Albion Recorder & Morning Star Columns

Looking Out: Oops

Yard work must be done, so I’m out pruning and clipping when my old pal Tikins calls.

As we talk, I stroll up into the shade next to the garage door. Tikins begins telling me a funny story which  is a bit off color, which holds true to our usual banter. 

He’s doing a great job, building the story, and I’m already laughing, well ahead  of the punchline.

Suddenly the garage door goes up, making a racket.

“Hang on, Tikins. I can’t hear you over the noise from the garage door,” I say and he pauses, just shy of the punchline.

My beloved wife Marsha is getting into the car to head out for an errand or two. She waves at me and mouths the word ‘Errands’. I nod and wave back, then step aside in anticipation of her starting the car and backing out. I can see that she is fussing around with the mirrors, fastening her seatbelt, putting on her sunglasses and what not. This will take some time. 

“Go ahead now,” I say to Tikins. “I can’t wait to hear the punchline.”

Marsha starts the car.

“Okay,” he says. “So, he says to the nurse in the recovery room…”

My phone goes dead.

“Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?” I shout into the phone.

Marsha backs out, and through her open window as she passes me I can hear Tikins loudly slapping the punchline down, laughing at his own joke. Unfortunately, I can’t understand what he’s saying over the sound of the car engine and rolling tires.

But, I can hear his voice and laughter. Through the open window of the car. Coming FROM the car.

 Like many cars these day, the phone has automatically connected to the speakers inside the car.

Judging by the look on her face, Marsha is not amused by the great punchline.

“Call him back,” she says through the window as she pushes the red button on the dashboard to disconnect. The window goes up. 

Marsha drives away, shaking her head.

I call Tikins.

“What happened?” he asks. “All of a sudden, I’m getting to the best part of the joke and all I can hear is engine noise and a gagging sound.”

“A little modern mishap, a miracle of the digital age,” I say.


“The phone switched itself to inside the car, so only Marsha could hear the end of the story.”

“OH NO!” says Tikins.

“What’s done is done, so tell me the end of the story. It was really going to be a corker,” I say.

He tells me the punchline.

“OH NO!” I say.

“She’ll never speak to me again,” says Tikins.

“Nor to me!” I say, but I’m laughing, knowing she’s heard worse and has a very forgiving soul. “It’ll be okay.”

I hope. I wait.

She’s not home yet. She should have been home five minutes ago.

At last, she rolls in. I step into the garage from the kitchen.

Climbing out of the car she hands me a little bag with something kind of heavy in it.

“I stopped to buy something for you to share with Tikins. It supposedly has a really nice flavor,” she says.

The bag contains a bar of soap.

Tis a bitter bar to swallow, but that punchline was worth it.

Leave a Reply