Hey, you fun-loving, glassy-eyed, patriotic young squirts who each summer evening toss empty beer cans on our lawn. You’re in deep doo-doo. If you have any sense at all, you’ll get out of Dodge before sundown, because you’ve made my wife Marilyn mad.
I’ll tell you, guys, when she gets mad, the entire world and a dozen galactic time zones are in jeopardy.
I had hoped never to see her in this mood again. The last time was after a thunderstorm ruined one of her flower beds. A three-year drought followed. Mother Nature was no match for Marilyn’s justice.
It’s not me who’s bothered by a few beer cans scattered hither and yon. I mean, I grew up with beer cans flung about, and if you can’t wait until you get home to toss your empties, why I say go ahead and throw them my way. Marilyn will see that I pick them up. She says the exercise does me good.
To be truthful, I’ve always felt beer cans lying around are an essential part of the macho world. Adds an ambient air of recklessness to an otherwise blah landscape, if you get my drift. There’s nothing more masculine than the sun’s rays reflecting off empty beer cans, I say.
But Marilyn takes a narrow view. That’s because she thinks of herself as the High Pooh-Bah of gardening, and she has the worn out shovels, empty manure bags, and a crippled husband reeking of Ben Gay to prove it.
Her favorite reading materials are “Pest Control Digest,” “Mulch and Garden,” and “Compost Weekly.” Our mailbox is stuffed with nursery catalogs from exotic foreign countries like North Dakota. Other folks spend time watching History Channel reruns, but Marilyn scans the Internet for tomes of agricultural wisdom, fertilized with shredded dollar bills.
But along with this high agrarian status, Marilyn has developed an attitude. Both of her husbands — me and the man I might have been if I hadn’t loaned her my coat on a cold Colorado night — have become acclimated to her whims. We just curl up in fetal positions when she finds cigar butts in flower pots.
Her preferred weapon of mass destruction is a garden hose. On occasion she squats behind plum bushes in front of our house with a nozzle slung low on her hip. Naturally I ask, “What are you doing?”
“The next jerk who lobs a beer can this direction better have his windows rolled up,” she says.
“Aw, come inside where it’s cool and listen to some soft music,” I say. “AAUUGHHH! Why did you squirt me?”
“I hate persnickety advice.”
Well, you can see there’s no reasoning with Marilyn when she’s in one of her moods. It’s best just to be thankful she’s holding a nozzle instead of a bazooka.
Lord knows, I’ve tried to change her, but so far it hasn’t worked. One night I found her stringing wire to a mammoth loud speaker. When she turned it on, the feedback alone cracked most of our neighbors’ windows and set dogs howling in Dora. I said, “Now what?”
“I’m tired of boom boxes cruising up and down our street,” she said. “I don’t mind so much in the winter, but in the summer my petunias wilt, my tomatoes blight, and my string beans get all strung out.”
“So what’s with the big speaker?”
“The next thumping pickup truck that comes by will get a gigantic blast of Beethoven,” she said. “Windshield repairmen will love me.”
I won’t tell you about Marilyn’s more aggressive displays of wrath. Just think Biblical — cities destroyed, massive floods, lightning and thunder, plagues and famines.
So you young fellers keep tossing your empty beer cans indiscriminately if you want. You don’t bother me. But don’t cry later that you didn’t have plenty of warning.
Better to keep in mind that old religious saw, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith Marilyn.” Otherwise you may be the next victim of — MARILYN’S AWESOME REVENGE!
Bob Huber is a retired journalist.