I entered the Ace Hardware on a mission.
The mission: To find and purchase an ice chopper for the driveway.
Secondary mission: Find and purchase a shovel.
As I paced up and down the aisles, the musk of plastics, metals, and chemicals permeated the air. On the third aisle, I came across a display of driveway squeegees. I picked one up to examine it, then pulled it to my side to walk on with the intent of including it in my purchase, but I stopped. “No!”, I thought, “This is not part of the mission. Do not let temptation sway its outcome!” I turned and placed the driveway squeegee back in the display rack determined to carry out my duty.
Two more aisles in, an employee asked if I needed help with anything. I know better. This is a trick. Any type of hardware store is a man’s domain and real men don’t ask for help. I notched my belt, confirmed my manhood and walked on to the next aisle feeling proud for having passed the test.
Not long thereafter, I found I had searched half the store with no success. I moved on to the second half and continued going aisle by aisle passing by temptation whereever it lept out and leap out it did. As I passed the axes and sledgehammers, I came to the last aisle. At the very end, the very last square foot of the store I had yet to search, I could see my destiny hanging on two pegs on the wall. Nearly blinded by the holy grail of my quest, I almost missed the metal tipped shovel sitting next to the ice chopper. Real men, indeed, do not need help.
I strided confidently to the register with my two items resting over my shoulder. As I exited the building, the torrentials rains eased and soon stopped. The clouds parted and the sun shone down as I walked to my car full of pride from the success of my mission.
When I got home, I displayed my prize to Ed, who shared my appreciation for the accomplishment. Moments later, we were quickly making headway dispersing the sheet of ice covering the expanse of our driveway. We were soon joined by another roommate Greg. As we worked to make headway on the extremely thick area of ice at the foot of the driveway we all heard a crack as Greg came down hard on the ice with the ice chopper. We examined the ground, then the ice breaker. There was a crack in the wooden handle of the chopper about half way down. It came my turn once more to weild the weakened weapon against nature. After two mighty thrusts of the ice chopper, the handle split in half. Like an object out of mythology, the ice chopper helped us complete our task and self-destructed once its purpose was realized.