Whatever happened to a handshake closing a deal?

On Tuesday, Oct. 17 (the chilliest day in a long time), the Old Men of the Mountain met at Kim’s West Wind Diner in Preston Hollow. In Huntersland, a couple of OFs reported temperatures of 25 degrees; some of the OFs had around 30 to 35 degrees.

At Kim’s place, there was about 1/16th of an inch of frost on the two picnic tables outside. One OF said, “Ah nuts,” while another said, “It’s about time.” The “ah nuts” OF was the one who was switching to coal.

Kim’s is a small place and the entrance is about in the middle of the front wall of the restaurant. There is a row of booths on either side of the door, and then Kim has the tables all lined up down what is basically the center, leaving room for a small counter at the back of the dining area in the restaurant.

This makes the OFs who come in right smack in the center of things. It is nostalgic and fun to hear the greetings back and forth as the OFs arrive. It is very similar to Archie’s barbershop on “Hee Haw,” or the greetings as people enter the bar on “Cheers.” It isn’t only Kim’s but some of the other restaurants also have the same tone about them.

The OFs started to talk about wild boars in New York. Most of the OFs had not heard of these pests being in New York.

An OF said they are a problem and, as far as he knows, it is illegal to own one, release one, or hunt or trap them. This OF thought they were brought in by hunt clubs and got out of hand because they bred so fast.

“They are around, and the DEC is trying to get rid of them,” he said of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

“Another thing to watch for during a walk in the woods,” a second OF commented.

Corn conundrum

Any ride in the country by the OFs (particularly the little portion of New York that the OFs call home), you will see there are acres and acres of corn. Corn to the right — corn to the left.

The OFs say there are not enough cows in New York State for this to be cow corn; grain or ethanol must be the reason for this outburst of corn everywhere. It has to be a cash crop.

“Corn and hops,” one OF said. ‘Why not corn for liquor, and hops for beer. Hey, that will keep everybody happy.”

A sticky wicket

Another problem that is nationwide hit one of the OFs and that is the “hacking scare.” He said his bank account was hacked and he did not know it.

The OF said his credit-card carrier caught it by telling him someone was trying to open an account using his name and Social Security number. The bank instructed the OF on what to do, and one of the steps was to immediately let the police know.

This opened a conversation about the flippant use of the Social Security number as identification where on the card it says not to be used for identification — Hmmm. Then why do so many places ask you for your Social Security number? What happens if an OF refuses to give it to them? What happens if a place says credit cards only?

One OF said they can’t do that because right on your money it states that it has to be accepted. What if someone does not believe in credit cards? Are they now being discriminated against was another question.

This scribe checked the internet on using the Social Security number for identification. Only 15 entities were listed; all were related to the government.

You should say no to all the others since by law they cannot ask for it. On credit cards, a business can specify credit cards only.

When dollars and coins were printed with their inscription of legal tender, etc. the electronic world was not even a gleam in the eye. The credit card is the acceptance of the same dollar only in electronic form; therefore it is OK to specify that only credit cards will be accepted.

The same goes for refusing to accept large bills — like 100 dollar bills. The argument goes that legal tender will be accepted, only not in large amounts, or something like that.

The discrimination thing is a sticky wicket. What if a person has poor credit or has gone bankrupt by a legitimate deal that unfortunately turned bad but he or she is still working and has money, but not allowed to get a credit card — now what? The OFs dug really deep this morning.

Buying a dead horse

The OFs keep saying they have lived in the best of times, and simpler times.

The OFs were wondering whatever happened to a handshake closing a deal, no money down, come back in a couple of days, hand the guy three-hundred bucks, and the horse was yours. Now it takes two Philadelphia lawyers, reams of paperwork, and your wife and firstborn as collateral just to begin a discussion on whether the OF is able to purchase the horse in the first place.

Then a vet is required, and the state asks for six 10-page forms to be filled out and notarized that the horse is healthy. Then the sheriff becomes involved to prove the horse wasn’t stolen.

Then the American society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has to check the living quarters to see if they are sufficient for the horse to live in once you get it home. The process takes so long that in the interim the horse has aged and died.

The OF is now out of his collateral of wife and firstborn, and still does not have the horse. Such are the times of today.

Those OFs who are afraid the days of the handshake deal is done and bemoaned the fact at Kim’s West Winds Diner in Preston Hollow were: Bill Lichliter, John Rossmann, Roger Chapman, Harold Guest, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bob Snyder, Karl Remmers, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Herb Bahrmann, Jake Lederman, Ted Feurer, Ray Gaul, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me.