Fanfare for the Common Man

  • Wednesday, February 6, 2013

There is a Southern term of endearment people will express when they regard someone acting like he doesn’t have the sense God gave one of His lesser creations. Like a goose. 
They will say, “Bless your heart,” and follow it with something like, “didn’t your momma love you enough as a child?” or, “were you dropped as a baby?”
In my case they usually say, “Bless your heart, were you dropped as a baby?”
No disrespect intended toward my mother, but I think someone dropped me as a baby.
I covered an event here in town this week and have taken to locking my car since someone stole my license tag. Locking one’s car after one’s license tag has been stolen is considered standard operating procedure, much like locking the barn AFTER the cow has been stolen.
Bless your heart.
After the event had completed I returned to my car and depressed the UNLOCK button on my remote control thingie. Let it be said off the bat, anyone who uses the word, “thingie” to describe an object or device, you know that person is doomed to tragic failure.
I’ve owned this formerly white Sebring ragtop for four years now and I’ve used my remote control thingie to both lock and unlock my car. Every time.
So when I depressed the UNLOCK button and nothing happened, I was more than a little consternated. I stood there in the parking lot, in the middle of town, and regarded my car as if it had somehow been disobedient or disrespectful.
It did not unlock upon my request. So I pressed the unlock button again. Still nothing.
I then stood there in the parking lot and regarded my remote control thingie as if to ask, “What’s up with that?”
Of course my remote control thingie didn’t respond.
I pressed the button again, and again.
I even growled as I pressed the button and held it down indefinitely, believing like smacking the VCR with a hammer, that the pressure of my thumb will somehow magically seep through my remote control thingie’s plastic cover and fix whatever was broken inside.
No such luck. My car would not unlock. I was stuck.
What did I do?
I was downtown. I had to get home. I saw a police car pass and took a few steps to chase it down. I stopped, realizing such a venture would be foolish and foolish looking.
I went back into the office and looked for a coat hanger so I could perhaps break into my car and get it started. No coat hangers were anywhere to be found.
I had just one option – walk the mile and a half home and get my spare remote control thingie, and walk a mile and a half back and unlock my car.
So I started down Main Street toward home, totally aggravated.
Again, let me say I’ve owned this car for four years and not once have I used anything other than my remote control thingie to unlock my car.
Out of sight, out of mind I say.
I was halfway down Main Street, almost to Piggly Wiggly when I pulled out my remote control thingie to curse it.
“You failed me and I must walk home because of you.”
That’s when I saw my car key.
And in “five Mississippis” the little pinball of my brain connects and it occurs to me, use your car key.
Bless my heart.

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