She Could Drive A Wooden Man Crazy


On Saturday a friend said to me: “I don’t read your blog everyday, but I try to catch up when I can. The more I read, the more I wonder how you manage to avoid being killed by your wife.” I was a little puzzled by the insinuation that I could potentially be at risk or even deserving of such a fate. What would you think if someone said something like that to you?  Truthfully, I’m not sure if it was a left-handed compliment or an insult.


Since I’ve known the lady for a long time, I opted to go with compliment. For one thing, she’s not the kind of person who routinely is discourteous or insulting. In fact, I’ve never known her to be either. Consequently, why would she alter from her usual persona to throw a verbal sucker punch in my direction? Processing the information in that regard was easier for me to manage. I don’t like it when folks have the perception that I deserve to die.


The very notion reminds me of a song from my teenage years. The Kingston Trio sang the song. The stage for the hanging tree is set in the introductory opening of the song: “Throughout history there have been many songs written about the eternal triangle. This next one tells the story of a Mr. Grayson, a beautiful woman, and a condemned man named Tom Dooley. When the sun rises tomorrow, Tom Dooley must hang…”


“I met her on the mountain, there I took her lifeMet her on the mountain, stabbed her with my knifeHang down your head, Tom Dooley – Hang down your head and cry (ah-uh-eye) – Hang down your head, Tom Dooley

Poor boy, you’re bound to die – This time tomorrow reckon where I’ll be

Hadn’t-a been for Grayson, I’d-a been in Tennessee (well now, boy)…


Relatively speaking, I don’t fall in the same venue as Tom Dooley. I don’t write with a poison pen and I always ensure my reports are accurate to the best of my ability. Consequently, why would the General opt to finish me off? After all, the facts are the facts even if they are filtered through my perception.


She wouldn’t. For one thing, whom would she shepherd? Trust me, I don’t know many men who’d be as amenable to the level of instruction I am provided. Of course, there are times I value the check and balance system she provides. However, she also does a good job of ensuring I am at her beckon call.


Did I mention I can be in my office deep in thought and I’ll hear the sound of my name being called? Of course, that is my clue to appear “front and center” for a word of instruction. Even her beloved dog Barnabas isn’t that well trained. You can call to Barnabas and he’ll look at you as though whatever you want in inconsequential. Not me, whenever the General calls my name, I hum like a hummingbird. The General expects and anticipates an immediate response.


Okay, so maybe I overstated my response a little bit. I probably need to say that I hum like a hummingbird when I want to hum. If I’m not in a bird-in-flight mode, the General may have to call my name more than once. If the assignment for the day doesn’t fit my fancy, I opt to say thanks, but no thanks. Or I may opt to ignore it all together.


You know, the more I write, the more I’m beginning to think my friend is right. Maybe there is an element of truth to the notion: “The more I read, the more I wonder how you manage to avoid being killed by your wife.” I guess at times I can be a handful.


I really don’t lead a dog’s life. I’d say I’ve got it pretty good, but I don’t lead a dog’s life. Barnabas, the General’s beloved pet has it really good. He can do whatever he wants and if it is objectionable, it is always my fault. I either didn’t hear him when he barked to go outside (actually, she always really thinks I heard him, but opted to ignore him) or I don’t watch him while he’s outside to ensure he’s done his stuff.


I’m sorry, that is just too much pressure for an old man who didn’t want a dog to begin with. I’d say, “I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I do whether I want one or not. I can’t blame the General for being attached to the dog. Barnabas has an incredible disposition and he is cute. He also doesn’t shed. I mean, as far as dogs go, Barnabas is really pretty special.


Across the years, I’ve occasionally used an expression that is a fair assessment for someone who has the propensity to go on and on when you were actually done with the conversation fifteen minutes earlier. I describe it as: “She could drive a wooden man crazy.” Okay, guys, I know you’ve all met a woman like that. Fortunately, like myself, I hope you are not married to that person. But you get the drift of the prototype I’ve got in mind.


The general would say, my use of the colloquialism is incorrect.   The colloquialism really is: “Drive a wooden person crazy”. I obviously have chosen to make it more personal and frame it based on my experience. In case you need clarification, it is “a Midwestern colloquialism meaning that you could even drive a person who had no manner of sensory perception up the wall because you are beyond all natural levels of irritating”.


Let me make this clear: “The General does not fall into that category. She is not one for whom I’ve ever said: “She could drive a wooden man crazy.” Actually, now that I know the colloquialism is broader, I’m hoping the General doesn’t describe me that way.


All My Best!







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