Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Square Peg - Make It So

The Square Peg - Make It So
© S. Bradley Stoner

I’ve been busy. Really busy. Unusual for a retired guy, right? Well, maybe not so much. After all, I’m “semiretired.” Basically that means I work when I want to, or so it would seem. Not really. Yes, I could refuse a client, but generally that’s not in my nature. Besides, I love what I did for a career. I like to keep my hand in the game.

Anyway, I emerged from my self-imposed exile from the outside world last Thursday evening for a couple of hours. It would have been for only an hour, which is how long it takes to mow my lawn (yeah, it’s still growing... lots), but Bob was out in his yard. And, I noticed something strange about Bob. I don’t know if it was the tall boots or the tight pants and vermillion tunic, but there was something vaguely familiar about the get up and it got my curiosity up. Curiosity can be a dangerous thing, by the way. It certainly was Thursday and it cost me an hour I didn’t really have to spend.

Bob saw me staring at him, grinned broadly, and came trotting over to where I was gassing up the old mower. “Haloo Number One!” he called as he approached.

“I beg your pardon,” I groaned. I’m not sure I liked being called “Number One,” but I suppose it was better than being called “Number Two.” That would have been crappy to say the least.

“Whaddaya think?” he beamed, spreading his arms and pirouetting like a punch-drunk model.

“About what?”

“The uniform... isn’t it spectacular? I had it made special for today.”

I must admit I was a bit befuddled... until I saw the communicator pinned to his tunic. Okay... so Bob’s a Trekkie. Big deal. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that, because my wife loves to collect all things Star Trek. I even got her a pizza cutter shaped like the Enterprise, which, by the way, has never touched a pizza. It decorates one of her collection shelves. The one on her desk next to the baby alien lamp. And let’s face it, I’m kind of into space travel myself. I want to be a Martian... no not the sci-fi kind, a real Martian colonist. I even have my name on a list. I didn’t tell Bob that. He’d think I was nuts and we can’t have that.

In any case, Bob was disappointed. “Don’t you know what day it is?”

I thought about saying S. H. I. T., you know, for So Here It’s Thursday, but instead I just replied, “Sure I do. It’s Thursday. I have a calendar.”

“No!” Bob fairly shouted. “I mean what day this is. Don’t you watch the news or social media?”

Okay, now I was completely befuddled. “Not so much, Bob. I’ve been working.”

That threw Bob for a loop... at least temporarily... and his thought train jumped the track. “Hey, wait a minute,” he said. “You’re retired.”

“Semi,” I shot back.

“What do trucks have to do with this?” Bob looked puzzled. Sometimes he can be just a tad slow. Other times a snail would win a race with him. Finally it struck him. “Oh, you mean semi-retired. Gotcha.”

“Lord, I hope not,” I said more to myself than to him.


Please don’t go there, Bob... “Never mind, I was just thinking aloud.”

“Oh.” Bob scratched his head, a sure sign he was searching for his original topic.

I didn’t have all day to wait for him to find it. “So tell me, what is special about today?”

“It’s the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.”

“So you felt compelled to dress up?”

“Well yeah. Besides, I had to try it on to make sure it fit. I’m wearing it to next month’s Comic-Con downtown.”

“San Antonio has a Comic-Con?”

“Man, you just don’t keep up with the important stuff, do ya?”

I’ve got to admit, with all the political B.S., football stars making statements that have nothing to do with football, and the economy, I’ve kind of shunned news and social media. I don’t need the aggravation.

“Apparently not, Bob. Listen, I don’t want to be rude, but I have to get the lawn mowed before it gets dark.”

“Make it so, Number One,” Bob intoned gravely and followed me down the driveway. As I reached for the starter cord, he pointed his right forefinger and barked, “Engage!”

I pulled the cord and, as the mower sputtered to life, I wished I had a phaser. I’m not sure I would have set it to stun.