Paul Fugleberg


I’m a firm believer that one’s center desk drawer should be cleaned out once every four or five years – whether it needs it or not. It can be educational.

Here are a few of the things I came across in my most recent center drawer cleanout:

A quick tip travel guide card from Travel + Leisure Magazine. It gives temperature conversions of Fahrenheit and Celsius scales; U.S., British and Continental clothing size conversions for men’s suits and shoes and women’s suits, dresses and shoes; and a tip calculator for 15 percent and 20 percent. I guess 10 percent tips are socially incorrect these days.

Half of an art gum eraser; six AA-size Rayovac batteries; a wooden letter opener with a chipped blade; a size 113½ Koh-I-Noor German letter pen holder; a never-used staple puller; a napkin with story notes on it; an Olympus camera warranty card and instructional booklet (could’ve used it two cameras ago); and an assortment of computer disks. 

Then there are notes taken during Paul Harvey’s Polson visit for a program sponsored by Mission Mountain College in July 1966. He spoke to a crowd of more than 500 people at the high-school gym (now the Linderman gym) and afterwards met with the Polson Chamber of Commerce in the South Shore Inn. (Mission Mountain College is a story in itself).

A couple interesting hand-written notes: On May 4, 1967, a Woods Bay angler thought he had hooked a log. No, it wasn’t the Flathead Lake monster. It was a fully dressed quarter of venison.

And some metric versions of these common sayings: “A miss is as good as 1.0693 kilometers.” “I wouldn’t touch that with a 3.049-meter pole.” You thought you saw a Texas cowboy at the rodeo with a 10-gallon hat? In metrics it was a 37.853-liter hat – all wool and .9144 of a meter wide.

The initial dedication of what is now the Veterans Memorial Bridge at Polson was held on Labor Day, 1966.

There’s a booklet titled “Lose 150 pounds in 15 months, naturally.” I know, I should read it, but I don’t need to lose that much. There’s even an envelope with a negative of Richard Burton’s September 1973 visit to this area. Of course, there’s an assortment of years’ worth of business cards, keys to long-forgotten locks, pens, pencils, tacks, screws, hooks, clips and 3M reclosable medium hanging strips, rubber bands, stamp pads, and more – a lot more, including this list of corny puns:

Propaganda: a socially proper goose.

Fish with perfect pitch: a piano tuna.

Legislative committee: a group that keeps minutes but wastes hours or days, weeks, months.

Digital computer: a person who counts on his fingers.

Shamrock: a fake diamond.

Khaki: used by a New Englander to start his car.

Behold: what a bee wrestler uses.

Paradox: two physicians.

Acrostic: a grouchy insect.

Svelte: what a sprained ankle does.

You’d better check your office desk’s center drawer. You’ll be surprised at what you might find – and learn!


Paul Fugleberg is a former editor and co-publisher of the Flathead Courier in Polson and the Ronan Pioneer. His freelance articles and photos have appeared in numerous regional and national magazines and newspapers, and he has written several books. He can be reached at pfugleberg@bresnan.net.

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