Wednesday, June 12, 43 A.B.

Apocalypse On A Patio

We'd just returned from dinner last night.  I got out of the car, picked up sticks from around one of our trees, and was taking them to the barn.  Just as I turned the back corner of the house a sudden gust of wind picked up our round patio table, flipped it over, and slammed it down on the northeast corner of the concrete pad.


The glass top was instantly transformed into a cascade of what looked to be crushed ice.

"Think you used enough dynamite, Butch?" I thought I heard a finch ask.

Fact is, you don't need to use any dynamite at all if you leave the umbrella up in a good stiff breeze.

My wife soon appeared at the patio door to confirm this.

"These things happen to other people - not us," I muttered, contemplating the debris field that had suddenly appeared in my yard.

"What other people?" she demanded to know.

"Mrs. Gertha B. Grantz, 723 Bollinger Rd., Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Dennis C. Straton, 23 St. Martin's Court, Portis, Oregon."

"How do you know this?"

"I'm semi-omniscient."


"Yeah.  I always get the middle initial wrong."

I put the sticks that were still in my hand in the trash, then set about picking up the remnants of my table top.

A shop vac helped, but it still left a lot of hand-to-shard combat in the tall grass, mud, and weeds.

"There must be a million pieces," my wife opined.  "A million diamonds in the grass...."

"Nope.  Just 5540."

"Is that your semi-omniscience talking again?"

"No - just basic math.  The table top was 42 inches in diameter.  That gives us a radius of 21 inches.  Since the area of a circle is pi times the radius squared, we have 3.1416 times 21 squared, or about 1385 square inches.  The average shard looks to be about a quarter inch square.  That means there must be 5540 shards total.  Ummm, minus the two I just embedded in my palm, of course."

"I'll get a bandage."

"Get one for me, too."

Her absence allowed a herd of more difficult to answer questions to ambush my mind.

All of them members of the infamous If Only gang.

"Hey, Amigo - If only you hadn't stopped to pick up sticks before heading to the back yard, maybe your body would have deflected the fatal gust and you'd still have an intact table top?"

"If only you had put the umbrella down before you left for dinner, maybe you'd still have an intact table top?"

"If only you had taken a nap atop the table instead of gone to dinner at all, maybe you'd still have an intact table top?"

"If only you had settled for using an old, abandoned dishwasher to rest your drinks on instead of buying a patio table, maybe you'd now be living the sort of lifestyle that does not require you to get slivers of glass in your pinky?"

"If only you had tried to steal a patio table instead of buying one, maybe you'd now be in a prison where the tables are all metal and affixed to the floor and you'd not now be wondering if the fertilizer/weedkiller you put down on the grass yesterday is scarring your lungs, entering your bloodstream, and damaging your DNA as you root around with your nose to the ground like a pig in search of truffles?"

Fortunately, shop vacs work even better on questions like these than they do on glass shards provided you know exactly where to put the nozzle....

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(©Now by DJ Birtcher in the belief that there's a chance
 doing so will help work the cramp out of his hand)