That SpaceX rocket blew up last week and the company called it a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”
Would that I had that kind of euphemistic imagination one afternoon last week in my backyard, while communicating with my stakeholders, the neighbors. Instead, I reminded myself of my mother who, beleaguered by family criticism of her chain smoking, was asked by her five-year-old niece, “Nana, why do you smoke?”
“Because it tastes good,” she rasped.
I’m a comparative people-pleaser.
Occasionally I have had some famous blurts, such as when I involuntarily told a person in a meeting who had been gassing on inanely for many minutes on end to “shut the fuck up.” Or another time when a golf partner was talking while I was putting and as I walked by him, I made the talking motion with my hand and exclaimed, “Yackety-yak-yak-yak!”
Last week there was another one.
You see, it had been a very long day at work, and tomorrow also promised to be a very long day, of another kind.
It was 5:00 and all I wanted to do was mow my bionically growing springtime lawn before it got so out of control my little push mower wouldn’t handle it.
But on the way through the kitchen I got caught up in a teary conversation with a family member, on FaceTime. Goddamn!
On my way out to the yard, my wife told me the garage door wouldn’t close. So I fixed that.
On my way back through the gangway, I saw a dead rat that I’d been meaning to drop in the dumpster. So I did that.
Finally, forcing the mower over and over the tall, thick stands of grass, I heard my wife trying to talk over the screaming, choking reels. “I think something’s wrong with Charlie’s dick.”
“Something’s wrong with Charlie’s dick.”
“How do you know?”
We turned the spaniel over on his back, and sure enough: Lots of leaves and twigs and other detritus stuck to the oddly viscous wiener. My wife went in to get the scissors and came back and started cutting off the hair that held the schmutz.
Just then, three of my neighbors appeared at the fence, two women and one man. Dog lovers, all.
“What’s wrong with Charlie?!” one asked.
For a moment, it did occurr to me that if there was ever a time for a euphemism, this was it. I was once offended by a beer cooler in the grocery store with an invitation to “Drink while you shop.”
But after the day I’d had, and the day I was facing and the work I still had to do, I decided I had neither the imagination nor the energy to muster something soft.
And so I heard myself say, “There’s something wrong with his dick.”
The two women practically bolted off down the gangway. But later my wife said she might have seen a little smile on the man’s face.
POSTSCRIPT: The dick is fine. I trust the neighbors are, too.