Saturday, March 10, 2007



Wow, six months have gone by and I have a million excuses for not posting, all of which are crap, so I will spare you. Tonight's post is brought to you by Harpoon (trademarked, if you must) India Pale Ale. For what it's worth, the regular Ale is better. On a historical note, India Pale Ale as a class of beers was invented as "mediocre at best, but will survive a trip to the opposite hemisphere in the days before the Suez Canal without becoming hideous to the point of being undrinkable." It was not meant to be good, just a good survivor. Why anyone sells or drinks it in the age of Jet Transport is beyond me, but I accidentally bought it, and I must say, if your method of refrigeration can be described as "I'll just leave it out on the porch," the stuff does survive rather antagonistic conditions reasonably well.

Mind you, I didn't come back just to ramble tediously about beer (Drink!). I wanted to advocate for a major issue. I was harmed by a commercial product this past winter (ooh, maybe that'll be my excuse for not posting - my mangled hand) in an entirely preventable Incident, and I am considering suing the Ariens Dangerous Motorized Equipment Corporation for my pain and suffering, which I estimate to be worth about $6.57.

Those of you who live here in New England with me will remember our recent storm, which managed to dump six inches of solid ice onto us. So much for the mild winter. Like you, I rocked my car out of the driveway to get to work that night, but the next morning I came home to find that the stuff had somehow hardened and become more malicious without getting any lower. I could not navigate my own driveway, and I was not going to be able to just wait for a melt-off. I had to bust out the snow-blower. Yeah, I know, back in your day, you had to shovel, none of this snow-blower crap, and you had to do it uphill, with bare feet, for five miles each way, with alligators snapping at your heels, even though you had tuberculosis and hadn't eaten for a year, etc. Stop interrupting, it's MY story. Anyway, the trouble with snow-blowers in this part of the country is that you really only need one a few times per year at most. I mean, unless you are outrageously anal, you can skip the 3-inch snowstorms, right? So out of the shed it came, a beautiful orange beast. I reread the instructions on the side of the machine regarding starting it. Prime, choke, yank, got it. I pulled the starter cord. I pulled the cord. I pulled the cord for 5 minutes. I got blisters on my hands, and I got cold and out of breath. I pulled the cord for 5 more minutes, and the blisters burst, and it hurt, and I found myself stopping to rest. I pulled the cord for 5 more minutes, and my fingers were BLEEDING. Ew. And OW. Not much to do but keep trying, and there were hopeful little popping internal-combustion noises, so I started in again. At this point, a mouse ran out of the machine and scampered around the shed, presumably to get right back in. "HEY," I yelled intellectually at him. Then I swore for a while, but it only took a few more yanks on that cord to get the snowblower started. I guess the mouse must have been hibernating rather deeply to take that long to realize that he was sleeping in a bad spot, or maybe he was certain that I would quit sooner, but come on! So I was wounded, and it didn't help that I kept washing my hands at work with the water-free hand wash at work which has lye or hydrochloric acid or something for an active ingredient, and practically burning my fingers off. I also didn't have an easy time once the Machine was started, because the stuff on my driveway wasn't really snow, as mentioned, it was Ice, so the machine kept trying to climb on top of it and bolt for freedom. After an interminable period of pushing and shoving and yanking and carrying and verbally abusing the snowblower, I managed to clear off the minimum area of the driveway. By the end, I looked and felt like Jack Nicholson at the end of "The Shining." On an irrelevant note, he was the only reason to watch "The Departed."

So now I'm suing the bastards at Ariens, for not including in the instructions for starting their machines "Be sure to remove all wildlife from the engine before attempting to start." I'm also suing the mouse. He and his family are welcome to stay in the shed. I know he has kept a nest in the artificial christmas tree, and behind the generator, etc. I don't keep any food in there, or pillowcases or whatever, so he and his nasty little rodent family are welcome, but the agreement was predicated on the idea that I would never be inconvenienced to any degree greater than having to shake the mouse turds off of my stuff. Stay out of the heavy equipment, you idiot! What are you, drunk like me? My lawyer said I have a good case. It actually sounded like "imagination" when he said it, but I know he meant "case."

Respectfully submitted, with apologies for being the second consecutive mouse story,


Sure you're back...but is it for good?
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