Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ANNOYED (04/05/18)
- TITLE: Don't Throw Firebrands
By Phillip Cimei
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Bob regained his composure. He always taught his children to face up to consequences. “Good afternoon officer, “Bob said with a genuine smile—a greeting police officers rarely get.
The officer glanced into the back seat, then turned back, “Good afternoon, Sir.” He looked again at all the children in the back. “All yours?”
“Uh, is there something wrong with your steering wheel?” He was trying to come up with some reason not to ticket this large family with obvious meager means.
Bob shrugged his shoulders. Wagging his head, said, “No.”
“How about your front end?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
The officer explained that he had been following him for the past several miles and noticed that the car was erratically weaving and crossing the median line. He had mentioned that Bob wasn’t speeding or breaking any other laws, but that he was concerned about the car’s roadworthiness— considering its age.
Bob snickered and then asked the officer, “Do you have children officer?”
The officer’s grin said it all, “Why, yes I do.”
“Do you like traveling long distances with them?”
The officer chuckled a little and said, “I’d rather eat dirt.”
“Well, we were having a situation where child number four continually annoyed children one. two, three, five, six, and seven.
The officer completely understood the dilemma and said, “How about you pull over next time and straighten out number four.”
Bob assured the officer that a nice long sermon on the remainder of the trip, zealously encouraging change, would remedy any further occurrences. A grateful handshake and off they went.
Bob looked over at Beth, his wife. Her head-bobbing indicated that she knew what needed to be done and she was signaling to him to go ahead and say it. She looked back at the children who also knew what was coming. And it did.
Bob had this one saying that he picked up from Barney Fife. You know, that high pitched voiced police officer on the old-time television show The Andy Griffith Show. Not only did Bob like to utilize one of the most frequently used sayings of Barney, he would mimic the intonation as well.
He stretched his neck out like a turkey looking over a log, puckered his lips to the side, and with a screechy falsetto voice and the classic Barney sniff, said, “You’ve got to nip it in the bud. Nip it! Nip it! Nip it! Bob then squinted into the rear-view mirror. Michael, number four, slid his bottom forward trying to escape the glare.
“That’s, yes Sir.”
“Remember the time I plucked off that seed tick using alcohol and tweezers?”
“That one little tic was just an irritation to you. And didn’t have a chance to really suck the blood out of you.”
Bob looked again into the rear-view mirror. Michael had the look of just where is this going on his face.
“If ignored and allowed to continue to suck blood out of you, or if that was a tick with Lyme disease and was not removed in time, it could have led to sickness and even death.”
Michael's eyes widened, he sat straight up in the seat.
Bob continued, “Your teasing is just an annoyance to everyone, now. If continued it could turn into hard feelings, resentment, and even cause your brothers and sisters to feel or say things that God would not approve of.”
“But I was just joking around,” Michael said. He knew right away that wouldn’t fly.
“A wise man once said, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor and says ‘I was only joking’” Proverbs 26:18—19.
Bob continued, “Little things turn into big things if not kept in check. Annoyances can turn into ill feeling and maybe even anger. Anger can turn into hate. Have you got anything to say, Michael?”
Michael scrunched his eyebrows, closed one eye, and put his finger to his temple, “Nip it! Nip it in the bud. Oh! And don’t throw firebrands. Whatever they are.”
Smiles appeared on all. Even on Michael’s somewhat confused face.
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