No More Mr. Asshole

Chapter 5, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


Depression shrouded me for three days.

Even Melinda noticed. She showed her concern in her usual, loving way.

“Are you going to take out the trash or what?”

I just stared into space.




More silence.

“All right then, I WILL take it out.”

She fought the kitchen wastebasket all the way to the front door, leaving a trail of Burger King wrappers and french fries. She wrestled the stubborn receptacle outside and slammed the door behind her. I assumed Melinda didn’t know all she had to do was remove the bag.

Or maybe, she wanted her husband to feel good and guilty.

I did.

Here was a 48-year-old man, the head of a nice, suburban family of four, who should have displayed wisdom, courage and maturity – instead of martyrdom. Sorry. Make that pettiness, selfishness and vanity.

Instead, I was a baby. A big, freaking baby.

I hadn’t trained that morning or the morning before. I didn’t feel like training tomorrow either. You know, my calves never felt so good. It was party time. They were ready to celebrate the end of Olympic insanity as we knew it.

Who was I fooling?

I wasn’t a world-class athlete. Never was. Never would be. You need heart to do that. On some level, I must have known. There was a reckoning bound to happen. 1.42? Was I nuts? I had  trouble breaking two minutes consistently. What the hell was I thinking? I must be neurotic.

Sure, it had gotten marginally easier. The last week, I stretched for at least 20 minutes before each session. My whinny muscles had responded better. The running felt more natural, if not  carefree. Best of all, I felt fine afterward, stubborn calves excepted. Even the bowel movements were, you know.

But now I was copping a plea. Guilty. Yes, guilty as charged.

I, a foolish and prideful, white male with a smidgen of past track glory, thought he could suck it up and leg out 800 meters fast enough to get an invite to some half-assed track meet.

If I ever got there, well, who knows …

Yada … yada … yada.

… just forget it, you big clown …


It was Melinda again, red-faced and ruffled.

“Did you run this morning?”

“No,” I answered. I was going to be mature now.

“Why not?”

“Because … ”

“Don’t tell me,” Melinda interrupted. “Go tell our wonderful neighbor Mr. Johns.”


“That busybody Johns, he’s out there telling Mrs. Fuqua you’re nothing but a quitter.”

Enough said. I shot off the sofa and out the door. Calves be damned.

Mr. Johns was Mr. Big Mouth in the neighborhood. He had no business telling anybody anything. I knew it was Mr. Johns who turned me in last fall for taking out the trash a day early when we went to Indianapolis. He didn’t have the guts to tell me to my face. I always wanted to take a poke at him. This was my big chance.

… you’re goin’ down, Mr. Asshole …

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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