Garage (for) Sale

How to survive an apocalypse… Live next to an old guy with a garage.


The last car to see the inside of my parents’ garage was a 1972 Chrysler Newport. The car was in the garage for a week.

The men from Dad’s generation were self-reliant. They sought professional help for something major like filing a tax return or having their appendix removed. Anything else, a blown transmission, furnace repair, or building a house, they did themselves.

When our family grew, Dad did what men from his generation did. He built an addition onto our house. This need forced a conversion of the garage into a workshop.

Dad never reconverted. We referred to the structure as the hardware store. Home improvement projects could be completed for free with a trip to Dad’s garage.

In Dad’s Depot one might find a screwdriver among sandpaper, wood stain under a bag of cement, or a chair in the rafters. We decided Dad needed help restoring order to the garage. Organization would expedite projects and continue to provide free stuff. Most important, Mom threatened to bulldoze the dump unless she got the car IN the garage.

“It can’t be that bad.”

“And the last time you looked?” Mom said.

“I give Dad a list and check back in a week or two.”

“Your Dad went into the dump yesterday.  I put a bowl of chili by the door so he could smell his way out.”

It’s bad. I borrowed the Jaws of Life from the fire department to pry the door open.

“What one overlooks for the word free. Sorry Mom.”

If doomsday preppers believed they had what it took to make it through a zombie apocalypse, they’re mistaken. They don’t have old guy garages.

There’s stuff in Dad’s garage not made any more, stuff not recognizable to the current generation, stuff made in America.

It would be better if Dad built Mom a carport.

“Sell the garage.”

“I won’t touch that garage with a ten foot pole.”

There was a ten foot pole propped next to dozens of sticks and tree trunks.

“Why are there sticks in here?” I asked.

“I’m going to carve walking sticks.”

Dad could outfit an international hiking team. What’s Dad going to do with the tree trunks? Carve a 1000th scale version of Mt. Rushmore to display in the living room?

“Dad, get rid of the junk.”

“This isn’t junk. It’s usable stuff. Who said I’m getting rid of anything?”

Although our family was raised with a sense of environmental responsibility, this concept got twisted in Dad’s garage. Dad understands to reuse and recycle, he doesn’t get reduce.

I’ve no desire to live through a zombie apocalypse brought on by nuclear holocaust. We sit on big ass bombs. In a world where common sense isn’t common, mankind keeps adding to this stockpile. Two keys hold the difference between life and zombiedom and no old guy’s garage will save any of us.

If by miracle we get a collective conscience, what do you do with an unwanted bomb? Take it to the recycling center and drop it in the box marked nuclear warheads? I imagine bombs shouldn’t be clanged together like aluminum cans.

Until no threat of nuclear holocaust remains, the only thing I must save is my soul.

“Mom’s threatened to bulldoze before. Why concede to her wishes now?”

“I was on the roof fixing shingles. I had to buy nails. I knew I had a box somewhere, but rain was expected.”

I looked down. There sat two boxes of roofing nails.

“Dad, stay off the roof. Hire someone.”

Dad gave me the ‘what in the hell is wrong with your marshmallow generation’ look.

“The nails go in the sale pile.”

“You kids might need them.”

“Not if Mom killed me first for letting you keep them.”

I was reduced to a weapon called truth. Truth was tricky. We wanted to know truth, but truth made you think, question, and hopefully pushed you toward change. Change was a six letter four letter word. People found it easier to crucify the messenger. I stepped away from the fly swatter hanging on the wall.

“In the event of nuclear holocaust this junk would be dust. Most of humanity would become naked shells with bad hair and dripping flesh. The rest of us would beat laundry against rocks, barricade ourselves in pubs, or eat radioactive dirt because Twinkies ceased to exist. Do you want the car in the garage or what?”

Dad put a log in the yard to hold his coffee cup, set the chair next to it, pounded the ten foot pole into the ground, and hung a For Sale sign. You may as well be comfortable and make a few bucks while waiting for the apocalypse.

Hopefully, the car would be in the garage for more than a week.

Published in Funny Times-November 2014

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