Sound advice from Roger Miller and me

Years ago singer Roger Miller wisely told us that you can’t rollers skate in a buffalo herd. It seems obvious but somehow I feel better that he validated that for us. Miller went on to verify that you can’t take a shower in a parakeet cage or drive around with a tiger in your car and you’re probably wasting your time to go fishing in a watermelon patch then he reminded us that you can be happy if you’ve a mind to.

In recent years we’ve been told that if we’ve work hard enough and think positively we can do anything but when I heard Miller’s song this week for the first time in decades I was reminded that there are some things you just can’t do. As you might imagine, I gave it some thought and came up with my own list of things that you simply can’t do.

You can’t go bowling in a telephone booth, in fact you probably can’t find a working telephone booth. You can’t pitch a tent on the Golden Gate Bridge and you can’t play ice hockey on a Phoenix parking lot but you can play Frisbee golf if you really want to.

You can’t get good bacon at a motel breakfast bar, you can’t eat a slice of a mathematic pi, you can’t fricassee a rubber chicken and you can’t trust a vegan to grill a decent steak but you can eat cottage cheese if you can stomach that stuff.

You can’t look manly with a Euro man-bun, you can’t a job with a bone through your nose, you can’t bust a bronco wearing a tight pink skirt and you can’t impress the ladies if you live with your mom but you can be “studly”… if your wife lets you.

You can’t win an argument with your angry wife, you can’t date her sister if you value your life and you can’t complain about her cooking while she’s holding a knife, but you can watch Dr. Phil with her to avoid certain strife!

It occurs to me that there are also many things that you probably can do but you really shouldn’t try … like me trying to use rhyme in that last paragraph. I’m not a rapper, a poet or even a second grader and I really should leave the rhyming to those experts.

You should never watch golf if you want to stay awake, you shouldn’t order steak from a seafood joint, you should never loan money to a cousin named Spike and you should never use two hands to start a chainsaw with the blade between your legs but you can ride a unicycle if you like dental work.

You shouldn’t believe anything that Brian Williams says, you shouldn’t trust a news channel that has to tell you that they are fair and balanced, you should never mistake a Facebook post for a fact and you absolutely shouldn’t think a multi-millionaire presidential candidate give a flying leap about what’s good for you but you can believe anyone you want if you’d rather not think.

You should never mess around in an alligator’s mouth, you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Jennifer Anniston to return your calls and you should never pitch a tent on her mansion’s front lawn, but you can defy a restraining order or floss a gator if you’re braver than me.

You should never tell your wife that her butt looks big, you shouldn’t even make a joke about her butt looking big and you definitely shouldn’t write it for the whole world to see but I was talking about your wife so it doesn’t bother me!

Although you can’t deny that reminding us not to roller skate in a buffalo herd was a solid and entertaining public safety reminder, the best advice that Roger Miller gave us in that famous song was that “You can be happy if you’ve a mind to.” He even reminded us that if you want to be happy that you just need to “knuckle down, buckle down and do it, do it, do it.”

So, if you’ve got the blues you shouldn’t waste your money on therapy. Just remember not to roller skate in a buffalo herd and you can be happy if you’ve a mind to. I believe it’s really that simple but most of us just forget to “do it, do it, do it.”

Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at


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