Springtime means gardening. My wife prunes the peony bush while I plant petunias. “Oh, dear,” says my wife, “you’re planting the petunias upside-down.”
I throw down my little trowel. “That’s it! I can’t take this blindness anymore! I’m outta here.”
“Where are you going?” asks my wife.
“To the garage. To find that wood handle I broke off the broom. To carry it into the alley and smash it to smithereens.”
“Go get ‘em, Tiger,” says my wife.
I find the garage OK but it takes me awhile to find the broom handle. I tap my way to the alley. I’m about to bash it against the asphalt when I think, “What if a splinter flies up and sticks in my eye?”
I storm through the back yard. My wife asks me where I’m headed this time. “To get my sunglasses,” I say. She tells me it’s overcast. I tell her it’s not the sun I need to protect my eyes from.
Upstairs, I rummage through my dresser drawer. I run across my Swiss Army knife and my Cubs cap and all sorts of stuff. Finally, I find my sunglasses.
I storm across the back yard again. “Go get ‘em, Mr. Cub!” calls my wife.
Back in the alley, I can’t find where I left that broom handle. “For Pete’s sake,” I’m ready to yell, “who stole my stick?” I grope here and there but come up empty-handed. Then I think maybe I’ll go ask my wife to come and help me find the broom handle so I can smash it, and then I ask myself how ridiculous am I willing to appear here? Besides, with all this running around, I’ve pretty much simmered down. At least, the urge to smash something has been removed.
I saunter into the back yard. My wife says, “I didn’t hear the crack of the bat out there, Slugger.”
“The storm has passed,” says I. “I’m ready to plant more petunias. Let’s start with the ones that say, ‘This End Up.’ Got any?”
[A version of this story first appeared April 23, 2012]
“Poppy Red” by Richard Thompson, from the album Sweet Warrior (2007)
“A Rose for Emily” by The Zombies, from the album Odyssey and Oracle (1968)
“Lilac Wine” by Jeff Buckley, from the album Grace (1994)
“Iris” by Split Enz, from the album Waiata (1981)
“Baby Baby” by Lemon Twigs, from the album Do Hollywood (2016)
“Orange Skies” by Love, from the album Da Capo (1966)
“Anthem” by Deep Purple, from the album The Book of Taliesyn (1971)