Something out of nothing.

Sometimes, we have to create something where there is nothing.

Like having to create a level of tolerance for Affliction T-shirts where there is fortunately zero; or creating acceptance of some peoples’ decision to wear ankle socks. Since moving to an otherwise foreign city, I have created (read: forced) beautiful friendships where there were previously none.

Exhibit A: I now have a friend in Hershel, the retired widower who lives across the street from me in Nashville.

This relationship formed organically when I ran shrieking and flailing both arms over to his house last week. The reason for my atypical (read: typical) behavior was the ginormous flying wasp in my house hovering around my head that morning. As luck would have it, the nozzle on the Raid can I had purchased the day before was busted and janky, and I had already used up all of the Windex killing the fire ants in my bath tub the week before. (Windex is the Duct Tape of liquid chemicals, as in I can typically find a reason to use it for all sorts of things on a daily basis, and those reasons never involve cleaning windows.)

Anyway, being as a wasp inflicts more fear deep in my soul than Jake Pavelka’s Crazy Eyes, I immediately evacuated the house and ran in no particular direction other than AWAY FROM THE DANGER… which landed me first at my next door neighbor’s house.

I pounded the door and waited for her to answer and, upon her doing so, I politely asked if I could borrow some Raid. I figured Raid was a substance every functioning household should possess, as BUGS ARE THE ENEMY AND SHOULD BE OBLITERATED IN THE MOST INHUMANE WAY POSSIBLE, which clearly meant watching them be inundated with deadly chemicals and squirm their way to a torturous death. As per my life, when time and safety are both of the essence, I chose the one house on the block whose answer to my pleas was, “Sorry, I don’t keep that anywhere near my home. I am a purist and don’t support the use of hazardous chemicals.” Though shocked at her naivety, I simply didn’t have the time right then to educate her on the joys of dangerous, deadly liquids you can emit with just a mere squirt from a bottle.

So I ended up on the front steps of Hershel’s house. Hershel scared me. But Hershel wasn’t scared of a wasp. Hershel was a man who’d get stung by a hundred wasps while walking barefoot on scalding hot coals with a midget latched onto his back stabbing him repeatedly in the soft, fleshy part of his neck with a dull butter knife and describe the whole experience as just “uncomfortable.” Hershel once had to help me jump my car and at one point held a jumper cable between his teeth as he burned his fingers on my engine while smoking a cigarette and cursing out the “GD foreign car makers” in a voice sounding not at all unlike handfuls of gravel being ground up in a rusty blender. Hershel told me he didn’t have any Raid… “but I have THIS.”

“This” was a rolled-up, yellowed, decrepit newspaper that I could’ve sworn I saw JFK smiling at me from the front page.

Hershel and I scoured the house for the wasp and, upon finding it, he yelled at me arbitrarily to “just calm down.” He swatted it and killed it, but not before looking at it ominously and telling me in a serious voice, “This ain’t no regular wasp.” I asked Hershel what that meant—what kind of wasp was it, if not a regular one? He shook his head in disgust at my ignorance and told me he wasn’t a Bugologist, so how should he know? Touché Hershel, touché.

He told me to come get him if I ever had any more “ridiculous problems.” I thanked him graciously for his offer and cheerfully asked his favorite kind of cookie so I could bake him a batch in return. He asked me why I would do that, as he was a “damn diabetic,” and he lit a cigarette and waddled back down my driveway.

So, while an irregular, potentially killer wasp impolitely flying around one’s home isn’t an ideal situation, I managed to find the silver lining and create a new friendship out of the ordeal—see? Something out of nothing. Now you try.

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4 thoughts on “Something out of nothing.

  1. OK, how did I NOT know you are a brilliant writer? This is hilarious and poetically visual! haha – We need to harness this! You keep surprising me, Frank…

  2. genius…. pure genius…. remember when you were face to face with a bug in your car on 10th street. you called me while i was sick in bed and demanded i jump to the rescue. I not only saved you but i saved that bug. i let him out. he now has a nice little hive on marie street.

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