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Shell Shocked: Life without controversy is a wasted life

By Staff | Nov 1, 2017

There’s so much controversy going on in the White House that I kind of wish I had more controversy in my own life.

I would like to able to say that I have a running dispute with the plumber or a maitre’d at one of the island restaurants, or with a causeway toll collector or one of the checkout clerks at Bailey’s. Or the postmaster, the toastmaster, the Subway chef and the chief of police.

Nothing. Not a single dispute, disagreement, vendetta or controversy. How could my life be so dull? I must get an adrenalin rush by getting into a raging controversy with someone, anyone. The doorbell rang. It was the FedEx guy.

I answered the door. I was ready to rumble. “What do you want? Can’t you see I’m busy doing nothing? Do you have a civil bone in your body?”

The FedEx guy put the package down and said: “Art, you really need to slow down on your morning coffee. You’re like a raging bull. But I think you’ll like what’s in the box I’m delivering. I recognize the sender’s label. It’s the Belgian waffles you ordered.”

My rage turned to instant ecstasy. “I’ve been waiting for those Belgian waffles a long time. I can finally use our home grown Sanibel maple syrup again. Thanks Mr. Fed EX man.”

I ate my newly delivered Belgian waffles and for a spell, felt much better. But a creeping emptiness swelled over me and once again I felt the need for controversy. I know. I’ll go to Bailey’s and yell at the checkout clerk.

So I filled up a shopping cart with produce, canned food, Mallomars and yogurt. Finally it was my turn to check out. As the checkout clerk was passing the food items through the scanner I checked the expiration date on one of the yogurts.

“Hey, this yogurt expires March 2018. Don’t you have any that lasts until 2020? I may not want any yogurt until then.”

The checkout clerk smiled at me. “And here I thought that we could get through your entire food selection without any controversy. The fact is that yogurt won’t last for three years unless you want a bowl full of mold. Break down and try to eat this yogurt before next March. You’ll enjoy it more.”

She was making me angry with her attitude. I felt some buttons snap on my shirt and began to watch my skin turning green and my muscles beginning to bulge.

The checkout clerk began to chuckle and said “Honest to God, if you pull that Hulk routine once more I’m going to ban you from this store forever.”

That did the trick. I returned quickly to my normal self, paid the bill and left the store. No controversy was going to allow me to turn into the Hulk again. The last time I did I wrestled with a manatee and it won.

I needed one more adrenalin rush of controversy before I returned home to count geckos. I went to the post office and asked for a roll of postage stamps. When handed the stamps I noticed the words “USA Forever” on every stamp.

I asked the postmaster what that meant. He said that I could use those stamps without paying any more if the price of postage stamps were to increase.

I said “does that mean I need to purchase postage stamps now for the rest of my life to avoid paying more for stamps?” The postmaster said: “only if you use 1,000 stamps a day. Depends on how many stamps you use a year. Why don’t you go home and spend the next four hours checking your records to see how many stamps you actually use. Then we can figure out some arrangement.”

“Sure,” I said. “The moment I use my final stamp the price of postage stamps will go up. I can guarantee you that.”

I left the post office feeling elated. I’d already had three controversies that day and expected my next one to be with the exterminator. I could hardly wait.

-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.