The day started out as so many Sundays before it. What to do? What to do?
A gust of wind sorted it out.
It knocked over my badly dilapidated basketball hoop in the driveway. The reason it was able to be blown over so easily?
My laziness a decade ago.
Someone was giving away the portable hoop and because I’ve been known to dribble the ball a bit I happily agreed to have them drop it off in my driveway. The problem?
In order for me to exhibit my full arsenal of dunks I would need to weigh it down a bit. The answer?
A bag of cement from Home Depot. Just going there gives me an erection for reasons I don’t fully understand.
The original plan was for me to dig a hole and then pour the cement over the top of the base and thus turn the mobile hoop into a permanent fixture but when I put the bag of cement mix down on the back of the hoop it seemed to solve the problem so I left it there. The problem with that didn’t start for about five years.
It never occurred to me that the bag of cement mix would turn into a block of cement when Mother Nature added rain water. Fine for the first few years but eventually the paper crumbled away and then the cement started to deteriorate. Flash forward to the day before yesterday, all that remained was a handful of white powder holding down my hoop.
Or, as it turned out, not holding down my hoop. Down it came. Sunday ruined.
I had to take it apart, I couldn’t just chuck it in the bin, and the bolts had the kind of rust on them that you usually only see on archaeological digs. I could just see my neighbors making popcorn and pulling their chairs up to the window to witness what must have been one of the most amazing demonstrations of physical prowess outside of the Dwarf Empire Amusement Park in China. I couldn’t even begrudge them the entertainment value of me wrestling with rusted bolts using a set of wrenches that could have easily been named A Boy’s First Set of Wrenches.
The evidence of why I never bothered to maintain the hoop to begin with started to tumble out. I was dismantling the Wasp Empire Amusement Park. The entire thing was honeycombed with generations of wasp offspring. From the beginning they staked their claim and by the second year it wasn’t worth shooting the ball and getting swarmed by angry insects.
My neighbors must have been muttering “Get on with it” under their breaths as I paused to marvel at Nature’s handiwork.
Eventually the fun continued. When I got down to the base I realized that it was still full of sand and therefore weighed more than a dozen elephants. I would need to pour out some of the sand before I could move it.
I went into the garage to retrieve a bucket and once again Nature provided me with another glimpse of her handiwork. This time it was the decomposing bodies of two mice at the bottom of the bucket. You didn’t have to be a crime scene investigator to figure out what had happened. The bucket had been tucked under some camping supplies, a slippery tent among them, and one of them had obviously slipped and fallen in. Unable to climb out he’d called upon his best friend in the world to rescue him from the predicament. Tragedy had ensued and instead of springing his buddy the other mouse had tumbled in and got stuck as well. Well, eventually the first mouse realized that help would not arrive in time so he was forced to murder and eat his best friend in the world. You might think that the definition of best friend in the world must vary significantly in the mouse world from the human world but that’s only because you’re not stuck in a forty foot deep bucket with your best friend in the world.
After a few days… bon appétit.
Anyway, there was mouse fur and bones strewn about the bucket so any other mouse that came upon his cannibal comrade wouldn’t have needed to be a mouse crime scene investigator to know to give him a wide berth. The first mouse died of starvation and I’m sure the first mouse waiting for him in mouse heaven will be his pal that he ate.
But not as awkward as the spelling of awkward. What kind of a word has awkwa in it? If it were a palindrome I could see it but the rd really crashes that particular party.
Anyway, by the time I was done staring into my white plastic bucket I was drained so I threw the parts and pieces into the trash and dragged the sixty ton base to the side of the house. I tried tipping it over to let the sand out but apparently that had turned into cement as well.
Apparently anything left out in the rain eventually turns into cement. Which explains fossils I guess. Nature is amazing.