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Tommy and the Lawn Mower

posted 8/21/2010 7:33:59 PM |
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In 1964 G.I. Joe came on the scene. There was no such thing as action figures at the time. I was almost 13 and to myself, and the rest of the guys, Joe was a doll, just like Ken and Barbie. Well, Tommy had to have one and he got one for his birthday. He played with it constantly and even slept with it. I got a lot grief from the other guys about the sissy playing with a doll. They started calling him Tammy. I tried to get my mom to make him go into backyard with it because it was so embarrassing, but to no avail.

A few weeks later I was in my room on a Saturday morning and my dad was mowing the front yard. Suddenly, I heard a loud clunk and the engine stop. “God damn it!” he bellowed. I looked out my window as he pulled the mower back. My eyes got big and a huge grin appeared. It was Joe!! One leg was cut off at the knee and he had been decapitated.

Tommy was in the back, building a model airplane. Well, naturally, I felt it was my duty to break the good news to him, so I hurried to the back yard. “Joe’s dead and dad’s mad.”
“He is not!”
Then we heard to old man bellow, “Tommy!!!”
Tommy’s eyes got big and his mouth fell open.

“Tommy!!!” the loud voice thundered from the angry man that jarred Tommy out of his temporary daze. He dashed around corner, down the side of the house, out the gate, to the front yard with me right behind. He then stopped dead in his tracks and screamed bloody murder when he saw our angered father holding out what was left of Joe. “Quit your damned crying. I haven’t even hit you yet!!!”

Well, that was just too much humor for me, so I retreated back behind the gate and laughed as quietly as I could. I certainly didn’t want to hear, “You think it’s so damned funny, I’ll give you something to laugh about!” when he was mad, much less receive the follow up. But I certainly did want to listen to the mugging so I would have more to laugh about. Unfortunately, Tommy was producing such a waterfall of crocodile tears and blubbering that the old man didn’t hit him…damn!

Finally, I heard my dad calmly, but firmly, say, “Get to your room.” The crying faded as Tommy complied. I then heard the lawn mower engine. I never found out what happened to the dearly departed, but I am sure he got a quick burial.

I would later find out that Tommy sat in his room crying as he thought he was on what we called death row. Death row was being sent to your room for an agonizing period of time before the old man came in to reacquaint you with the belt in a memorable fashion. As far as Tommy was concerned, Joe was dead and he was about to be. But, the whupping never came.

Shortly thereafter, I went into the house and was intercepted by my mother who asked me what had happened. I was chuckling as I explained it to her. Damned if she didn’t say, “You think it’s so damned funny, I’ll give you something to laugh about!” I wisely decided to go visit my friends so I could announce the wonderful news to people who had a sense of humor.

Now, our lawn mower looked like most lawn mowers of today with a side discharge. But it did not have a bag or a deflection flap, so the grass clippings and what ever else really flew out of it. I did not have the courage or the foolishness to risk reclaiming Joe’s body from what I suspected was a 55 gallon tomb. If the old man caught me with Joe’s corpse, I was convinced that my carcass would be joining his.

Later that day, I asked myself a question, “Where is his head?” I had seen where the lawn mower was at when it had led to Joe’s brutal demise and figured that the head, as well as the leg and foot, should be in the shrubbery. So, much like an investigator searching for the lost city of Atlantis or the Titanic, I knew that I had to slide in from the side between the house and the bushes and be invisible so as to not arouse suspicion. After all, this was a top secret, clandestine, covert operation. I slipped into the foliage in a quest to find Joe’s head.

As I moved along, I progressed slowly looking for evidence including how far blades of glass had been flung. Within a few minutes, I saw the source of my quest! Joe’s head was staring at me, wedged in the crux of the stems of some elephant ears. I removed it and was delighted upon examination. His nose was gone and the mower’s blade had cut into one side of his mouth that had changed his expression so as to appear dorky, seemingly drunk, and comical. With stealth, I slipped away unseen. I then quickly raced away to share my discovery with my friends. Howls of laughter reverberated through out neighborhood, through out the afternoon.

