••KEEP••Lee Pitts Mug
Lee Pitts is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email them at leepitts@leepittsbooks.com.

I have a psychologist friend who told me that the best way to break bad news to someone is in the traditional bad news/good news format. She insists that it’s best to tell the bad news first and then cheer them up with the good news last, but I don’t know about that. Here are just a few examples of how people you deal with on a regular basis might break some bad news.

From Your Banker– “The bad news is the bank has recently been sold, and the new owners don’t do ag loans, so you’ll need to find alternative financing for your operating loan and the loan on your ranch within 48 hours. The good news is I have a cousin who is a loan shark for the mob, and I told him about your situation, and he’s agreed to loan you the money necessary to pay off the bank at 18 percent interest compounded daily. His name is Scar-Faced Vinny, and he’ll be in touch with you soon.”

From Your Doctor– “The good news is there’s a treatment for your condition that includes taking one of these little pills daily for the rest of your life.”

“But Doc, the prescription you wrote is for only three pills.”


“Yes, I’m afraid that’s the bad news.”

From Your Preferred Seedstock Supplier– “The good news is that only five of the bulls out of the 2,500 head we’ve sold in the last five years were sired by a well-known herd sire now found to carry genes for three deadly genetic defects, including being born with five legs, a curved spine, or a tail where an ear should be. The bad news is that you bought all five. But wait, here’s some more good news. As a way of saying sorry, we’ll give you ten percent off on any bulls you buy in our upcoming sale if you buy ten head or more.”

From Your Fiance– “The good news is I have discussed it with my parents, and we’re planning on a small wedding. The bad news is I’m not going.”

From The Feds– “The bad news is that even though no endangered red-headed pollywogs live in your water troughs, our scientists have hypothesized that it would be possible for them to live there. Therefore ALL water troughs on your ranch will have to be fenced off from your cattle, and you’ll have to maintain them at the proper temperature and degree of fullness at all times. The good news is that you can still run cattle on the rest of your ranch… for the time being.”

From Your Veterinarian– “The bad news is that your cow is suffering from a very expensive disease. The good news is that if she doesn’t survive the treatment and we have a negative patient outcome, I’m a taxidermist, and I also buy hides. Either way, you’ll get your cow back.”

From Your Favorite Cattle Feeder– “The good news is your cattle performed exceptionally well, are currently at their optimum weight, and cattle prices are the highest they’ve been in months. The bad news is that none of the Big Four meatpackers want to buy them.”

From Your Lawyer– “The good news is that I met with your wife today, and she informed me that she recently invested $5,000 in two pictures that could be worth millions of dollars, and I think she’s being conservative.”

“That’s great news. She always has had a good eye and is a brilliant businesswoman. So tell me, what could possibly be the bad news?”

“The bad news is the two pictures are of you and your secretary.”

From Your Favorite Leatherworker– “I have some good news and some bad news to tell you. The bad news is that your husband was in my shop today and accidentally fell into one of my big upholstery stitching machines. The good news is that when you get him back, he should be fully recovered.”

From Your Best Friend– “I’m just gonna get this over with and give you both the good news and the bad news all together at the same time. Your wife is cheating on both of us.”