When the last nerve snaps, “carpe escape” and go for coffee

Categorized as Grounds for Insanity column, Rhonda's Posts

It was a 90-cent Twix bar that did it. That, and a real short fuse. According to news reports, a 27-year-old Iowan was fired after an unfortunate incident involving a forklift and the aforementioned bar.

Wanting a little something sweet, the warehouse worker deposited a dollar bill into the vending machine. Instead of dropping, however, the recalcitrant bar got snagged on a hook and hung tantalizingly there in the window. Hungry, he took the next logical step; i.e., banging and rocking the machine. Finally, feeling fairly frustrated with the fractious machine, he scrapped Plan A and did what any clear-thinking citizen would do. He went to Plan B.

Flopping his frazzled britches onto the facility’s forklift, he feverishly fingered the controls. Fairly in a frenzy now, the feckless fellow hoisted the fickle dispenser up and down six times before dropping it two feet to the concrete floor. Or so it’s been alleged.

Oh, joy and gladness! For not one, not two, but three Twix bars fell for the fatigued and famished flopper, thanks to the forklift’s finesse.

The fallout, however, continued after the three bars fell out. For when management found out about the fit he had pitched, he was fired, and “unfortunate” moved straight to “fiasco.” That fast.

As Little says, “You git what you git, and you don’t ‘frow’ a fit,” kindergarten wisdom that Mr. Forklift must have missed.

It’s easy, I’ll admit, to be critical of this Twix-incited tantrum. After all, I’ve never been forced to use extreme measures to liberate a candy bar. Though when I think about it, there’s no telling what I’d do to free a POH (Pod of Happiness) for my Keurig.

Well, eww and ouch. To quote my dad when things get dicey, “Let’s talk politics.” Or, as a scandal-ridden politician might say to a Senate subcommittee, “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

The absence of a sticky vending machine doesn’t mean there’s a lack of reasons to go all Rambo over here. There’ve been lots.

“I’ve got one nerve left, and you guys are standing on it. With cleats!” The Schrocklets learned long ago that things had hit critical mass when Mama thundered this. It may have been the burning eyes. It could’ve been the bulging veins. At any rate, that was their cue to, as a friend says, “Carpe the diem (really seize the day),” or, as I say, “Carpe your chance to escape.”

Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, before The Mister and I were outnumbered, there was an institution called a movie store. (These are nearly extinct, having gone the way of the eight track and the Rubik’s cube. Raise your hand if you remember.)

We’d gone shopping one night with two little boys, an experience that makes swimming the English channel in a bait suit sound like fun. Anyway, I was shot. Pooped. Whipped. And that’s when Mr. Schrock decided that a stop at the movie store on the way home was a stellar idea.

The way he tells it, he made his selections at the speed of light. Almost before the engine had quit turning over, he was back, movies in hand. Before his offspring had had a chance to hit each other and before his tired wife had had a chance to lose it. That’s how he recalls it.

The way I tell it, we waited. And waited. And waited. In Nicaragua, a regime changed hands; in Washington, the Senate changed hands; and in the front seat of a tiny Corolla, I was waving both of mine.

In two car seats in the back, civil unrest, defiance and disobedience as The General trolled the aisles. Inside. Where no rioters were.

“I’ve got one nerve left…” I began as Mt. St. Helens geared up to blow.

From the darkness behind me came a little voice. “Snap.”


“I said ‘snap.’ Your nerve, it just snapped.”

It’s good when AWOL daddies come back. It’s good when children go to bed. And it’s good when mommies go to coffee to heal their last snapped nerve. It is.

It’s good when mommies come back, too, and it’s good to learn some patience. Life gives us plenty of opportunities to practice, doesn’t it? From candy bars that will not drop to children who test the line; from checkout lanes that will not move to drivers that won’t move either, we’ve got chances.

While the canny person is slow to pray for this particular fruit, the wise one learns techniques. Lowering your head between your knees and counting to 100 is one, though I wouldn’t recommend it when driving.

If it’s your children, I’d advise repeating, “Must not eat kids. Must not eat kids,” until your vision clears, followed by a phone call to Grandma. This will help avoid infanticide and gives you a shot at grandkids one day.

For out-of-reach candy, you’re on your own. You could try what I do over here when things get rough. I research villas in the south of France. Call me, and I’ll give you those numbers.

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