Accidents Happen


Before. I knew at a glance I was doomed.

I was just trying to be helpful. We had company coming, and the back porch needed sweeping. This is an onerous chore. The screened-in porch plays home to a brigade’s worth of spiders and wasps. It takes half an hour to rid the space of its accumulated cobwebs. I figured volunteering for this nasty job might endear me with my bride.

All proper husbands crave attention. As I am often wont to opine, even bad attention is still attention. This causes my wife no end of consternation.

A little bit of me goes a long way. I can pass for witty and charming for perhaps 750 words in print or a quarter hour in person. However, take a long car trip with me and you’ll want to abandon me at the nearest roadside exotic animal park.

On this fateful day I was running a broom around the porch, pushing the furniture out of the way to clean the accumulated dirt and demised insect carcasses before returning this stuff to its appointed location. As is so often the case, when tragedy struck it hit fast.

I’m fairly tall, and I cannot see stuff down close to the ground. I gripped the broom in my right hand and gently shoved the squat table out of the way with my left. My brain had time to register that the table felt heavier than I would have expected before I heard a most disheartening crunch.

The victim was a terracotta flowerpot. Apparently this thing had been top heavy with potting soil and perched on the little shelf underneath the wicker table. The surface was uneven, and the pot poorly balanced. It now rested on the floor in five major pieces amidst a generous pile of petrified potting soil.

From the perspective of raw value there was little harm done. A flowerpot of this sort would set you back maybe five bucks from Walmart. However, this was not your typical flowerpot. This pot was festooned with tiny little handprints. I was so screwed.

My kids range in ages from 24 to 29 today. They are all successful self-sufficient adults, and I am terribly proud of each of them. Their contribution to this particular piece of earthenware dated back at least two decades. Those hands had not been that small for quite some while. It’s not like I could scoot down to the local lawn and garden center and recreate this thing. Those little handprints represented an irrevocably extinct species. I now had a hard decision to make.

After. The synergistic combination of Gorilla Glue and unbridled
desperation can conjure some surprisingly satisfying results.

I ran through the various scenarios rapidly in my mind. I could surreptitiously discard the shattered pot and claim ignorance should my bride query later. However, not only would this involve intentional and malicious prevarication on my part, it would undoubtedly eventually put me in an even deeper hole than the one I was now trying and failing to dig myself out of. The ninth commandment specifically demanded that I not bear false witness. That option, though tempting, was flat out.

I could wait until I had my wife on a particularly delightful date when she was feeling both warm and broad-minded. Perhaps such circumstances might mitigate the damage and get me out of my predicament with less pain and suffering than might otherwise be the case.

Who am I kidding? I’ve been married for 34 years. The only thing Option 2 would accomplish would be to wreck a good date. At that point not only would I be on the hook for the broken pot, I’d be doubly doomed for having ruined a nice romantic outing as well. This course of action was also a non-starter.

I opted for Door Number Three — “Just Suck It Up and Take It Like a Man.” I screwed up my courage and threw myself on her mercy. My wife was clearly disappointed, but she is indeed an exceptional woman. I had softened the blow by Googling the best type of glue to use on flower pots beforehand.

Now our precious irreplaceable flower pot looks like Humpty Dumpty’s destitute cousin. I feel that the addition of a few battle scars gives the item a pleasantly weathered ambience. My wife, on the other hand, thinks I just ruined an irreplaceable connection to our kids’ childhood. I’m just glad she didn’t smother me in my sleep. While I might joke that bad attention is still attention and is therefore desirable, believe me when I tell you, that is not always the case.

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