Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buzz Cut, or, Hold this Nose for Me, Willya?

Stop me if you've heard this one before 'cause it involves the old man and when I think about the close calls with near disaster he seemed to engineer in my corner of the universe its a wonder I'm not typing this with a stick taped to a hockey helmet.

The first house the old boy bought was kind a smallish affair on a postage stamp worth of land. Everything was pretty compact and really, it was little more than something you'd find on a Lionel setup, size-wise.

That was ok. It was manageable and you didn't need a lot of stuff to take care of the place. Hammer, drill, couple of hooks for pictures would do you. Small tools, which is what he bought. An electric lawnmower (with a cord, these were the seventies and batteries were still the size of hot tubs) that looked like it didn't make the cut at Fisher Price. I kept waiting for it to belch bubbles instead of clippings. We had one of those trimmers that were oscillating shears for clipping the edges of the lawn. We'd have bought a weed whacker but it would have put the lawnmower to shame and we didn't want its feelings hurt.

Everything was electric. The old man didn't understand gas engines and didn't trust them. That was ok, it was a small plot of land and you could pretty much reach every corner with an extension cord.

That being said, what is ok one day most often turns to crap the next. We moved and the old boy was inspired to buy a lot of some size. So like Tuesday's casserole growing green sprouty things and smelling off, now suddenly all these cord-bound appliances were showing their limitations, distance from a socket-wise.

All of which is not to say that the old man ever learned anything from that. The lawnmower got another extension cord, the edge clipper got recharged daily and to top it off, the old boy came home with an chainsaw to take care of all those dead branches on our wooded corner of New England paradise.

Electric of course.

It was easier to start. You pushed the trigger.

It was easier to hold. One-handed would do it.

It wasn't as heavy as a gas chainsaw. It didn't need safety features like, oh, um, a clutch.

Do you see the perfect storm brewing? I didn't but here's what showed up on the horizon. One fall Saturday when I should have been hiding in a missile silo for safety I was instead hauled away from some book or TV show by this ersatz Paul Bunyon to help him trim dead branches off the tree.

Which one?

The tall fucking one of course.

I mean why the hell mess with something relatively unaffected by gravity?

Particularly on your maiden voyage with a new chainsaw. Try it out yet Dad? Of course, I squeezed the trigger and the thing runs, what else is there??

The old man then scurries up a ladder, the one that doesn't quite reach the base of the branch he's after and stretches out with a deft one handed chainsaw grasp to get that silly thing once and for all. Sort of like DaVinci's man reaching to touch God except it was me invoking the name of the Lord pretty much all in vain pleadings to get his lunatic member of the flock the flock off the ladder and into some more sensible endeavor.

Not sure if God responded that day. It can go either way. He didn't get Pops off the ladder and he didn't stop him from once having sucessfully severed the limb (tree's not his nor mine), swinging his arm down by his side to rest. This would be the resting arm holding the running chainsaw (finger firmly on trigger, lack of clutch in evidence for all who dared close enough) which then swung within inches of my face since my job was to foot the ladder for Sky Pilot.

Like I said, its debatable. On the one hand Dad didn't get off the ladder on the other hand I didn't get a bisected cranium.

We never again went on a jaunt into the dead wood again. Between my mom and I we diverted his attention every time he looked at a tree with a displeasing limb and got that certain look in his eye. It would have been too easy and too obvious to hide the saw, I hid the ladder instead. And borrowed the neighbor's motorcycle helmet everytime the old man hit fall and suggested we cut a little firewood.

Bunny on.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Bob Hope Moment

It rained here in Swellsville yesterday. A lot. Torrents as a matter of fact, making my choice of the house at the top of the hill seem almost prescient and smart.

But let's not kid ourselves. I could afford Paramour with its creaky beams, doubtful wiring and iffy windows. Real houses are for real incomes.

Whomever sneaks into the neighborhood in the early morning to drop the paper off at the farthest point from the front door but still on the property did so in the rain yesterday. I can sympathize. However, I can't match their skill set a positioning the open bag covering the paper perfectly so as to suck all the water flowing down the driveway into the maw of the thing. It was a perfect storm resulting in a paper more akin to a Bounty commercial.

I picked the bag up looking for the pet goldfish that came as a premium with my subscription.

I don't want to say it was wet, but I read the front page and the editorials at the same time.

It wasn't the Wall Street Journal, it was an instant papier mache kit dropped at my doorstep.

If I had my own tv special aimed at the Geritol set, this might actually have been funny. Thanks for sharing.

Bunny on.

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