The Tao of Ow

“Bam! Owwwww!” (OH for… I did it again!) In our house in Georgia the footboard of the bed has wooden “ears” sticking out each side, about the same height as my… hip. So when I round the corner to get to the TV or put away some clothes I have about a one in ten chance of catching one in the tenders and then folding up like a lawn chair. This was probably the hundredth time that I’d clipped it on the way by, so even though I was finally beating my wife at something (she was only up to about fifty times) I still howled in pain, cursed the stupid design, the knucklehead that designed it, the tree it was made out of and the people that built it. We’ve plotted several times to just cut the fancy ears off and be done with it… and I’ve even made it into the bedroom with the chainsaw running a couple of times, but Lori always stops me. “No… we just have to be more careful.” But that plan doesn’t work very well… so we’re probably going to keep doing it… until it really hurts.

When I was elementary school age I would go to work with my dad every day, all day, in the summer. He had a small dragline mounted on a truck that he cleaned the farm ditches east of Bonita with. All day long, I would sit on the crane shooting at frogs and snakes with my bb gun until he was ready to move forward. “OKAY!” He would yell and I would scramble into the seat, push the starter button (which cranked the truck up in gear because I wasn’t heavy enough to push in the clutch), drive forward about twenty feet and then go back to whatever I had been doing until he was ready to move again. Believe it or not, even shooting a bb gun at snakes can get a little boring for an eight-year-old, and since I didn’t dare wander off, I was always looking for something else to do, even somewhere different to sit. And so one fateful July day I made the mistake of sitting on a full can of gasoline as I watched my dad throw the cattails out of the ditch with the machine. Yeah… I KNOW! It seems stupid now but I was eight… remember? As the crane shook around and the gas in the can sloshed around, the liquid fuel didn’t get on me… but the 95-degree heat made sure that the gas fumes did bake some pretty sensitive areas.

It took about ten minutes for me to figure out that I had made a serious mistake… and that as a result my butt was apparently on fire or at least felt like it. My dad was always well aware of what was going on around the machine so he immediately saw me running and jumping around like… well, like my butt was on fire. It wasn’t his fault, but his solution to my problem added insult to injury as he made me strip down to nothing and then rinse off in the ditch with my friends the snakes and frogs that I had just been shooting at. Then he shook his head, chuckled, got back up in the crane and worked the rest of the day as I tried to hide in the crane… constantly fanning my naked scorched posterior.

So, the bad news was that my rear end burned like one of those out of control oil wells for about three days. But the good news is that I never sat on a gas can again… and I never will. Ah… who am I kidding? I probably never will!

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