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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Which Is Worse — Being Crushed to Death or Choked by Begonias?

Silly rabbit… coherence is for kids.

The wife and I made a Home Depot run today. It was our first in a few weeks. Well, my first in a while, at least. I think she may have popped over last weekend to pick up a couple of things, but I haven’t been on the premises since… wow, I don’t even know. Since I went to get a propane tank for our grill, maybe, in anticipation of our fabulous party a few Saturdays ago.

(Oh, by the way, sorry if you notice me using phrases like ‘fabulous party’ and ‘popped over’. I watched an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy about an hour ago. Apparently, it takes a while to wear off.)

Anyway, we went to the Depot on a quest for concrete, or concrete-like substances. We have a series of low (and not-so-low) garden walls in front of the house, all in various stages of disrepair. Taken together, I’m pretty sure we have every freakin’ type of stone wall known to mankind on our property. I fully expect to clear out weeds in the back yard sometime and unearth the rest of Stonehenge.

In all seriousness, though, we have a bunch of different walls. A veritable plethora, even. Just off the porch, there’s a short red brick affair. Walk along the sidewalk toward the stairs leading to the street, and you’ll pass stone block, some slatey sort of thing, and a flat patchwork kind of large-stone jobbie. Get to the street, and holding up the hill — and therefore the house — is an uneven mosaic wall with stones of varying sizes, and cracks of various panic-causing lengths and depths. All of our walls have cracks, in fact, and they all have places with loose stones, or leaning blocks, or weird jagged edges that look like they’ll tumble at any moment. It’s as though the flowers and grass are pissed off, and are busting loose — albeit at the piddly rate of a couple of measly inches per year — to rise up against their humanly oppressors. Namely, us.

And, of course, the single most valuable weapon during any uprising is lots and lots of concrete. And concrete-like substances, of course. So we went looking for some today, to stem the tide of these rogue vegetative vandals. I figure that if we can just patch up the biggest cracks, we’ll buy back a few years’ time before we really have to deal with the problems, and rebuild some of the walls. Which is not a project that I’m eager — or likely — to undertake.

You see, I come from a long line of ‘red thumbs’. Some people are green thumbs; they know all about plants, and how to grow them, and care for them, and make them flower and flourish, and most importantly how to prevent them from revolting against their humans. These people… are not my people. No.

My people have red thumbs — red, swollen, misshapen thumbs with gnarled knuckles and blackened nails. Our thumbs get that way from botching home improvement projects. We hit them with hammers, we feed them into table saws, and we burn them with blowtorches. We wear our twisted and charred digits like badges of honor, to commemorate the projects that we’ve tackled around the house. Tackled, that is, and failed miserably, usually barely escaping with our lives. We’re simply not meant to improve our houses — if we had any damned sense, we’d just be happy living ‘as-is’, and moving from home to home as the old one falls into disrepair. We’d be nomads, I suppose, dragging neighborhood after neighborhood down with our inertia. Not the ideal way to live, of course. But at least we’d no longer have thumbs so ugly that we have to wear mittens to go out in public, or so grossly swollen as to require their own seat assignments when we fly. It’s not the easiest way to live, let me tell you.

And so, the prospect of rebuilding walls is not one on which I like to dwell. Walls are made of heavy stuff — bricks and concrete and cinder blocks and mortar. Even now, my thumbs are throbbing in sweaty anticipation.

(And while I’m generally pretty happy when some part of my body is ‘throbbing in sweaty anticipation’, this is different. It’s not quite the part of my anatomy that’s usually being ‘aroused’, for one thing. And for another, the ‘action’ being anticipated doesn’t normally include having the dangly bit in question crushed under a half-ton of cement. I mean, shit — I like it ‘rough’ and all, but that’s just damned silly.)

Anyway, at some point, the walls are coming down, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be the one building new ones in their place. So, I’ll probably be losing a foot, or an ear, or worse, before long. But in the meantime, we picked up some sort of squeeze-bottle mortar and a caulk gun. That should buy us a few months, at least, until I can read up in my ‘Brick Walls for Dummies‘ book. This ‘wall caulk’ not the heavy-duty shit, of course, but it’s also relatively safe. I figure the worst that’ll happen is that I’ll smoosh my thumb with the caulk gun trigger, or glue my head to a wall with a gray glob of goo. But — assuming that I pry myself away before the crap dries — I should get out of it alive. This time.

We’ll probably tackle the walls tomorrow. Hopefully, it’ll go well. But if not, you’ll know that I’m lying under a broken pile of rubble, or that the plants just cut to the chase and came after me. And they’re smart, the little bastards. They can’t move so fast, but they’ll hit you where it hurts. And they can spot red thumbs a mile away. Maybe I’d better rebuild those walls, after all. When I die, I want flowers around my coffin, not choking the life out of my thumbs and stuffing themselves down my damned throat. I ain’t goin’ out like Grandpa.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Which Is Worse — Being Crushed to Death or Choked by Begonias?”

  1. lauryn says:

    why do mooses have dangly bits on their thraots

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