Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Negative Ned

“Well, remember what you said, because in a day or two, I'll have a witty and blistering retort! 

You'll be devastated THEN!”

--Calvin (of the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes")

Like Calvin, I can never think of a good comeback when it's needed.  Take yesterday, for example, when one of my neighbors stopped as he was driving down the alley and said, "Wow, your yard looks really bad!  I mean, really bad!" To which I replied, "Thank you, Captain Obvious."  So I came across like a 12-year-old. 

What I wish I'd said is this:

Hey, Negative Ned, did you forget that I work night shift three or four nights a week?  That means that at least half of one of my days off is usually lost to sleeping, and sometimes—like this past weekend—I get ordered in on overtime, which made me lose not only most of Saturday because I worked Friday night, but all of Sunday and most of  Monday because I had to work OT Sunday night.  And did you also forget that the city dump is open only from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, which is convenient for no one except the people who work at the dump?  And did you know that the dump was closed Monday?  Because I didn't, at least not until after my son and I packed four bags of yard waste and as many sticks, tree limbs, and honeysuckle vines as his truck bed could hold and drove over to the dump only to find the gates locked.  Speaking of my son, he works nights too down at the jail, and finding a day when we're both awake after 8 a.m. and before 3 p.m. so that we can haul all this trash to the dump is well nigh impossible.  


You know, Ned, you need to turn that frown upside down.  Have an attitude of gratitude.  Allow me to offer a few suggestions of things you could do instead of being snarky to me.  First off, I see that you have a flat-bed trailer that you're pulling behind your grocery-getter.  And earlier today I saw that it was loaded down with tree limbs and other yard waste.  Since it's empty now, and the dump is closed, you must have a place where you can legally dump yard waste.  Instead of griping at me that my yard looks really bad, how about you offer to haul some of this to wherever you dump your yard waste?  Unless, of course, you're dumping illegally somewhere, and if I find out that's the case I will not hesitate to report you to the Sheriff's Department.  


Maybe what you need, Ned, is a little stay-cation.  You could have a nice picnic at Riverfront Park.

See, there's the shelter house over to the right.  You'll have to park the Soccer Mom Transport Vehicle up the road a piece and swim over there.  I hear the fishing off the picnic tables is excellent.


Or maybe you could take your boat out on the river and relax for a little while.

That's the river between those two lines of trees in the background of this photo.  Just thought I'd try to be helpful and point that out to you, since there's a whole lot of water where it's not supposed to be.  Watch out for all the debris in the river while you're out there.  We saw a set of bleachers drift by a few days ago. 

Maybe your problem is that you don't take time to enjoy the little things in life, Ned.  Like this lil fella right here.

Snapping turtles are good companion pets.  Really, Ned, they are.  I can just imagine the two of you having many happy hours together in your boat.  It might take you a bit to train him not to bite, though.  


You let me know how it goes.


  1. :-) :-) :-)

    Fortunately, I have pretty nice neighbors, since my yard projects are often In Progress or Getting Out of Hand.

    Everyone's tolerant of our differences and would never think of mouthing off like Negative Ned.

    Happily, the yard across the street is even more In Progress than mine :-) But even my neighbor who seems to cut his lawn with manicure scissors has never said anything.

  2. Yikes! Maybe Ned should together with Mean Old Man who liked to hassle me while I was working on the porch/walkway. :-)