Tales of New York will have to wait. First I must bring you a word of sca-ripture. (When Christians say, “a word” they usually mean “many words.”)
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For lo, when the sky promises to be blue, and the floodgates of the heavens close, and the seers foretell that the rains will cease for at least two days, then shall a holiday be declared at the Common Household. You shall don all manner of festive clothing and celebrate this Special Day.
|Festive clothing indeed|
It is the commandment of the master of the Common Household that this holiday shall occur every two years whether you like it or not. You shall celebrate with the ritual of the covering of the deck with a substance that is very like pitch. The stink of this substance shall reach your nostrils with a smell more powerful than the Nile River full of dead fish.
You shall gather all the male progeny of your tribe, of which there is one in the Common Household. At the hour when the sun is still low in the sky, you shall say to your son, “Awake, awake! Take up paintbrush and ladder; arise and come to my aid.”
And when your son has completed painting the outside slats of the deck, you shall say unto him, “You also need to paint between the slats.” And he shall say to you, “But I don’t want to use the ladder any more. Can I use that pole?” And you shall reply, “O, my son, there is no way to attach the paintbrush to this pole.” He will answer with a firm and sure voice, “I shall use lashings.” And you shall stand in awe at how the Boy Scouts have filled your son with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills, including rope lashings.
|Thank you, Boy Scouts, for teaching my son the skill of lashings.|
|The husband takes his turn with the new implement.|
Then you shall see that the day that the Lord has made is good; indeed, the humidity is low and the sun does not burn hot on your back. And in joyfulness you shall hum the opening bars of the Brahms’ piano concerto, the one that is disguised as a horn concerto at the beginning. Then shall your son lay down his paintbrush and run in the house. Fear not! Your son has not abandoned you. He shall remain faithful to the task you have set before him; he shall return with his iPod and speaker and shall provide the full piano concerto for you, for your family, and for the entire neighborhood. Thus you shall know that classical music is not dead; this is an awesome wonder that a 19-year-old prefers music written before the year 1900.
|Still Life With Bird Nest, I-Pod, and Wireless Speaker|
But lo, after the Brahms, your husband shall request opera, and your heart shall sink within you. Dread not! For the closest thing to opera on your son’s iPod is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. O Freude! Your joy will be restored.
And then it shall come to pass that you have finished painting all the vertical slats, and it is time to paint the horizontal surface of the deck. You shall look upon the feet of your son, and you shall ask, “Are those your only shoes? They are going to get spattered with paint.” And once again he shall arise and show wisdom, and shall wrap bags of plastic around his shoes.
Soon and very soon you shall finish your labors, and lo, you will find that it only took 3 ½ hours. And you will indeed be thankful to God that you have a husband, and a son, and a deck. And you shall breathe free with gratitude that you don’t have to celebrate “Be Glad You Have a Deck” Day for another two years.
- The Book of Exertions 3: 25-57