The next day, I approached Tommy in his room with my hands clasp together in front of me holding Joe’s head within. I said nothing once I got his attention as I slowly opened my hands to reveal what was within. He screamed and ran crying into the kitchen where my mom was. Through his howling and blubbering all he could say was, “Joe, Joe!” I stashed the head and went into the kitchen and saw my mother having a perplexed expression of empathy and disgust. “Well, honey, you shouldn’t have left your doll laying out on the lawn.” That just increased his volume and, again I retreated, as it was too much humor for me.

After that I would approach him grinning with my empty hands clasped in front of me and he would howl. You know, I never did find where I stashed that head…pity.

Continued in comments

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Aug 21 @ 7:38PM  
When I got to be around 15 I had gotten a much bigger allowance than Tommy. My parents decided to increase his allowance, but in so doing, he had to alternate with me and mow the yard every other weekend.

My dad was an educator; a coach, math teacher, and he taught wood shop. He had built a hinged wooden box out of scrap plywood that was placed at the far side of our detached “clubhouse” in the backyard. Next to the box was a rusty old shovel. Inside the box was a used three-pound coffee can, known as the doo can. Basically, you removed the can, took the shovel and went on patrol collecting dog doo. It was required that one go on doo patrol right before mowing the yard.

Now unlike me, but like my dad, through observation I had noticed that when Tommy mowed, he did not pay attention to what was ahead of the mower and was always running over branches and other obstructions, including the dog’s ball (my mom worked him over for that). He always mowed the same way, in a concentric pattern from the outside in throwing the clippings to the outside. As previously stated, our lawn mower looked like most lawn mowers of today with a side discharge. But it did not have a bag or a deflection flap, so the grass clippings and what ever else really flew out of it.

On this particular fall Saturday it was his turn to mow and the grass was high (November is spring in Southern California). He did doo patrol. Then, he went into the house. I slipped out, grabbed the doo can and sprinkled turds on perimeter next to the sidewalk, near the house. “That should make the sweeping a little sweeter,” I thought to myself. It worked out far better than I planned as I had underestimated the velocity and trajectory of the lawn mower.

When he got ready to do the backyard, I went out to watch. Just as I anticipated he didn’t pay attention to what was in front of the mower and ran over the poop, but it didn’t fly onto the sidewalk, it machine gunned the side of the stucco walls of the house. He didn’t notice. I was brimming with delight!!

Once you finished mowing, the old man would come out for inspection. I saw the brown splatters on the yellow walls, Tommy didn’t, but the old man damned sure did! He bellowed, “Tommy!!!”

Tommy came out and the old man slapped him upside the head, then he pointed to the wall, “Look at this shit?”
“It’s not doo, it’s mud.” Tommy retorted.
“Don’t give me that crap!! Then when why does it stink and why are there flies on it?”

Of course, I went into the house, as it was too much humor for me. Well, it wasn’t too much humor for me, just my seeing more humor than my dad did. A while later, I went back outside and Tommy had a bucket of soapy water and was scrubbing the walls with a sponge. I asked, “Doo for you?” “Turds for Tommy?” “Stench for stink?” “Pew for you?” He just gave me a dirty look. And no, he never suspected sabotage. Karma is very real with a little assistance!


Aug 21 @ 8:21PM  
Damn, you and others really tortured the poor kid growing up.

Aug 21 @ 8:23PM  
Yep, I can see why you say your parents needed a belt with troublemaker.

Aug 21 @ 8:42PM  
Damn WoW...A bit Long wasn't it?
You know I am fucking with ya..I hope everyone else see's this!?

I LOVED It!!! A Great Read...and a good write!!! Thx for the Giggles!!!
By the Way...Did "Tommy Grow up to be a "Cheerioes" Killer? Just asking

Aug 21 @ 8:50PM  
I think you needed a few more spankings than you received.


Aug 21 @ 9:25PM  
WoW I like this, it made me laugh and think of some of the things I did to my younger brother. He still doesn't trust me!
Sending a kuto you way I hope.

