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LISTEN...
by: Max Burbank

I donít mean to complain. Because Iím not the complaining type. Iíve always said if you donít have anything nice to say, donít say anything. Civility is what Iím all about and I can take a lot of pain. But itís not good to bottle things up. Sometimes you have to get something off your chest even if it goes against your grain.

See, I hurt my back. No big deal, nothing I canít work around. I just wanted you to know if Iíve been a little curt lately, a little Ďoff the cuffí, thatís why. Probably you havenít even noticed, but I have, so I just wanted to let you know what was up and say Iím sorry and I hope the stains come out, and while it looks like a first degree burn to me which is no big deal, if you say your Doctor says itís second, well, heís the doctor Iím sure.

The painís mostly in my legs, and honestly I donít even notice it most of the time, itís just walking thatís a little hard and standing, and after a while sitting. But itís not sharp pain, just dull. Kind of deep, constant, dull pain, nothing shooting or anything. Iím sure it hardly compares to a Ďsecond degreeí burn. 

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you by way of explanation, Iíd never have brought it up otherwise and we donít need to talk about it anymore, honestly, itís nothing, embarrassing more than anything else really and certainly in no way any fault of yours. So lets just drop it, all right? I mean, you didnít know, how could you, I never said, and if you didnít notice the way Iíve been limping, well, who honestly looks for that sort of thing in other people?

Plus Iíve got a touch of edema. Oh, itís nothing, just a little swelling in the feet, I wouldnít even know it was happening if the Doc hadnít noticed it when I came in for my back. I just thought, you know, maybe my shoes shrank somehow. They certainly werenít fitting anymore, I can tell you that and itís not like I can afford new shoes with what I get paid. Or your dry cleaning bill, which I canít believe you asked me to pay and I hope you realize is way out of line now that you understand about my back. Iím sure Iím not the first person to ever throw a cup of coffee at you, you really out to have found a reliable stain remover at this point. But thatís just like you, isnít it? Itís always someone elseís problem.

You know what, buddy? Until youíve walked a mile in my shoes, you can just stow it. My one size too tight, canít afford another pair shoes. Because in all friendship, Iím more than a little fed up with your constant whining. Oh Iím sorry, Iím sorry, mea culpa about a little goddamn coffee, I am so sorry, sorry I didnít THROW THE MUG AT YOU, TOO!

Do you think for one instant what I want out of life is to drag my ass out of bed at quarter to six each morning with my head fit to bust because God forbid I find a little chat with ĎOld Granddadí makes a colicky baby go down a tad smoother at two a.m., and unfortunately I lack the constitution to SLEEP RIGHT THROUGH IT like the WIFE, MY doctor wonít PRESCRIBE sleeping pills to treat my Ďexhaustioní, OH NO!!

Itís not as if when my third grade teacher asked us all what we wanted to be when we grew up, I raised my hand and said "OH! OH! I want to hike a mile to the commuter rail on a bad back and swollen feet in shoes so small an eighteenth century Chinese princess couldnít wear Ďem, and if Iím lucky the train will be standing room only! I donít want to be a fireman like Joey of a fighter pilot like Steve, I want to get trapped in a mind numbing, soul crushing, dead end CUBICLE FARM and get a written warning for throwing a little coffee at one of the other GOD DAMN DRONES!!"

I mean, did you ASK ME?! Did you say, "Hey, there, Max, I can see youíre reading a book on your half hour lunch, but I was just wondering, wouldnít you rather listen to my irritating, reedy voice narrate the excruciating tediata of my weekend? Arenít you dying to learn all about the complex physical workings of my new gas grill on a level of detail usually reserved for covert military briefings? Or would you rather I just ate a whole bulb of garlic, climbed up on your chest and did an amateur ROOT CANAL ON YOU WITH A LOBSTER FORK, A HAMMER AND A CAT BRUSH?!?"

So anyway, the Doc says Iíll be right as rain in a week or so, and if not, thereís always a battery of humiliating, painful and mostly unnecessary tests followed by complicated surgery that may not even work, but Iím not even thinking along those lines yet, so you certainly shouldnít. Honestly, Iím too occupied with my older daughterís trial to spend much time worrying about my silly old back, I mean, they charged her as an adult and sheís only six for gosh sakes. How fair is that?

My point is, being the kind of guy who keeps things to himself I realize people may have wondered why I was being so cranky lately, particularly you, what with the coffee and all, so thatís whatís up, and for what itís worth if Iíve hurt anybodyís feelings Iím sure Iím sorry. Now turn around and walk away and if you love your children keep your pie hole zipped. Because this is the best thermos money can buy. Know what Iím saying?

Vacuum Sealed, Stainless Steel Brutality.
Vacuum Sealed Stainless Steel Brutality.
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