yelling-kirk** 5/20 POST UPDATE** Read the comments from The Dirtbag to this post for a hint of the madness that rules this man!

There comes a time when normal discourse between two parties reaches an impasse. How do we get past that roadblock? The more timid among us might avoid conflict altogether, while some put their head down and forge ahead through the tense times. And then there is my favorite category of folks: those who eagerly anticipate the tension and view it as an excuse to vent all their rage, related or not. It would seem that I surround myself with those who are thrilled when trouble comes knocking.

Buns lives with the outlook that everyone else’s purpose in life is to make his better; when folks don’t seem to be on the same page, he has no problem screeching at them in parking lots. It helps that he’s like 6’10″+, so there is rarely much argument when he DOES step out of the car, unless it’s from a psychotic urban outdoorsman. The Lyrical Jackass will try his very best to convince you to bend to his will, but when he has run out of patience (this takes, like, three minutes), it’s not unusual for him to start letting his redneck roots get the best of him. This involves his complexion going through several color changes, from red to purple to sheet white. Next up, if his situation isn’t resolved, is for his eyes to pop out like golf balls and then rotate independently as he rails on (think rabid gecko), enormously long arms waving around, knocking crap off shelves as his voice ratchets up a notch or three. RoJo is a “peace” officer: need I say more?

The Dirtbag brings this anger to a new level of existence, as it permeates his very core. In his opinion, they ARE ALL out to get him, and he finds this irritating. He will rotate and swivel in the seat of his truck, cursing (loudly and with his window down) people who don’t understand the fundamentals of merging onto the highway. He reserves most of his ire for the big box home improvement stores and HGTV, as he believes that they are the ruination of the trades and “real” tradesmen, and therefore in part responsible for the major decline of  this country.

The undisputed king of the realm, at least in terms of my friends, has to be Fury the Landscaper. I met him during a construction trade show, when we had booths opposite one another. Soon Fury became a customer of Pacific Excavating (my former outfit), in part because he seemed to appreciate attention to detail, something that is often overlooked in construction. We hit it off immediately, he benefiting from my obsession with digging ditches “just so”, me benefiting from getting a chance to work with a real-life Soup Nazi. This aspect of his persona is never more evident than the lunch hour. Being someone who is adverse to change, Fury almost ALWAYS takes his lunch at a Subway, but he is running out of Subways who are “doing it right” in the greater metropolitan area. You see, it is imperative that they slice his sandwich EXACTLY in half. It is even more important that they NOT use a knife that has been used to spread something as vile as mayonnaise on someone else’s order. I have been with him when he declared a Subway on the Forbidden List because they “spread his vegetables all wrong”. The difference between Fury and most of the general public is that instead of just taking the guff off of some poor slob who chose to work at Subway, Fury will DEMAND a new knife be used, or a new loaf be cut. To quote the stoner/prophet Tom Petty, he won’t back down. There is always the moment of incredulity on the employees face when Fury insists that they get a different piece of bread; THIS is the awkward moment I live for. (I also make sure that I order before him, so that I don’t get a sandwich laced with spit). He just wants the people to do their damn job, as he has said on more than one occasion. I have also been witness to his furiously punching his steering wheel hard enough that I was reasonably sure that it would somehow set off the airbag and we would both die soaring off a bridge; it took all I had not to laugh out loud, both out of a sense of respect and of self-preservation.

At the end of the day, I am thankful for people like Fury the Landscaper and The Dirtbag; they bring a little order to not only my own chaotic existence, but also to the general unruliness of this world. If some punk with three pounds of jewelry in his face wants to get a little surly while almost throwing change back at the customer, you can bet that it won’t stand with these gentlemen. When an entitled cell phone yakker barrels through a construction zone at 100 mph (true story), RoJo will be there to give them the law enforcement slap down. Buns will always be around to argue with the bums on a street corner if that’s what he deems they need. Those closest to us help keep it all in perspective. Here’s to hoping they don’t turn that furious perspective against us.