If we were having a beer, you would order up the first round as a way of toasting the hard working “young man” as you often refer to me.
“You know, you’re only two years older than me. It’s not like it matters.”
“It mattered in 1970.”
Yes, yes the whole draft thing, but we’ve been there and done that so I know it isn’t age you’re going after today.
“It’s just that I wonder when you’re going to wise up to the lessons that I’ve learned over my longer span on the planet.”
“Here it comes, what is it this time?”
“Not only did you fix your own driveway, but when that repair failed, you fixed it again. When are you going to break down, pry your wallet out of you’re a** and call in a pro?”
“It has nothing to do with money.”
Seriously, it has nothing to do with money. When I’m ready to replace the entire driveway, I’ll call a pro. This was a repair around the foundation of the ramp we put in. You don’t call a pro for stuff like that, they won’t come for such a small job. I’d try to explain that, but you’d have nothing to do with it.
“Offer them enough money and they will do the job.”
“It’s not worth offering them more money, it’s a small bit of work. Even with busting up the old stuff, it only took me two hours.” Then I would show you a video of how easy it was to break up that old concrete.
“What’s time to a pig?”
Then you would tell me the joke about the farmer and the pig and the apple tree. It’s an old joke. You heard it on A Prairie Home Companion, but it’s been being told for years. When I mention that I’ve never heard it, you quip:
“You’re a lot younger than me.”
“It’s more than time. You hire a pro because they know what they’re doing. Obviously you didn’t know what you were doing the first time you filled this hole.”
“I know what I’m doing. I’ve been mixing concrete since I was 12 years old. My father taught me back when you bought sand and gravel and cement in separate bags.”
“Yeah, but who taught your father? Information is only as good as the source.”
“My father learned how to mix concrete from guys who were making shoes with it.”
We had a good laugh at that. I explained that it wasn’t much of an exaggeration. My grandmother was widowed right before the start of the Depression. My father was only four years old. She owned an apartment building but most people were out of work and couldn’t afford to pay rent.
“What did she do?”
“She rented the apartments to the mob. They used them to make the booze they were selling during prohibition.”
“Really? But did they actually teach your father how to mix concrete?”
“I’m not sure. They did pay him 25-cents a bottle for every bottle of booze he could pour down the drain when they were raided.”
“You sure that isn’t just a tall story your dad told you?”
“I’m sure. They paid his sister too. My aunt is actually the one who told us the story.”
You’d stop me from ordering the next round.
“I’m in the mood for something different.”
“You want a suggestion?” Asked Cheryl, the bartender.
“An offer I can’t refuse?”
“No silly. I’ve been making Jameson and Diet Coke for people recently. It’s very refreshing.”
“That does sound good. I’ll have one of those, he’ll have another Yuengling and he’s buying.”
With that taken care of, I would try to convince you that even professionals make mistakes or end up with defective products. My neighbor is a concrete pro. I showed him the deteriorating concrete and he said that he has seen that happen before, and on much larger jobs. I’d send you a link to Cordelia’s Mom so you could read about her two-year-old-professionally-installed roof that leaked. In fact, there was an article in the local paper about lots of home foundations cracking.
“Yeah, yeah. So, these mob-guys? Did they ever whack someone? Did they ever mix up some concrete shoes?”
“I don’t know. People used to tell stories about people who were taken for a ride and never returned. It was a tough little town, but it wasn’t Chicago.”
You would take another sip of that Jameson’s, toast the end of prohibition and bathtub gin. Then you would tip your glass to Cheryl, give her a thumbs up and remind me that sometimes, you do need a pro. I would agree. It would be cheaper to sit at home and have a beer, but it’s really not about the money, it’s about spending time with interesting people.