Back in June I started posting excerpts from my new book , which is a humorous memoir titled A Dead Tomato Plant and A Paycheck. This latest installment is from the chapter tentatively titled, The Silly Things We Do
This particular piece was inspired by a neighbor who was known to do some pretty amusing things and was always willing to let me write about them. I was saddened to hear recently that he passed away and it was ironically about the time I was working on this chapter.
I hope you are making them laugh up in heaven, Dick….
In all honesty, most of us will have to admit to being overcome with childish fits of temper at one time or another in our lives. Whether that happens frequently, occasionally or twice a day, we all have given in to the urge to throw something across the room and watch it smash into a million pieces. (We mothers have to be most careful when the impulse is to throw one of our kids).
Although we all fall prey to this type of behavior, it really takes a big person to admit it, and that being the case, I’m going to tell you what this friend of ours once did. This friend, who shall remain nameless, got mad at his telephone one day. He was so mad that just slamming the receiver back in place was not enough to satisfy him, so he ripped it off the wall.
Then he threw it down on the floor and jumped on it once or twice.
That still didn’t ease his frustration, so he kicked it around the floor a bit, kind of stirring up all the little pieces.
Then he picked up all those little pieces, put them in a brown paper bag, and went to the nearest payphone to call the phone company. (Keep in mind this was before anyone had even thought of a cell phone.)
He told the girl in the service department that there was something wrong with his phone, and she said she would have someone check the lines and they would get back to him.
“‘You don’t understand,” my friend said. “There’s no trouble on the lines. My telephone is broken.”
“Sir, do you mean the instrument itself is broken?”
“Yes, Ma’am, that’s exactly what I mean.”
“What is it that’s broken on your telephone?”
“Well, you could say the whole thing is broken. In fact, you might want to send out a whole new unit.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll have a technician come to your home.”
At that point, I would have skipped town and let someone else greet the repairman, but this friend is given to great shows of bravery as well as terrific temper tantrums. He acted as if it were nothing out of the ordinary to hand a telephone repairman a bag of junk that used to be a telephone and tell him that a Mack truck ran over it.
If I had been the repairman, I might not have been able to resist asking how the wall fared.
5 thoughts on “Fits of Temper”
Phones can be infuriating. I admire your friend’s bravery in facing that technician. Wonderful story!
I wish we could go back to the days when cell phones were still a twinkle in someone’s mind…idiots who can’t walk and chew gum shouldn’t dial and drive. How easy is it to predict that someone going 35 in a 55 is on the phone? Okay…I”m through ranting now. Thanks for the chuckle before I went off on my tangent. 🙂
Thanks for the kind words about my story. Maybe next I will post the one about when he painted his house.
His widow told me that it has been nice to have him remembered this way.
You gotta love a guy like that. He got out his frustrations on the phone, then simply called for another. No guilt. No regrets. He got the anger out and moved on.
And you told it so well, holding the one line until the end.
Straight From Hel
Thanks for the kind words, Helen. I learned about holding that line from Erma Bombeck. Not only did I read all her columns and books, I bought one of her tapes a hundred years ago where she coached writers on comic timing in writing.