Letting Off a Little Steam


I’m usually the kind of person who doesn’t let things bother him. I like to think of myself as an average nice guy, who doesn’t cause trouble, and rarely encounters it. As most people do, I sometimes become frustrated, get upset with people or things, or hold things inside that I shouldn’t. One of the reasons I love to write humorous stories about everyday life is that it gives me an outlet to vent some of the things that build up inside me, in a gentle, funny, and non-threatening way. I put together a few short stories of people, things, and situations, that often make my blood pressure go up, just a little.

Have you run into people who don’t like you, but don’t have a definitive reason for their dislike? You’ve never done anything to them, and have always treated them with respect and dignity, yet, for some unknown and inexplicable reason they don’t like you. My wife has a girlfriend who for whatever reason despises me. When asked why by my wife, the woman simply said; “I don’t know. He just gives off bad vibes.” Bad vibes? What am I – an out of tune guitar? I wouldn’t mind as much, if there was a good reason. I could even accept something she made up. How about this. “I don’t like you because your head is so enormous that it blocks out the sun and entire species of plants, animals and insects are endangered due to a lack of life-sustaining sunshine.” I could accept that. I could even live with, “I don’t like you because you write a silly blog that makes fun of everything, but isn’t very funny.

Did any of you ever have a boss that hated you, and made your work environment a living hell? I had a boss once, who had an intense dislike for me. I could never figure it out. I was always early, stayed late, and worked hard. After leaving the job, I found out that I looked exactly like the guy who had run off with the man’s wife. I was supposedly a doppelgänger, for a man who was leisurely reclining on a sun-splashed beach in the Bahamas, with my bosses ex-wife, and living off her alimony payments.

If you do a lot of gardening, you may know this, but I didn’t. Do you know there are invasive species of weeds that look just like beautiful, magnificent flowers? I’m serious. Do you know what led me to this brilliant conclusion? Well, I’ll tell you. I just learned that for the past three months, I’ve been meticulously watering, fertilizing, and mulching a wide assortment of weeds. Some of them have even reached prodigious heights under my tender, loving, and gentle care. For months, I’ve actually been pulling out weeds from around other weeds. My wife, like many women, is a horticultural genius. I have no doubt, she knows practically every species of plant and flower in the world. Her skills involving plants and flowers, includes their proper care and maintenance. She landscaped our yard, put down ten tons of mulch, planted at least forty-five different varieties of plants and flowers, and applied the appropriate fertilizers. After finishing her flower-bed preparations, and planting hundreds of perennials and annuals, it was my job, to water everything and eliminate any weeds that might spring up.

Everything was looking good until a few days ago, when my wife came outside scanned the foliage, looked at me disapprovingly, and then proceeded to decimate the flower beds. She must have filled two garbage bags with what she told me were not flowers, but infestations of weeds. “But they’re so beautiful.” I said. “Hey mister, I think I know flowers,” she replied. “You’ve been watering weeds for the past three months.” As she continued to pull weeds, I saw her heading for a particularly large and healthy plant, which was at least four feet tall as it majestically reached towards the sun. As her gloved hands reached down to the base of the weed, I managed to yell, “Honey, for the love of God, not Big Maaaaaxxxxxxx………..!” I really loved that big weed.

I was grocery shopping the other day, and was perusing the cereal aisle. I’ve always loved a good bowl of cereal, which never fails to bring back fantastic memories of my childhood. When I say good cereals, I mean the ones that have between forty and fifty percent sugar by weight, and taste like some kind of fruit. Today’s society has become very health conscious, and many cereal manufacturers have eliminated many of the sugar-laden cereals, or drastically reduced the quantity of high fructose corn syrup. I’m the first to admit that some of the cereals I ate as a kid, weren’t the best choices for optimum health. I will say this though. Sometimes, my huge ingestion of Corn Pops, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, or Honey Smacks, were the only things that got me through, Mrs. Gundermier’s, fifth-grade math classes.

Searching every shelf, I was unable to find my three favorite cereals of all time. They are all from General Mills, used to come out every fall around Halloween, and include: Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry. Thankfully, I can still get Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Apple Jacks. The thing that’s great about them is that they taste just like fruit. It helps you save money, due to the escalating cost of produce. I recently read an article about declining cereal sales. Many teenagers, are forgoing cereal for Monster, and Red Bull energy drinks, and Starbuck’s coffee. I guess, I better start stocking up on my favorite cereals. Soon, they may go the way of the dinosaurs.

Have any of you, ever been confronted by a belligerent, and often drunk person who says, “You better watch out, because I know karate?” I call these people, “so called karate experts.” They’re the guys that are always in bars, getting drunk and causing trouble. They bump into you, steal your drinks, and hit on your spouse or partner. They also strut around like they own the world, and are always talking smack. They brag to everyone who will listen that they are masters of the martial arts, and hold multiple degrees in karate, aikido, taekwondo, and Brazilian jiu jitsu.

