Portable Punching Bag

Life On The Back Page - August 2023

Brad Gill | August 1, 2023

Help Wanted: Technologically Savvy Redneck.

Severe Anger Issues A Must.

Eighth-Grade—If Completed—Rap Sheet Required. (Extra Points For Fistfight Suspensions/Expulsions.)

If this ain’t you, dear reader, I’m sure at least 11 other folks came immediately to mind. Whatever; in any case, if’n a little side job is what you’re seekin’, I needs a little help.

And it all started at the grocery store.

If you ever see me in a checkout line at a grocery store, break into the closest thing you got to a trot and head the other way! Should you happen not to know what I look like, I’ll be the big red-faced galoot with smoke streaming from his ears while shuffling from one foot to the other. Behind the blue-haired woman buying seven bananas.

That’s one for each of the caterwauling brats she has on hand.

Yeah, I should have known; on the other hand, I ain’t guessed right in multiple choice checkout lines in 30 years.

So how long does it take to buy seven bananas? Depends on how many times one has to snatch off a flip flop and whack a brat.    

I stopped counting at six and slid over under the Self-Checkout sign. It was at least quieter here. For roughly two seconds.

“Please remove all unscanned items from the bagging area!”

Who said that? What unscanned items? What bagging area?

I cut my eyes around for what sounded to be a particularly mouthy female employee. None in sight.

“Please remove all unscanned…”

“I ain’t even took nothing out of the buggy yet!”

Yeah, I said it out loud. Wanna fight about it?

OK, I remind myself. Get a grip. Pack your plunder and get out of here before a vein vents.

As I scan the initial item, same voice commands: “Place your item in the bagging area!”

Well now, I thought what you wanted me to do was REMOVE stuff from the bagging area. Where you from anyway, Bahsstan? New Yawk?

‘Cause gals around here can’t do obnoxious all that well.

So yeah, throughout the next half-dozen blabby commands, I eventually figured out—on my own, thank you—that it was a recording. Which I would have paid good money to stomp to smithereens with my snake boots.

It was upon exiting that my cranial light bulb lit up: what I need is a portable punching bag!

Don’t even act like you’re laughing at the idea; you’d fall off the couch trying to buy one.

See, my blood pressure would register an immediate drop within proper parameters if only I could sidle over and go up ‘side Blue Hair’s head.

Couple of problems with that: A) The local federales would likely frown mightily upon such goings-on, and B) I ain’t sure I could take her.

She appeared to have muscles on top of muscles; or maybe it was just the 3-dozen tats.

Yep, a PPB would have come in mighty handy. Look at it this way—while you’re laying on the couch…

You’re mesmerized by that favorite John Wayne/Clint Eastwood western. That one you can give your peeved spouse every line in before it’s spoken onscreen and have only watched 46 times.

Suddenly, chaos erupts, a dire emergency that could never have been foreseen: your car’s out of warranty!

I TOLD you a Portable Punching Bag was a grand idee!

Fortunately, TV electronics wizards foresaw this situation years ago and invented a little item called a Remote Control. So next time the tube trumpets the latest medication complete with a mere 23 side effects, or attempts to force-feed you some sordid agenda… all you need to do is hit a button—and your spankin’ new PPB!

Now before you turn in an application, be advised that just any old punching bag won’t fill the bill.

Portable is a key.

Say you’re in the boat’s front seat and have hoisted only a few-dozen bedding shellcrackers when the largest one yet pops 6-lb. test.

Now, you COULD clout the aluminum boat’s side with all you got—just before leaving to get your knuckle cast.

Or you’re in a dove field, missing the nineteenth in a row, and decide to make a shot put out of your shotgun. Oh well, replacing cracked stocks ain’t all THAT expensive…

But I’m telling you, a Portable Punching Bag would be just the ticket, and you can see why we gotta make it smaller than a cannon but larger than your fist: tackle boxes and shotguns are heavy enough as it is.

Couple of other perks that ran through my mind—admittedly an abridged journey…

Say you’re behind Blue Hair again, and have had it up to here. Wherever that is for you; for me, just above my shins.

Whip out the ol’ PPB and just commence to whalin’ on it; adding high-decibel invective is a bonus. Here’s what I’m seeing: sure, the brats will be louder than ever; but that’s as they’re bolting out the door in fear of what OUGHT to be happening to them in the first place. Blue Hair ditches her nanners on a dead run in their jetstream, screeching bloody murder that some big galoot is lambasting a certain floppy unidentified object near to smithereens.

Suddenly, ALL the checkout lines appear to be quiet and empty. Don’t that make you feel better?

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