My husband is like a relentless teenager. When he wants something, he persists until it’s easier for me to say “yes” just to get him out of my hair.
So it was with the chainsaw that he set his heart on, the one I wrote about previously. Like any parent of a relentless teenager, I said “no” firmly at first. This is what I do when I still have the energy to resist his persistence. As the months wore on and he wore on my nerves, I took to saying nothing. I ignored it and left the room. After one year of his constant campaign, I tried a different tack — the one parents use when they are knowingly warning of potential disaster. After all, I am a Southern country girl, and I was taught early to fear both God and a chainsaw.
“My friend Charlie’s neighbor was cutting up a tree in his yard that fell during a storm. The chainsaw kicked back on him, hit an artery in his leg, and he bled out before the paramedics could get there.”
I paused for a beat.
“He was only 48.”
He rolled his eyes.
“I know to be careful,” he said.
This is what all teenagers tell their parents just after they have rolled their eyes.
So Tink, being as wily as a teenager, decided to reroute his path around me and get my family on his side. This isn’t hard to do. They always take his side and, usually, they all begin sharing stories of my unreasonableness.
But this time was different.
“I want to get a chainsaw,” he said to Rodney, knowing that his brother-in-law is his No. 1 ally.
Like teenagers do, he threw a look at me that said, “Da-dah!”
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than Rodney grabbed his pants leg, pulled it up, and said, “Let me show you the scars I have from a chainsaw. Here’s one, there’s one and, oh, that one? That one was a really bad ’un. That ’un should’va killed me.”
Like any smart teenager, Tink retreated quickly. If he couldn’t have reinforcements, he definitely didn’t want me to have any.
A couple of days later, he said to Louise, “She won’t let me have a chainsaw.”
Louise stands by Tink like Billy Graham stands by the Bible.
“Rodney!” Louise hollered. “Come here and show Tink all your scars from a chainsaw.”
Tink’s face paled.
“They’re dangerous,” she said.
I clapped my hands with joy and laughed. It feels good when everyone’s on your side. Now, I know why Tink likes it so much.
That toned him down for a couple of days, but he started back up again. Like any worn-out parent would do, I caved.
“OK. But it has to be a small one. A training chainsaw.”
We walked into our local hardware store.
Miss Hazel said, “Well, hello there! What are you two lookin’ for today?”
“Tink wants a chainsaw,” I said.
Her smile vanished. “Ohhh, they’re dangerous. You gotta be careful with them things.”
Tink got the message.
“I’m going to be really careful,” he promised as he studied the instruction book.
We should be this fortunate with all teenagers.
Still, y’all pray for us.
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