Back when the professor was a youth—very nimble and flexible, and not wobbly at the knees—he had an experience which affected him greatly. (And still does, oddly enough.)
I had—very kindly, I might add—put away my knife throwing, tree climbing, and worm hunting—to help an incapacitated, older friend move. It was summer, I believe. We’ll call my friend Mr. Grace, which is quite ironic, as you’ll see in a moment.
The professor arrived at Mr. Grace’s abode rather early all ready to help move. Of course, I had no idea what was about to happen that hot—dreadfully hot—summer’s day.
Mr. Grace opened the door forthwith and smiled broadly.
“All ready?” he asked as he ushered me into his house.
“I was built to be ready,” I replied somewhat proudly. But I was just being playful. I should have saved the energy.
Mr. Grace laughed (and I understand why now). “Good, then. Follow me and I’ll show you what has to be done.”
Mr. Grace led the professor through a house that had boxes, trinkets, papers, and a whole assortment of messes strewn quite randomly about. He paused briefly in the kitchen, took out bug spray, and sprayed his clothes.
“Want some?” he asked.
I think I raised one eyebrow. “No, no, that’s fine.”
Mr. Grace shrugged. “Your choice.”
That should have been a forewarning of what was about to come, but the professor, in his supreme ignorance, ignored it splendidly. Looking back, I should have used the spray, but it is doubtful if it would have taken care of the true bug: Mr. Grace.
Mr. Grace led the professor out the back door and outside.
“I thought I was going to help you move?” I asked, confused.
Mr. Grace pointed towards the largest stack of firewood that this professor has ever laid eyes on. It looked as if it had been sitting there for the last century or so.
I gulped. “That?”
“That. You can use this wheelbarrow to load it into the u-haul out front. Okay? I’ll be waiting inside till you’re done. Then we’ll drive it to the new house. Okay?”
I shrugged. “Okay.”
Then the professor got down to work.
I can’t begin to describe the pain and anguish. Hour after hour after hour after hour drifted by as this professor moved load after load after load after load of wood onto the u-haul.
Mr. Grace seemed a bit impatient as he called down from the window above every few minutes to ask me if everything was going well. But the professor was moving as fast as he could.
Finally, it was done, and Mr. Grace and I set off towards the new house. The u-haul was completely full—actually over the weight limit. When we arrived at the new house, the professor made a startling discovery: There was no place to put the wood! Imagine the shock!
“So…where do I put the…wood?” I asked somewhat angrily, I suppose.
“Your choice.” Mr. Grace smiled a small smile that seemed to indicate, “Figure it out on your own.”
“Well…” I began.
“You can put it in the woods down that hill over there,” Mr. Grace said, pointing.
“But the woods need cleared first.”
“Yes, well, here’s a sickle. That’s why I offered you bug spray earlier. I’ll be sitting in the u-haul with the air conditioner on while you unload. It’s just so hot, and I can’t take the heat.”
Mr. Grace disappeared.
“Dadblameit!” I said. The professor was quite angry now. Nonetheless, I began to clear a space for the wood.
When that dreadful business was finished, I began to unload the u-haul. Since Mr. Grace was sitting in the front with the air conditioner on, the fumes from the tailpipe were practically hitting the professor in the face.
At one point, I became so annoyed that I went around to the front of the van to utter a complaint. Mr. Grace was sound asleep. The professor foolishly abandoned the mission.
Then I proceeded to load wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, stumble across torn up ground, down a steep hill, and into the woods to stack the wood.
Hours passed. When the mission was finally complete, the professor was exhausted.
“Good, good,” Mr. Grace said. “You did good. But it did take you long. All day. Anyway, when I’m ready to move the wood out, when the house is finished, you can come back and help.”
I smiled. “The professor would be a dadblame fool to come back and endure more dadblamery!”
That is what I wished to say, but I believe I just wheezed in response.
Mr. Grace looked at his watch. “And just in time too. I need to get something to eat before I feel faint.”
And that was the end of it, right there. Mr. Grace asked the professor to dinner, but I declined—respectfully.
I’m still in doubt why Mr. Grace needed the bug spray.
It was days later that I discovered the poison ivy. Far too late for a lawsuit.
Dear Punchy Family, any past experience(s) that are just plumb awful?
As the professor was toiling away, he was dreaming of this: