"working on my faults and cracks..."


Coldest of Calendars

Many a harsh Michigan winter ago, my brothers and I hammered framing nails, wheelbarrowed construction scraps around, and traded dirty jokes alongside a man named Eric. A shock of yellow hair topped leathery skin, his wiry frame hiding from the raw cold in stained, and torn Carharts. Blaring ZZ Top over our tinny boom box speakers, like a blonde orangutan with a tool belt, he swung lazily between the wooden trusses, measuring, throwing chalk lines, jigsawing, and brandishing his mammoth framing hammer, seemingly impervious to the elements.

Eric the Contractor.

My father had hired him to help us build our umpteenth garage to aid in storage of a contemptible virus--a rampantly spreading collection of unusable machinery, inoperable automobiles, and unwearable sports equipment. So momentous the occasion, and so grand was this umpteenth garage, that my father also hired all of us boys to help him. Understand that I use the term "hired" rather flippantly here though, as it simply meant we were allowed continued residence under the same roof, at the same dinner table, and in the same beds. My father was also kind enough to request for our services on December Saturdays, and again during Christmas vacation--thus guaranteeing our uninterrupted participation without school getting in the way.

On one particularly rotten cold afternoon, I remember holding one end of Eric's measuring tape, my miserable, and skinny ass wobbling on frostbitten toes, when I spitefully asked him if he'd rather freeze, or burn to death.

"Oh, freeze. Definitely." was his quick, and hardly hypothetical reply.
"Can you just imagine anything worse than the unbearable pain of burning to death?" he laughed in response.

Why yes. Yes, in fact I can imagine something worse than the pain of burning to death. How about the pain of freezing to death?

Who can blame him though, right? Ever since Empire Strikes Back, there has never been a cooler** way to (almost) die, than by slicing open one's own pack animal to keep warm. I just figured with Eric, he'd whip out that jigsaw, and carve open the nearest stomach--even if it were his own--just to keep warm for a few more moments. Man, what an awesome way to die.

Flash forward to last night, in my tiny Japanese apartment, whose heater has mysteriously failed. I've spent the painful shivering moments since, trying to find out just what the shit was so appetizing to mighty Eric the Contractor about freezing to death. I'm certain there could be nothing badass about waking from sleep just in time to be crushed under the frozen water vapor weight from your own breath. The tidy Japanese police would thaw out my corpse, and find had been desperately spooned open at the abdomen--a tragic attempt at keeping warm like our mighty contracting hero, Eric.

I think Daikin-san owes me an apology.

And a new soup spoon.

** pun intended

9 contributions to this piece:

Kathryn said...

Ahhh, Eric. I still have absolutely no idea how that garage ever got finished, what with him showing up early, leaving late, and eating lunch for an hour and a half every day...

Sarah said...

You should consider getting a kerosene heater. I have one and it keeps my apartment warmer than my a/c unit can. AND I can put my kettle on top of it and get hot water to use to make instant soup/ramen or tea if the mood strikes me.

Dagbert said...

But then I wouldn't be able to bitch about it anymore.

Sarah said...

But then you could bitch about the possible death from carbon monoxide!

Dagbert said...

I like where these story possibilities are going.

Sarah said...

See? You could also bitch about the possible fire hazard, the icky gas smell when you turn it off, and how friggin expensive kerosene is getting.
Oh and let's not forget having to open your window/door every half hour for a full minute to let out all that carbon monoxide that had built up.

Zach said...

I too would rather freeze to death than burn. For support I turn to the Wild Thornberries and Saw 2. Wild Thorberries they show her just getting tired due to the thin atmostphere (of a mountain) and laying down to freeze to death very peacefully. In Saw2 a guy slowly roasts. Watch and see!

The thing with burning to death is it all depends on temperature. Depending on what exactly is holding the flame is how fast you'd die. Getting gasoline on you and burning to death would suck very much, and could take a while. Happened to a woman on Law and Order: SVU :P

Q1: Does Eric the Contractor win at everything forever?

Q2: Would you remember to open the window every half hour for a full min. or is sarah looking to take you out of the picture?

Dagbert said...

A1: Yes, I believe so. Somewhere out there, Eric the Contractor is sitting at someone's lunch table, sucking down a grilled cheese with tomato soup, and winning.
Winning the shit out of that lunch.

A2: Quite certain of it.

Kimbrolynn said...

You think not allowing comments on the latest blog before this will stop me from commenting! Haha!

What you said... goes two ways, and it was f'ing awesome and I think you should let people bitch about it ;)

Hey, do as you say... lets turn this shit into a battleground! Mwhahahaha!

And yeah, totally classless... pfft. I mean, who needs to use pencils anymore anyway. And desks! What's up with that junk!

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