The day started out as every other day has since I’ve been prescribed a heroic dose of antibiotics for a pair of ear infections; with me speedily tip-toeing to the closest toilet, and discharging something the color and consistency of highly pressurized hot chocolate into it. Despite my wife and I knowing “MAY CAUSE DIARRHEA DURING TREATMENT” is printed all over the bottle of horse-sized pills I dip into twice a day, I still do her the courtesy of running the faucet during my frequent bouts of expulsion, hoping against hope that the babbling stream will somehow mask the gruesome noises coming from behind the bathroom door. It does not work. In fact, I would go as far as to say the act of masking the bad thing almost serves to amplify it, like hanging a pine scented air freshener in a morgue during a rolling summer blackout. On the infinite spectrum of ways one can wake up, the past five mornings land somewhere between “house fire” and “rolling over to spoon your wife, only to find it’s a serial killer wearing her cleaved face like a dead skin mask.”
Not being one to let a little humiliation get in the way of having a good day, I sat down in my office, and buried myself in work. None of the software I use to manage accounts was functioning, forcing me to remember what I’d set them to the night before, and spend several hours recreating all of my work manually.
Needing a break from the computer, I decided I’d run some errands. I let the dog hop in the car to come along for the ride, and I stopped at the end of the driveway to check the mailbox before hitting the road. A giclée art print I’d ordered for my wife as a surprise had arrived. It had been folded six or seven times in order to fit into the small mailer it came in, making it completely unfit for framing. I tossed it and a handful of envelopes onto my passenger seat, noticed the look of frustration-nearing-rage creeping onto my face in the rear view mirror, and continued toward the main road.
Lowe’s was out of the metal flatbed carts one would typically use in the gardening section, forcing me to load a plastic shopping cart with approximately four-hundred pounds of pelletized lime, fertilizer, grass seed, natural insecticide, and a Scotts handheld broadcast spreader I’d had my eye on for a while. Having breached the maximum load weight for the cart, two out of four wheels seized, forcing me to angle my shoulders down and put all of my weight into shoving the cart across the store, through the register line, and all the way out into the parking lot, as if I was bulldozing a rack of blocking dummies for old white men with clipboards at the NFL Combine.
Once back at home, I got an email from my wife, telling me the $25 per month savings I was expecting to save on homeowners insurance after installing a security system turned out to be only $2.25 per month. After a few minutes of storming around the house and swearing at inanimate picture frames and window treatments, I responded.
“I’m going to take a lunch break for lo mein and green tea with Evan at that Chinese joint in Rochester.”
As I got out of my car at the restaurant, my watch strap broke; sending it crashing to the ground, where it joined my rationality, well being, happiness, and hopes for a bright future.
My spirits were mended after an hour spent with great friends and truly excellent spicy chicken lo mein, so when I got home, I decided “heck, why not get some of this lawn stuff taken care of before it gets dark.”
I pulled the Scotts Turf Builder 23-lb Broadcast Spreader (a $40.48 value) out of my car, loaded it up with pelletized lime, set the spreader dial appropriately, and began walking up and down my lawn, firing little pH balancing soil nuggets this way and that. The sun was warm on my face. A slight breeze rustled the tree tops as I went. All was right with the world again, and I was a truly reformed man. I giggled at how ridiculous I was for allowing myself to be upset over trivial things, like shopping carts, and diarrhea. I mean, life is so much more important than that, right? You just have to play through the pain, and that’s when things get better. It’s moments like these that really put the human condition into —
I looked down. The broadcast spreader wouldn’t move forward anymore. I checked around it, but didn’t see any roots, rocks or branches that could have impeded its path. I pushed it again. Nothing. Getting on my hands and knees, I discovered the problem — the plastic differential that connected the wheel axle to the spreader had snapped after ten minutes of use, rendering my brand new Scotts Turf Builder 23-lb Broadcast Spreader completely useless.
And that’s when I finally lost it.
I had no idea what to do with my rage, so I went ahead let my rage dictate the next several minutes without any input from me. I did a full lap around my property, speed walking and pumping my arms like a WWE wrestler walking down the aisle toward a steel cage match. I picked up a rock and I threw it into the woods as hard as I could. I kicked a tree. I made to scream, but not wanting to upset my neighbors, I tensed up my entire body, and let out a whisper-level, red-faced, close-fisted “fuuuuuuuuuuccckkkkkkkkk” that hissed through my clenched teeth like a tea kettle.
The insanity train only showed signs of slowing down as I was storming toward the broken spreader, realizing that hurling it into the stratosphere would only keep me from getting a refund, further sledgehammering my day into the bowels of perdition.
Conquered and broken, with the ghost of a not-yet-dead Kenny Rogers reminding me to “know when to fold ’em”, I walked inside, leaving the mangled plastic device in the yard as an artistic representation of the toll 4/17/2017 took on one Michael A. Boulerice.
“Tomorrow’ll be a better day”, I told myself as I tip-toed to the bathroom to expel the last ounce of dignity I had left to my name. “Yeah, tomorrow’s going to be alright. I can feel it.”