The Grumpy Incident

He says “Hey, listen to this.”

In another room, in another realm, his sweetie says naught. She’s used to his random public address system blurtations of dubious merit. Hence the wall between them. She, on the sofa, playing “Words With Friends” on her device, and he at the kitchen table surfing the web on his Smarty Pants™ Phone.

He’s reading the local paper’s review of the police blotter. “Someone was disorderly Thursday at blah…” “Someone was disorderly Sunday at blah…” “Someone was disorderly Tuesday at blah…”

Hardly worth a shoutout to the device diddler. Still, he can almost hear the All Points Bulletin going out: Calling all cars. Calling all cars. Be on the lookout for someone, repeat, someone. First name unknown, Last name unknown. Not to be–repeat–not to be confused with anyone.

Then his eyes jump on the next blotter item like jibber on jabber. He raises his voice.

“Someone was disorderly on Monday,” he reads aloud, “at Grumpy’s”


“Did you hear that?”

“I heard it.”

“Disorderly at Grumpy’s,” he says.

“Who’s Grumpy?”

There are a lot of ways he can answer that, but he congratulates himself for choosing the high road.

“It’s a bar.”

Not a peep from the audient. (Just as certain bugs have developed a resistance to antibiotics, his sweetie, he fears, has figured how to tune him out—or worse, tune him in on a white noise frequency like the sound of 1955 TV static or Niagara Falls in any year and/or century.)

“Get it? Disorderly…at Grumpy’s.”

“Got it,” she replies.

Here he feels an odd sense of deja vu, almost certain he’s been here before, said this before and felt grumpy before in a previous life. (Most likely when he was Napoleon or Salluzzo of Gloversville.)

Anyway, he goes back to surfing. And he is thinking—he picked up the thinking-while-surfing trick in a Multi-Tasking webinar—that a lot of marriages unravel these days because of a lack of communication.

That makes him wonder how marital unraveling works. He imagines a loose thread hanging from a metaphorical sweater. He innocently pulls on it and the whole sweater collapses into a metaphorical pile on the floor, like wet spaghetti fumbled during the pot-to-collander transfer.

Thus does he grasp the essential rule of marriage: You never pull loose threads.

Still, he asks himself, what if there’s a thread hanging off somebody’s metaphorical hem line. And when somebody asks “How do I look?” well, wouldn’t he logically remove it? Of course, although wisely he would not “pull it,” or “yank it,” which could cause unraveling.

Logically, he would grab a steak knife from the kitchen.(Somebody left the good scissors outside in the garden and it rained and they got all muddy and rusted. He names no names, as this is all metaphorical/hypothetical.)

Granted, somebody might say or even shriek “Put down that knife” as his blade glinted beneath the fluorescent light. And though he would sever the offending metaphorical thread handily, he also would have to weigh the look of horror on somebody’s metaphorical face—post slice.

Probably he should offer a pre-slice warning such as “Don’t worry. I’m just going to cut off your thread.”

“Cut off my head?” somebody will almost certainly shriek, punching in 911 on her cell.

Duly noted. Without careful articulation and enunciation, a lack of communication could occur, causing an unraveling of a marriage. What irony.

He says “Hey, here’s a headline.”


“It says ‘Australians are getting fat.’”


“And this one. On the same page: ‘Antarctica is getting colder.’”


“Do you think anyone bothered to check if those two things could be connected?”

“Damn,” says his love interest. “Mary just played a word worth 173 points.”

“I mean it’s kind of obvious, no?”


“What idiots,” he says. “I bet they are connected.”

“That Mary,” she says, her words almost immediately drowned in a shusshing, rushing sound in the background. He knows that sound by heart. Niagara Damn Falls.

©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2014, all rights reserved.

This entry was posted in News You Can Use (Sort of), The human comedy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Grumpy Incident

  1. Ed.G says:

    A shout out to Glovers! Nice Touch!


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