75: Beam Me Up

75: Beam Me Up

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

Beam Me Up

Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn.

~Irvin S. Cobb

Just do it! That’s my husband’s mantra when it comes to doing someone a favor. So when his boss asked him to install flat screen TVs in his new McMansion, he agreed to do it. After all, he was the new guy and still on the clock.

“I’m going to need some help with this,” Prospero said to the manager. Word in the office was that the last guy who went out to do some electrical work in the boss’s house never came back. “Send someone who knows what they’re doing, like J.R.” Prospero knew that the young fellow who worked at assembling the copiers had the strength and smarts to be useful to him.

The next day Prospero had done as much as he could on his own, but it was late morning and no one had shown up to help. Knowing he would need an extra set of hands to run the wiring through the walls, he phoned the office. “Sorry, we can’t spare J.R. today,” said the manager, “but we’re making a few calls and we’ll get someone over to you shortly.”

A while later Izzy, another technician, arrived. “They sent you?” my husband asked incredulously. He had a sinking feeling this was not going to work out well. Prospero led him up to the attic. “Alright, just stand behind me on those beams and hold the flashlight over my shoulder so I can see.”

Prospero went to work snaking the wires through the walls when suddenly he found himself working in the dark. “Hold the light still,” he barked, but he was still in the dark. “Izzy?” He turned around to tell the guy to focus the light. No Izzy. Where the heck did he go?

“Help!” cried a small voice.

Prospero looked down to where the voice was coming from and there was Izzy, spreadeagle with a beam up his crotch, and in Prospero’s words, “crying like a little girl.”

“Are you okay?” Prospero asked, trying unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh. Izzy looked like a gymnast whose balance beam stunt had gone horribly wrong.

“No, I’m not okay,” snapped Izzy. “And stop laughing at me!”

Prospero tried to pull him up but it was useless. Izzy was wedged in the insulation. “I told you to stand on the beams,” Prospero told him, now laughing out right and adding insult to injury. “Wait there,” he added needlessly, “I have an idea.”

Prospero went down to the balcony that ran across the center entrance hall, and sure enough there was the bottom half of Izzy dangling through the ceiling, those slippery leather shoes flailing every which way.

“Hey, Izzy,” shouted Prospero, “if you know the name of a good sheet rock guy, this would be the time to give him a call.”

With that the front door opens and in walked the boss.

“What the hell is going on here?” he demanded.

Prospero held up his hand. “Boss, don’t worry. There’s no extra charge for the skylight.”

You know I’ve heard this story a million times but never did hear how they got Izzy out of the ceiling. Forever he remains etched in my memory, a living mobile swaying to and fro.

The boss was very good about the damage to his home. Not only did both men keep their jobs, but at the company Christmas party when the boss played his traditional game of Let’s Make a Deal, Prospero won a big screen TV. Personally I think it was fixed, but we’ve been enjoying the TV all the same.

And another holiday tradition began that year — the telling of the tale about how the boss got the skylight in his ceiling. And like all good traditions that have predictable outcomes, the retelling of the story always ends with Izzy jumping up from the table and storming out of the party in a rage.

Honestly, some people have no sense of humor.

~Lynn Maddalena Menna

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