hollers, waving something in the air. (Why do people always scream, “Eureka?” You’d think folks would be tired of it by now.) Anyway, his buddies gather around to look through an old tattered catalog entitled “Uncle Homer’s Natural and Really Good Stuff.” They are amazed and astounded by what they see:

  • Pine bark tea
  • St. Jim’s wort
  • Cream of hickory tonic
  • Porcupine quill lozenges
  • Beaver tail broth
  • Rectified spirit of fungus
  • Fern pollen tablets
  • Twig insoles
  • All-natural nose rejuvenator
  • Extract of bees’ knees
  • Sterilized swamp mud
  • Freeze-dried pond scum
  • Wild rice jerky
  • Fish oil crackers
  • Poison ivy flakes
  • Deer balm
  • Fly paste
  • Mentholated extract of humming bird feathers
  • Frog dust
  • Leech liver soap
  • Raccoon grease hair tonic
  • Moose juice
  • Ant-flavored aspirin
  • Bear fur socks
  • Acorn beer
  • Toothpaste for wolves
  • Grass underwear
  • Organic stove polish
  • Pure possum extract
  • Hand-woven crabgrass sleeping bags
  • Snake butter
  • Candied pinecone
  • Powdered rainwater
  • Mosquito taffy
  • Recycled bread
  • Mold spore bouillon
  • Snow-flavored syrup (seasonal)
  • Birch bark pants
  • Flower petal fudge
  • Milkweed shakes
  • Kentucky bluegrass wafers
  • Radish pudding
  • Bass ragout
  • Squirrel slippers
  • Curried wasp wings
  • Campfire room deodorizer
  • Mushroom muffins
  • Blueberry picking goggles

The catalog goes on and on, listing item after item carefully and lovingly hand-fashioned from the bounty provided in this temple of natural abundance. But, why did this noble enterprise come to ruin? Who could fail to appreciate the range and scope of thought and effort demonstrated here?

Slowly, as the hikers look around it dawns on them. Nodding knowingly to each other, they turn and start back down the obscure path that had brought them here. They are eager to share their discovery with their friends.

Have you figured it out by now? Do you know why Homer’s dream flopped? I’ll give you a hint. Ask any real estate professional what the three most important things are, and the answer will be “Location, location, location.”

See ya around,


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