Pine Nuts: Don’t ever put Pam on your snow shovel (Opinion)

McAvoy Layne
McAvoy Layne

Aunt Hazel asked me when I was two years old, “What do you want to be when you grow up, Honey?”

Without a moment’s hesitation I answered, “When I grow up I’m going to be a snowplow driver.” There was never any doubt in my mind that I would become king of all snowplow drivers, and there would be a statue of my snowplow at the roundabout in the Village of Incline. Tourists from the world over would arrive, eager to take pictures of my snowplow to show back home in Mumbai and Shanghai. What I wanted out of life was to push snow around during the day and have hot chocolate at night before bed.

The closest I got to that dream was about 35 years ago, when I was asked by a neighbor if I would be so kind as to shovel their roof following a heavy snowfall, which I was just young enough to do. They had some visitors from Los Angeles at the time, and one of them was in the shower when I grabbed my star-crossed snow shovel.

My wife stopped me as I was leaving for my task and suggested, “Honey, why don’t you spray your snow shovel with Pam, so the snow won’t stick to your shovel.” I had no idea what Pam was, but she always had good ideas, so I sprayed my shovel with some slippery non-sticking cooking oil and climbed up the ladder to our neighbor’s roof.

Once situated atop the roof, I wiggled my boots into the snow to get some footing, flexed my muscles, filled my shovel with a hefty load of snow, and let it fly, and fly it did! That load of Sierra Cement came off my shovel like a load of gravel, shot across the alleyway separating our condos, and imploded the bathroom window, showering a visitor from LA with snow and shards of glass. He stuck his head out the suddenly empty window and I shouted down to him, “Are you alright?!”

In a state of shock, he looked up and shouted, (I’ll clean this up for this fine family journal), “Jimminy-Crickets! I thought it was a drive-by!”

As good fortune would have it, he was not hurt, and recovered fully after a straight shot of whiskey.

It cost me $75 to have the window replaced, and I made $50 for shoveling the roof, so my professional roof-shoveling days were a bust. More importantly, my dream of becoming a snowplow driver was out the window so to speak.

Is there a moral to this story? Yes. If you have a wife like I did, who always has good ideas, and she tells you to put Pam on your snow shovel, go and get yourself a gun owner license before Paming your snow shovel. Then handle that snow shovel like you might handle a 60mm mortar…

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