Rick's Space

Summertime Blues

Now that spring has sprung, we can forego all of the winter bashing that goes on around here.

Unlike some of you, I don’t want to be a snowbird and head south for the winter. Sure, I’ll complain about the cold, snow, and ice, but I fully believe each of us secretly enjoys a huge snowstorm that makes us immobile at least for a couple days.

Here is the thing about a frigid winter: the ground is frozen solid. The yard is covered with ice and slush. Things basically remain unchanged. That means there is no work to be done around the house.

Since I’ve written about my aversion to snow shoveling — it is a religious thing, steeped deeply in my belief in the hereafter — don’t do anything that will hasten my trip to Judgment Day.

I take great comfort in knowing that even if I wanted to do them, there are no other manly chores to be done around the house.

I used to clean the snow off my cars, but now I have auto-start wherein I put the defrosters on high and start the engine from the comfort of my own bed, over and over again, until the snow melts.

Speaking of bed, a snow day is the only time grownups can get some serious napping in without being criticized. I learned that the hard way when I first got married.

Karen: Rick, are you going to spend the rest of the day in bed?

Rick: How much longer do I have?

Karen: Well, it’s almost three in the afternoon!

Rick: In that case, I’m going to say probably.

Back in the Disco Era, we all stayed out until four in the morning and slept all day. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of jobs that way because some of my bosses weren’t on my biological clock.

Boss: Where the hell have you been? It’s four o’clock!

Rick: Sleeping.

Boss: But we start work around here at 8 AM sharp!

Rick: Oh, well that doesn’t work for me because I was just getting to bed. I could probably get here by one, as long as you let me leave early for Happy Hour.

I am relating all this because it’s time for the annual tour of purgatory known as “yard work,” which regular readers know I hate with a passion that borders on obsession.

“Rick, if you don’t rake the leaves, the grass is going to die!” Karen warned. I’m thinking to myself, “So what?” Put another way, if I can get rid of the grass, I won’t have to mow it. It’s a win-win situation.

The latest complaint is that our deck has rotten boards that need to be replaced. “If you walk on them, you could fall right through,” Karen warned.

“Don’t walk on them,” I advised.

Besides the basic excuse of being just plain lazy, I can offer up a number of other cogent reasons why I can’t do chores. I have a bad back. I’m getting old. I don’t want to fall through the deck and of course, I don’t want the poisonous ticks to kill me.

Being lazy is like an eating disorder. We’ve all experienced that — the more we eat, the more we eat. Laziness is the same — lazy begets lazy. Sleep makes me tired.

Thus, as my laziness evolves, I find myself less willing to do even the most rudimentary chores necessary for survival. For example, I no longer take the garbage out. Karen will call to me from the kitchen to take it out, and I look quizzically at her like she is mumbling in some unknown dialect, probably conceived by the devil Lucifer himself. Then I try to rise and collapse in pain, my ailing back now taking its toll on my near-helpless legs.

Since Karen refuses to give in, I have broached the subject of having a child together — someone we can nurture and share our faith with, a love child we can cherish and shelter and love (kind of like a dog that can talk).

In fact, I can look no further for inspiration than the Reverend George Foreman (this is true), who has eight sons. All of them are named George. Believe it or not it was his wife’s idea. When asked why she said, “This way when I yell, ‘Take out the garbage!’ I have eight chances someone will.”

Rick Murphy is a six-time winner of the New York Press Association Best Column award as well as the winner of first place awards from the National Newspaper Association and the Suburban

Newspaper Association of America and a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee.