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Published on December 7th, 2013 | by Richard Black


“Get Out of the Way Old Man” a 40 Pound Box of Grapefruit and a Course on How to Curse a Geriatric Driver

About a month ago I ordered a giant box of grapefruit.

I didn’t need a box of grapefruit, I didn’t even want a box of grapefruit but the seventh grader peddling them needed to send her band class to Botswana or Tanzania or Rio. To be honest I’m not really sure where they were going or even if it was for her band. I lost interest pretty earlier on in the conversation and would have given her a Ben Franklin just to go away.

I’m sure the schools and the companies who provide these youngsters with their goods are aware that it’s almost impossible to decline to buy a $45 can of nuts, or anything else for that matter, from a  zesty 14 year old. Unlike the older and creepier door to door element who sells new windows, aluminum siding or brokerage services these young kids are pretty much adorable and impossible to resist.

Thank God for child labor laws or all pharmaceutical reps would be peppy little eighth graders pushing the latest in urinary aids and boner pills and we’d all end performing a headstands in the bathroom to take a leak in the middle of the night.

I briefly perused the catalog this young woman provided and decided to buy a $50 box of grapefruit instead of a cubic yard of popcorn or a metric ton of pretzels and promptly forgot about the matter.

One month later a 40 pound box of grapefruit arrived at my door and I asked myself, “what in the fuck does someone do with 40 pounds of grapefruit?”

My first thought was to bring out the old slingshot/cannon from college and launch a few pieces of citrus at the neighbors across the street. I’m sure you know the type, They’re the one’s who can’t wait to until a reasonable hour to install glass packs on a rusted out 1980 something Mustang while blaring Foreigner’s Greatest Hits at 7:00 in the morning.

Sadly my sense of propriety, and my wife, prevailed. I did not launch a citrus assault upon my inbred neighbors. Instead I boxed up a few dozen grapefruits for various friends and family members because nothing says Happy Holidays like a grapefruit.

Like most children Darcy was intrigued by the box, instead of its contents. The box went over many different transitions throughout the day; a stable for horses and later what I assume was a modern art gallery with rocks from our backyard, a mermaid doll and a stuffed bird that had seen better days somewhere during the Reagan administration.

I’ve always liked my daughter’s work even if I don’t understand it but my favorite “piece” of hers appeared to be a commentary on modern urban life I’ve dubbed “the car”.

In this piece Darcy wedged herself into the aforementioned box, pretended to drive it around the living room and then curse and shake her fist at other motorists. The phrase “get out of the way you stupid old man,” was uttered before she rammed the “vehicle” into our couch.

The Mrs. was home at the time, which was unfortunate because I wasn’t able to laugh. We both gave each other a reproachful look to express our deep disappointment at the other; the sort of look I’m used to receiving but rarely get to give, and wondered where our daughter may have heard this relatively tame invective.

I’m fairly certain the phrase didn’t come from me or my wife. I drive like a 90 year old man on ruffies most of the time and I’m generally too tired to get pissed off at the twenty something idiot who just cut me off in a modded out Honda Fit. My wife is much more… assertive on the road and can let loose with a bout of curses what will strip off the paint of a van at forty yards.

Still I’ve been known get upset behind the wheel and when the circumstance compels me I can scream with the best of them. More often than not however I’m more creative and vitriolic than telling some old timers to get out of the way.

“Move over Cletus the cow won’t be in heat if you don’t get the lead out,” or “the gastric bypass center will still be open in ten minutes,” is something more in my vein of car rants.

I can only assume that Darcy heard this phrase from one of her friends in preschool and I, for one, intend to take the matter up with the powers that be. Someone is in dire need instruction in how to curse out geriatrics driving the latest Lincoln Battlestar when they nod off and drift over three lanes of traffic at a stately five miles per hour.

Perhaps I should start up a class. I’m feeling entrepreneurial these days and hell, if the class doesn’t work out, I can always recruit some middle school kids to sell my latest line of tequila flavored wrapping paper and lime packing tape.

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