Aug 21 @ 9:41PM  
Since you're always brutally honest in my blogs, it my turn.

Being the youngest in my family, I fail to see the humor in any of your Tommy stories...just sadistic behavior and sick humor. Not necessairly a fact...just a personal observation.

Aug 21 @ 9:43PM  
By the Way...Did "Tommy Grow up to be a "Cheerioes" Killer?

We get along, but have little in common and rarely communicate. He still resides in southern California.

Seriously, he always lacked ambition and was lazy. He joined the navy out of high school. After leaving the service, he met and married the first girl he ever dated. He held easy dead end jobs like being the motorcycle escort for funeral processions, ferrying cars from auto auctions.

In his mid-twenties while riding his motorcycle, a company truck owned by a major construction company ran a stop sign and broad sided him.He was in the hospital for months. He recovered with physical issues. He could have pursued a desk job, but never did. He got a good settlement and eventually social security disability. He never worked another day.

His wife joined the San Bernadino County Sheriff's office in California soon after they married becoming a jail matron. She is nearing retirement. Tommy has had many health issues, many unrelated to his injuries to the wreck, notably his heart. He has had over 50 medical surgeries and has lived longer than he or others expected. They is not nearly as active as they once were, but have been involved in a somewhat moderate/liberal Baptist church where Tommy is a deacon.

Oddly enough, he rejects his own legacy as a kid an prefers to expunge the image of the cry baby, dork, snitch, and sissy. He tries to bury that as an adult like Germany tries to bury any semblance of the nazis. He despises being called Tommy. But every relative calls him that.

About six years ago I was out there two weeks before my mother died. She was bed ridden in a nursing home. My aunt and two cousins who reside in Texas were also there. Her body was shot, but her mind was sharp. She said something in front of us all of us referring to him as Tommy.
He firmly said to her, "Mom, my name is Tom."
She bristled, "Don't talk to me like that! Your name is Tommy and it will always be Tommy, and I can call you any damned thing I want."

He and my dad are not close. Much of it involves loans my dad gave him that were not repaid. He has been cut out of my dad's will.

Aug 21 @ 9:45PM  
Poor Tommy!!! What a mean mean brother you were!

Funnier than hell though!! I bet Tommy doesn't think so though!

Aug 21 @ 9:54PM  
Since you're always brutally honest in my blogs, it my turn.

Being the youngest in my family, I fail to see the humor in any of your Tommy stories...just sadistic behavior and sick humor. Not necessairly a fact...just a personal observation.

I guess I can't go a week without say what

Aug 21 @ 10:46PM  

Haven't changed much have you.

Aug 21 @ 10:52PM  
I tend to agree with soft touch, sick humor

Aug 21 @ 11:19PM  
Great writing and story flow as usual. It definitely kept me glued to the page despite my feelings of extreme trepidation...not unlike the kind I get when I'm reading a Stephen King novel.

“Where is his head?”

Oh good Lord! I saw this sentence and I knew things were not going to work out well for Tommy at all.

Yanno WoW...I'm surprised your poor brother wasn't severely depressed or anxious as a kid. I think I would have been...or at the very least slept with a chair wedged underneath my bedroom door knob.

Another's a good thing you aren't a kid now. You'd be the big dork cuz action figures are all that and a bag of chips right now. In fact...if you don't have a Bumble Bee Transformer...or at least one Spiderman or Ironman...then you're a complete geek. I'm just sayin'...

Btw..."SO WHAT" yourself!

Aug 22 @ 12:21AM  
You had fun being a mean bully didn't you? While it does have some humor these stories really do not show you in a very good light. Like I said someone missed getting more than a few spankings he deserved.

Aug 22 @ 12:29PM  
Oh dear gawd, I tortured my little brother too.. mostly cuz he was mommy's fave and everyone knew it.. and I was often in trouble because he'd say "see what sister made me do?" when I was halfway across 60 acres from him when whatever happened.

Little siblings have it coming.

Aug 24 @ 11:55AM  
Funny! Brothers...I had great story!

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Tommy and the Lawn Mower