May Madness


When I awoke this morning, I found my wristwatch on the wrong arm—my right arm—which is the wrong arm, except when I’m trying to remind myself of something important….

But I’d forgotten what I’m supposed to be remembering…Of course.

I yawned and looked at our digital clock.  It said “OIL”…which was sure to be a good omen for that day.  My husband wasn’t so certain.

Raising his head from the pillow, Michael squinted through the dimness. “Why is our clock upside down?”

“I couldn’t sleep!”  I said, “So I flipped the clock.  It’s fun to make 3 letter words all night long—just ask any writer—”

The ringing of our telephone interrupted my words. “There!” I said. “That’s our $10,000 phone call.  Today’s going to be a good day for our business.  You need to take that call, Mr. O!”

Michael sighed. “It’s too early!  It’s hardly 7 o’clock…!”

“You mean ‘OIL o’clock!’   Answer that phone, sir…!”

He did.  A moment later, his voice turned happy.  “Great to hear from you, Sam! We’ll be glad to help. We’ll scratch your back, and you’ll scratch ours.  That’s how it works.  Thanks so much for calling!”

Hanging up the phone, Michael dialed his brother. “We just got a million dollar call,” he said. “Be ready to go to work!”

I smiled. “Told you so,” I said.  “Am I a good employee or what?”

It’s not easy, folks.  Being the secretary for my husband’s business is tough work.  Unfortunately, the boss hinders me on most days.  Michael insists on doing his own typing—finger by finger.  It takes him hours to do what would take me minutes.

“I have to keep in practice…!” he says, pecking away at the keyboard.

“Well. What am I here for?”

Mike sighs, squinting at the computer screen. “You’re my personal sexetary, Mrs. O! You know that!”

Actually, I have many more tasks than just being a personal sexetary.  I must accompany the boss on trips, which can be quite trying, at times.

“Look!” I say, peering at his speedometer. “You’re speeding, aren’t you?”

“Am not.  The speed limit says 65…!”

“But you’re towing a trailer! That signs says your towing limit is 55 mph.”

“They never enforce that law!” he says. “Tell me of one person who was pulled over because of it! Don’t worry, Honey. We won’t get a ticket.”


Last night we were traveling along in the darkness.  We were heading downhill at a good clip.  Suddenly, flashing red lights appeared behind us.  Michael pulled over.

The officer was young, but experienced. Glancing at Mike’s driver’s license, he said: “Mr. O’Neal…You’re a professional driver. You know better than to go 69 mph while towing a trailer.”

He pointed at a sign just ahead of us. “That sign says 55 mph for towing!”  The officer looked at Mike hard. “Besides that, you have a broken tail-light!”

Michael smiled his Aw-Shucks grin. He explained that he had a brand new tail-light replacement behind the seat. He had a harder time explaining why he was going 69 in a 55 mph zone.

Meanwhile, I took the new tail-light out of the box and showed it to the officer.  It helped considerably, and it’s a good thing!  If the officer hadn’t been won over by the secretary’s charm, he would’ve given my boss a hefty ticket.  I’m sure of it.

“A ticket…” the officer said, “is bad for your commercial record! Higher insurance rates, too!”  He paused, and then made my husband promise to never again break that speed limit law.  Michael shook the officer’s hand and we drove down the road in silence.

“I told you so,” I said.

My boss was humbled.  Briefly.

Men learn things the hard way.  In fact, my husband always does things the hardest way possible.  He says it builds stamina, both physically and mentally.

However—the other day, I found my boss breaking his own rule.  He was trying to do something the easiest way possible.

I found him aiming at the top of our Redwood trees with his rifle.  “What in the world?” I said. “Why are you shooting our trees?”

“Their branches are obstructing our internet dish,” Mike said. “These Redwoods grow way too fast!”

“So…you’re going to shoot off their branches?”

He looked at me.  “Can you think of an easier way?”

No.  I had to admit that I couldn’t.  I retreated in silence.

My husband is brilliant, really—and so is my boss.  Come to think of it, his sexetary is rather ingenuous, as well.

Now—if I can only remember why my wristwatch is on the right arm.  Or on the wrong arm, as the case might be….

I’ll remember sometime.  I really will.

Probably this evening….at OIL o’clock.

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