Friday Report: The sound of one wheel flapping |

Friday Report: The sound of one wheel flapping

Jon DeVos
Staff Photo |

For me, the first true sign of spring is not a Robin or a tulip but my wife’s announcement that the tire on the wheelbarrow is flat coupled with the unfounded accusation that I am guilty of letting that air out. I would never do that and don’t know why the tire goes flat over the winter. Perhaps the air flies south in solidarity with my own under-inflated enthusiasm for the back-wrenching labor associated with this wheeled monster. Secretly I’m grateful because that flat tire is all that separates me from the dreaded garden and, as I’ve explained to my wife, it takes several days to gather the tools, remove the tire, find a compressor, fill it to the proper pressure and finally wrestle it back onto the dratted contraption. “Days,” I explain, maybe even weeks if the barometric pressure doesn’t cooperate.”

What sort of fiend invented the wheelbarrow? It is a well acknowledged fact that a real man should not have to carry anything heavier than a Rockies ticket. However, a wheelbarrow makes it possible for even a weak man to transport more than he is capable of lifting. Does anyone else see a contradiction here? If you cannot lift it, you should not be walking around with it hanging off a one-wheeled bucket in front of you! Leave it on the ground. Kick some dirt over it.

The wheelbarrow is a management brainchild to exploit labor by forcing them to push around a load the size of the Gross National Product of Cuba. It’s not natural! Man’s load limits should be Chinese take-out.

A wheelbarrow is not a time saver because the scope of the project always grows beyond the size of the time saved. Did you know that the first recorded mention of the wheelbarrow was during the construction of the Great Wall of China? I rest my case.

Without the wheelbarrow, that so-called Great Wall would have been a little rock fence to keep rabbits out of the carrots.

I know that’s true in my own life. For instance, my wife lives for the opportunity to announce things like, “If the weather is nice tomorrow we should haul in the topsoil to plant the vegetable garden.”

“But dearest, isn’t that awfully ambitious? What with a flat tire on the wheelbarrow and all.”

“Why don’t you just get the tire fixed?”

Yes. I could do that. But then I’d have a working wheelbarrow tied to a non-working desire to use it. Why is it so hard for her to see the contradiction?

I left the cursed thing out by the end of the driveway all winter in hopes that someone would make off with it. I mentioned it to my Italian neighbor in hopes that perhaps he knew someone in the mafia who would take the damned thing off my hands. He looked at me like I was nuts, “Nobody steals a wheelbarrow,” he said. I offered him fifty bucks to pack the wheel in cement and dump it in Lake Granby but he jumped up and ran back to his own house, muttering and casting worried glances over his shoulder.

At the hardware store they said that if I just put a tube in the tire it would probably never go flat again.

I told them to mind their own business.

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