How about, I let you in on a little secret that most people don’t know. A real master of karate is very humble, respectful, and doesn’t tell anyone about his skills. That way, if he’s forced to use them, the inevitable butt-kicking is a big surprise. You never see it coming. They’ll casually walk up to you while whistling a popular Broadway show tune, and then bam – surprise!

A few years ago, I was out at dinner with my wife, and was being harassed by one of those “so called karate experts.” I had finally had enough and confronted him. The final straw had been when he grabbed my wife’s posterior. As I moved towards him, he stepped back, got into some weird stance, raised his hands and said, “You better stay back, because I know karate, and I will use it if necessary.” He then raised one leg, pointed a toe at me, moved his hands in a circular motion, and said, “This is the floating dragon position, and it can be very painful.” As he lay on his back semi-conscious; I looked down at him, and said, “That’s what’s called a quick right cross, with a left hook to the head, followed by a vicious right uppercut. As you can tell, it can also be quite painful.”

As we move into October, it won’t be long before we have Thanksgiving, and the day after, which has become known as “Black Friday.” It’s considered to be the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season. How many of you have the skills, the fortitude, the strength, and the stamina to get up before dawn, and go shopping on this day? I don’t. On the last Thursday of November, we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, feel the incredible love and warmth of those we care about, hold hands, pray, and pull things we are thankful for, from the deepest parts of our souls. The strange thing is, mere hours later, many people will ruthlessly run down any living creature that gets in their way, as they desperately search for sale-priced, big screen TV’s? Maybe, instead of Black Friday, we should call it, “Wow, I can’t believe people stuffed with turkey, can run so fast day.”

A friend once told me that Black Friday was just another great American tradition. I know people who enjoy the tradition of dressing up in hideous, and often disturbing costumes for Halloween, prowling darkened neighborhoods, approaching the houses of complete strangers, and demanding massive quantities of candy, with the threat of dire consequences, if chocolate is not provided. This is a fun and naughty, but relatively harmless tradition. On the other hand, a tradition of seeing how many boot prints you can leave on the backs of fellow human beings, in a frantic quest for cheap, foreign-made products – might be a bit too much.

I read somewhere that the three most dangerous places to be on earth include: an ISIS holding cell in Syria, on the streets of Pamplona, Spain, during the annual running of the bulls, and in the Wal-Mart electronics department two minutes after the doors open at midnight, the day after thanksgiving.

Is a new, low-priced laptop computer or a magnificent, discounted, fifty-two inch big-screen TV, really worth running over dedicated Salvation Army bell ringers, nuns, ninety-year old women with walkers, people in wheelchairs, and the nice young ladies of Girl Scout troop #236? Maybe it’s just me, and I could be wrong, but I think that racing to your car with the latest in Chinese-made electronics, in a shopping cart, while having a green sash with merit badges on it, clinging to your shoe – might not be a good thing.

14 Replies to “Letting Off a Little Steam”

  1. Nooo!!! You’ve left me hanging here with no end to the story! What happened to Big Max? Weed-loving minds everywhere want to know. On a more serious note (well, okay half-serious) I have a friend who has been part of my family since we were little. But my husband can’t stand him. Hubby doesn’t know why this guy ‘rubs him the wrong way’. I’ve decided since there’s no logical explanation they must have been arch-enemies in a past life. Some sort of inherited memory maybe.


    1. Thanks for the visit, and the comment. Max went to a better place. The mulch pile my wife has created, to put on our garden next year. It could be an inherited memory. I’ve had people I didn’t like, and I can usually find good in almost everyone. It’s a mystery. Thanks again. and take care.


      1. Max may come back next year then. I got a kick out of that story because my husband couldn’t figure out why I was on my hands and knees snipping tiny heads off weeds. Weeds to him, pineapple weed to me – a type of wild chamomile that makes lovely tea. It’s all in the eye of the beholder, right? Including with the ‘inherited memory’ people.


    1. Thanks for the visit. I’m glad you enjoyed the stories. My son’s a black belt in karate, and I was a kick boxer, so I’m very familiar with the subject. I hope you’re at the airport for vacation, and not work. Be safe.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the change of pace, with a few short stories. While you were enjoying lunch, half way around the world I was sleeping soundly. As always, thanks for stopping by, and your comment.


  2. Maybe I misunderstood, but that lovely big plant Maaaaaxxxx, was that your “weed” bush…..no wonder you were upset.. And a simple question, what’s with your sneaky sly connection with the nice young ladies of Girl Scout Troop #236 ???


    1. Thanks for the visit Ivor. No, Max was my decoy plant. Maxine, the lovely girl that she is – peacefully resides behind the tool shed. The young ladies of 236, used to be my wife’s old girl scout troop when she was a girl. They hold a special place in my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Black Friday + Black Belts = Perfect Together!

    I expect that your wife’s friend doesn’t like you for the same reason that your boss didn’t like you ~ you remind her of someone else who left a bad taste in her mouth. In other words, suck it up or shrug it off and go out and water the weeds! 😀


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