We're surrounded by opposite and competing forces—mortal enemies, if you will.
Our world is teeming with toxic tandems.
There's Palestine versus Israel, Evert versus Navtratilova, Roadrunner versus Wile E. Coyote. There's Michele Bachmann vs. sound logic and factual data.
And there's me versus my own bloody self.
In order to properly explain, please allow me to cast a dusty cloud of backstory particulates in your direction. Gesundheit.
Last Friday, my family and I moved back into our house, which has been undergoing an extensive kitchen remodel. Since we were staring squarely at thirty days without a refrigerator, range or kitchen sink, we turned to Uncle Craig and his list to find an apartment a few miles from our construction zone.
The two gentle souls we're proud to call our offspring weren't thrilled with the idea; if there's any trait they share, it's the flexibility of a petrified log. And once we'd settled into our two-bedroom "vacation home," you would have thought they'd been forced to shack up in a half-empty tube of Pringles.
Let me take this time to reiterate how grateful I am to live in this age of convenience and not back in the pioneer era, because if those two had embarked from Independence, Missourah five generations ago, they'd have killed and eaten each other before the wagon train had reached the muddy outskirts of Independence, Missourah.
So yeah, back to the present. On Friday, I took the day off work to move our stuff back into our house. The countertops and backsplash aren't yet installed, and the floor still needs to be refinished, but we're good to go appliance-wise.
Manual labor is something with which I've always been comfortable. It's how I spent my summers back in high school and college, and it's still the best remedy for a restful slumber. A little lifting here, some scrubbing and sponging there, no big whoop. I performed a rudimentary cleaning of our temporary home, loaded the final boxes into the hubcap-challenged bosom of the Kia minivan and gazed at the dwindling image of the vacation abode in the rear view mirror.
I entered our house, a bag o' shoes draped over my shoulder. Every surface was coated with the dust of plywood and sheet rock and other, more traditional DNA-based sources of household flotsam. Four hours into the project, I felt tired, yet encouraged. The only obstacle remaining, the sole item standing between me and my project's completion…
…was a really, really, really big oak desk.
A few years ago, we purchased this behemoth from a law firm, and this son-of-a-bitching thing is solid. You could place your computer, monitor and printer on this thing and still have room to play air hockey.
My older daughter had originally told me that she could help move it outside, but then gave blood at school that day and bagged out. "Blood schmudd," I whispered to myself, rapt in delusional defiance. "I'll move it myself."
I removed the drawers, reasoning that they must account for at a half a percent of the wooden pig's body mass, and thereby allow for an effortless transfer to the front curb. I performed a couple test slides along the floor. Not bad. I measured the desk's dimensions to ascertain the best angle to emancipate the lumber Limbaugh from the premises.
The only solution was to rotate it onto its side and slide it along the floor. Again no big deal about scratching the floor since it was scheduled for refinishing.
First things first. After rocking several times, the juggernaut reached its tipping point. As it cascaded to the floor, a brilliant instinct took control, one which I'm truly amazed hasn't been Darwinistically weeded out of human survival behaviors.
In order to cushion its landing, I placed my foot into the path of its hulking inertia and it landed squarely upon my left big toe.
How can I describe the pain? Similar to a childbirth? Perhaps, based on how I've heard it described. It was as if someone had impaled my toe with a molten fire poker and filled the hole with five star Thai peanut sauce. I cursed so loudly and with such vehemence that an old high school friend in Tacoma called and asked if I could tone down the f bombs since he'd just put his grandson down for a nap.
I jumped around the living room like a Woodstock dancer, waiting for the nausea to evaporate and for Jesus to stop encouraging me to hop toward the light. At length, my emotions calmed.
Admonishing myself quietly one last time for being such an immense idiot, I resolved that, although I may be forced to give my life, so be it. I must purge that fat bastard from my GD house. I slid it along the floor rather effortlessly, bolstering the confidence I'd need to finish the job. I tipped it through the door and slid it down the front steps. Only one more step and this nemesis would be forever banished to the emerald grass of our front yard.
It's weight shifted slightly sideways and just as I jockeyed myself to stop its momentum...
...Remember when I told you that whole thing about the toe?
Yeah, it happened again.
Upon regaining consciousness, I lifted my head from its perch between my legs and rolled onto my side, savoring the victory.
The desk remains, in front of our house next to the street, celebrating its fourth day in the elements. Its even been pooped on by one of those practical-joker crows.
And the only evidence of the excruciating soft tissue damage it caused to its boneheaded owner is the weakly scrawled note taped to its front shortly after the apocalyptic struggle of a man against his own stupidity: