Monday, September 15, 2014

"But who are you going to shoot first?" asked Elsie.

Settle down, it's not the "Elmer goes insane and murders his family" storyline that you might have thought from that introduction...

"One side, woman," bellowed Elmer, the bull. "This is man's work! I'll blast the Black Market off the face of the earth."

See? He's just going to murder a bunch of neighbors in a fit of patriotic zeal.

"It's a problem you can't solve with a shotgun," objected Elsie, the Borden Cow. "You see, a big Black Market is hundreds of little things. It's every housewife who doesn't take the trouble to check the ceiling price of everything she buys. It's all the people who count it a bargain when the butcher gives them a 12-point cut of meat for 8 points. It's the butcher who doesn't play by the rules."

"In that case," decided Elmer, "I'll need more ammunition."

That may be one of my favorite lines from Elmer ever. It's actually pretty clever.

"Facts are the ammunition you need," smiled Elsie. "For it is the people who do the buying who make or break a Black Market. People need to know the facts about our food supply -- which foods are scarce and rationed and the ration points on these foods. They also need to know which foods are unrationed, like my Borden's Homogenized Milk. That's the milk that has cream in every sip. And Vitamin D added too."

"I still think it would be easier to shoot them," grumbled Elmer.

"Nonsense," chuckled Elsie. "It's lots better to try to make people realize that rationing is simply a way to see that everyone gets a fair share of what food there is. If anyone breaks the rules, he robs someone else. For instance, if you buy Borden's Evaporated Milk without giving up ration points, some baby may have to go without. That would be a pity, for loads of doctors approve this digestible evaporated milk for feeding babies."

"Here we go again," sighed Elmer. "How did we get to talking about Borden?"

Ha. Have you not met Elsie? Sweet as can be, but not many conversation topics.

"I'm just trying to explain the reasons for rationing by talking about something I know," replied Elsie. "And Borden products make such excellent examples. Take Borden's Fine Cheeses. They are rationed because cheese is needed for the concentrated rations men eat on the front lines. So naturally cheese is scarce at home."

"Well, there's certainly no scarcity of conversation," grunted Elmer. "I don't see where anyone can get the energy to talk as much as you do."

"Goodness," laughed Elsie, "scads of folks seem to find plenty of energy in a glass of Borden's Hemo. It's the new way to drink your vitamins and like 'em. What's more it's just about the slickest-tasting, chocolaty food drink that ever trickled down your throat."

"I believe I've heard you mention that before," murmured Elmer drily. "Let's get back to the Black Market. Did I understand you to say that everything will be fine if people will just take care to obey the rationing rules and to pay no more than ceiling prices?"

"Not quite," answered Elsie. "That will help, but we must remember that some unrationed foods are also scarce at times. There are Borden's Ice Cream and Milk Sherbets, for instance. They're both tasty treats and nutritious dairy foods. So it's easy to be tempted to take more than your share. But we can't do that or there won't be enough to go around."

"It all sounds easy enough," muttered Elmer, and he seemed a little disappointed as he laid his shotgun down.

We're all disappointed, Elmer.

"It isn't so easy as it sounds," warned Elsie. "It means thinking of the other fellow every time you shop. It means that every American must Conserve, Share, and Play Square With Food!"


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