Many’s the time I’ve come home with yellow paint on my coveralls. Caterpillar yellow – spot it a mile away. We used it to mark our cull cows. Two paint brands we’d borrowed from the sheepherders were dipped in the paint can and daubed on the cow’s rump according to their condition.

O for old or open. P for old and pregnant. So marked, we could sort ’em off the good bred keepers if they got mixed. The yellow stayed for quite a while. Well, you’ve seen how long it lasts on a road grader.

I’m wondering if that same idea might be applied beyond the world of cow workin’. Not to the point that the Middle East folks do, cutting off the hand of a thief, but just a judicious use of yellow paint.

  • For instance, how ’bout an H for horse people. It wouldn’t be used on those people who enjoy horses but are capable of a normal conversation. The H would be reserved for those die-hards who cannot talk for 10 minutes without mentioning a horse.

  • I’d suggest a G could be used on golf fanatics. Sort of a warning for the unsuspecting stranger who can’t tell a 4 wood from a sand rake.

  • B for broker. He’d be required to divulge his yellow mark at the beginning of his phone call. “Hi, Baxter, this is Bruce! How’s the family? I saw your name in the paper; wanna get rich? Oh, I’m required by law to tell you that I have a yellow B on the back of my jacket.”

  • C for candidate. Although they are easy to spot with the outstretched hand and election button proclaiming their political allegiance, a big yellow C would forearm the potential voter.

  • L for registered livestock breeders.

  • J for sale barn junkies and gyp-you cow traders.

  • A for lawyers. When seen in combination with a C, the public would be able to forgive their insufferable behavior and accept them with the same half-hearted pity one feels for a drunk who has wet his pants.

  • N on the grill and back window of a driver with no insurance.

  • CP for cowboy poets who will numb you for hours with their latest rhymes.

  • X for reporters who cross their fingers when they promise “of course, it’s off the record.”

  • F for feed salesmen with secret ingredients.

  • NPK for fertilizer peddlers.

  • T for any person – man, woman or child – selling raffle tickets, Girl Scout cookies or candy bars for the school band.

  • S for sources. As in “A source in the White House revealed today ...”

Ah, well, I guess yellow paint usually needs a minute to lull the victim into trusting them. After all, if the fish knew that the worm was actually a hook, how would a lunatic columnist ever catch any fish?  end mark