My Snow Blower Crushed Me
I almost wept as I looked at her. It was supposed to have been the “winter of us.”
Her and I, we were going to have such beautiful moments together, waltzing
through a winter wonderland. But it was not to be. I gazed at her as I stood next to
the rear of the SUV. I knew she had to go away for a few months. She had no purpose
anymore. It was tragic.
Oh, you thought I was talking about a woman? No, no, my new snow blower. After
years of only having a shovel I had bought in college to dig my car out. The metal
blade was gone. Her green plastic scoop was cracking and had become discolored
over time. The screw that kept the handle together kept needing to be tightened. It
Plus, I had inherited scooping out my 90-something neighbor across the street. It
was not out of the goodness of my heart that I had added her driveway to mine. All
the other men in the community had claimed they had had heart attacks. Granted, I
had seen the ambulance in front of their places and them being wheeled out on a
gurney with an oxygen mask on their faces as EMTs applied chest compressions. I
might have even seen a tear or two in their wives’ eyes. But no one has shown me an
EKG to prove that they really had heart attacks. So, I have my doubts.
I was just as happy to let my elderly neighbor dig her own driveway out. “Welcome
to Trump’s America. Survival of the fittest! Here’s a shovel.” Problem is I am afraid of
the women in my life. They are all nice and sweet and love Jesus. Plus, they are
really terrifying. Seriously, they scare me. I try to hide from them, but they keep
So, a few years back, they added my neighbor’s driveway to my scooping. Both
driveways take about an hour-and-a-half to do, not counting the time I spend staring
up at the darkened heavens asking God why he hates me so much. Then I shower
and change, just in time to watch the city’s snowplow bury the lip of my driveway in
a mountain of snow. This is so compacted that Davy Crockett could have used it for
shelter from Santa Anna’s bullets at the Alamo. After standing in the center of the
road, shaking my fist at my nemesis city employee, there is more digging until both
driveways are freed. This cycle repeats with each snowfall.
If you are really unlucky, you get a little ice under the snow you need to scoop.
Which means you are going to end up on your butt at some point or possibly even
slide into the street to be buried by said snowplow and not found until snow melts
in the spring.
A secret to being outside in the winter is layers of clothing. The problem with this
is, after thirty you develop issues. One proper medical term for this old man bladder.
After more than an hour outside, well, you know. This means running inside, in all
likelihood tripping over the dog because your glasses have fogged over, somehow
making it to the bathroom, stripping as many layers off as possible, and remember it
is cold outside, so, it is like Where is Waldo? It is just too much.
With me injuring my hip in October, it looked like it was going to be a long winter
until my angel appeared, my very, very, VERY expensive angel. But oh she is worth
it. Not an ounce of plastic anywhere to be found on her. She is all steel, like Jesus
would want. An electric starter, heavy-duty tires, 3 blades, 6 speeds, you could feed
a good-sized human being through her and she would keep on going. I cranked her
up and every man in the neighborhood felt euphoria inside of their souls. Pushing
this baby, for the first time in my life, I was going to be THE MAN, the guy every man
wishes he was. I was going to be a snow god. Let the heavenly chorus sing!
I never got to use the snow blower this winter. They got a lot of snow to the north
and to the south of me. The only snow I got was less than an inch or two with each
fall. Just enough where I had to shovel, but not enough to justify using the snow
blower, just enough to push that broken down old shovel, the whole time putting
weight on my ailing hip. Every time I went into the garage, she taunted me, that
beautiful snow blower, all winter long.
April meant it was time to drive her to the shed across town to put her into storage.
There are moments of stupidity in everybody’s life and this was one of them. I had
decided to lift the snow blower into the back of the SUV to take it to the shed across
town for the summer. It was only a few hundred pounds. While I am not as strong as
I was in my 20s, I am still one of the strongest individuals I know. All I had to do was
get it up to the bumper, turn it horizontally, and push it into the back of the SUV.
Worse case scenario, I cannot lift it and have to call one of my brothers for help.
No, worse case scenario was my bad hip buckled and the weight of the snow
blower coming back into my body. Now, they say time slows down and your entire
life passes before your eyes. I am glad the latter part of that is not true because I
really did not want relive my teenage years. It would not be much fun watching
myself wash tables in the high school lunchroom with my bucket of soapy water and
rag for extra money. I still have the scar in my eyebrow from the moment I was
moving between tables. A beautiful girl named Stacy bent over to pick up her books,
and I walked right into a post, sending my bucket and water flying. So, that and a
few hundred other incidents involving young women are not moments I need for my
self-esteem as I cross into the great beyond.
Almost everyone I know talks about how they cannot wait to die and be with Jesus.
If there is a heaven and I am somehow able to sneak past St. Peter when he is
looking the other way, I am going to be happy just hiding out in the back because I
don’t want God noticing me because I know this would be the conversation.
God: “Trevor, what are you doing here?” Me: [gulp] God: “Just joking. Seriously, what
are you doing here? I kid, I kid.” “Your grandmothers and mom are some of my
favorite people up here. So, we are not going to talk about that, but, yes, yes, I did,
every single time. Even for a Lord and Savior those moments are quite scarring.“
“Come with me, come with me. This is the divine movie theater. You know how you
had Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, and Mel Brooks for comedy? Well, in heaven, we
got you. In fact, we are just about to start that wonderful moment in high school
where you were working up the nerve to ask Beth out. Remember that?” Me: “No.”
God: “Trevor, you cannot lie in heaven, which is why so few married men are here.
You remember it. PE class? It is a favorite among the cherubim and seraphim. Let
me hit the divine projector. Okay, you were playing bombardment with the red
rubber balls with tread on them. There is Beth. Isn’t she adorable? I took a few extra
seconds when I was making her and it shows, doesn’t it. Poor girl doesn’t want
muscle-headed teenage boys throwing balls at her with all their might. So, she is just
trying to stay out of the way. She is so great. I can see why you liked her.”
“There is your friend Bob. I love how he is antagonizing you about how you can
hardly talk in front of her. You sure are getting angry. This is the best part. I often
play this like it is the Zapruder film and I am Kevin Costner in JFK. You’re picking up
the ball, boy, you are ticked. You are throwing it at Bob’s head as he is slipping on
the gym floor.”
“Oh, look who is behind him? Beth. What are the odds of that ball hitting her right
square in the face? Now, this is where I like to play it back and forth. When I made
the human body, I did not have a clue that blood coming out a nose could spray so
far. Blood, no blood, blood, no blood. Look at the expression on your face. You can
see your whole world shattering in that moment. Hope, no hope, hope, no hope.”
“Come on, we are laughing with you, not at you. Okay, we are laughing at you. But
stay, stay, I still have clips of your relationship with the minister’s daughter to show,
and of course, Mindy, and Jill, and Carrie, and Meghan, and Jessica, how could I
forget Lori, oh, and that girl who beat up her 6’5” marine corps brother, the one you
hid out in an airport for three days from, and where are you going? Oh, and that time
you had a job cleaning apartments that people had moved out of and put what you
thought were steel ball bearings you found in a dresser in your mouth to do the
Marlon Brando Godfather impression for your friend, classic. Stay, stay, we love
Somehow I was able to regain my balance, didn’t die, and got the snow blower into
the SUV and across town to the shed. If I had been crushed by that snow blower, I
can at least take comfort that my good neighbors would gather around my body,
look down, and say, “That sure is a nice snow blower.” “Sure is.” “Do you think it is
too early to ask if it might be for sale?”