The Observer had occasion to muse over the weekend about Walks of Shame. The freshman year Saturday-morning trek back from frat house to dorm. Post-college, skulking through the bar district in the middle of the a.m. to retrieve the car you abandoned the night before in favor of a cab ride home. Knocking on your new neighbors’ door because you just threw your Frisbee into their backyard and you’re in your 30s now so you don’t feel comfortable just scaling the fence to get it back.

We had occasion to muse because we discovered Sunday afternoon that there is also a Home Improvement Walk of Shame, and it comes with heckling.

The scene was Lowe’s, where we’d gone with Spouse Observer in the Compact Mobile Observatory, aka a four-door Civic, to pick up everything we needed to retile our small master bathroom: tile, grout, thin-set cement, a trowel. Pa Observer, understand, has a vehicle more suitable to hauling stuff home from the hardware store, but we didn’t need it. Not even when the Tile Aisle Guy informed us that we also needed to replace the wallboard to which we planned to attach the tile. No problem. Wallboard Aisle Guy cut each 4-foot by 8-foot piece in half. They’d slide right in behind the front seats.

Except they didn’t. Wouldn’t go in the door, wouldn’t go in the trunk. We stood in the parking lot, scratching our heads, loathe to wait the 45 minutes it would take for Pa Observer to come rescue us. Finally we decided The Observer would go back into Lowe’s and buy some rope and a bag of rags to protect the paint job, and we’d just lash the stuff to the roof.

If the cashier remembered us on our return trip through, she was kind enough not to point and laugh. But Spouse Observer, left by the car guarding the wallboard, was not so fortunate. Quoth a smart-ass out his pick-up window as he drove by: “Bet you wish you’d bought a truck now, huh?”

Once home, Spouse Observer got started on the demolition (The Observer’s not lazy, it’s just a really small bathroom). Behind the wall where the sink had been, we found an archeological relic: A small piece of wood, not attached to anything, with a shopping list written in pencil on one side: “Three switches. 4p finishing nails. Look! for baseboard. Fixtures for P.P. room.” (Yes, “P.P. room.”) Some things on the list had been scratched out, others hadn’t — including Look! for baseboard, although since there are baseboards in the room, we’re guessing he got around to it eventually. How the piece of wood came to be boarded up in a 50-year-old wall we couldn’t say. Maybe it was intentional, a little hello to the future from whomever built that part of the house. Maybe we’ll tile over our own little time capsule, say on a Post-It note stuck to a stud: “Tile. Grout. Wallboard. Rope. Shred of dignity.”

Lately, The Observer has been having fits of crankiness. We feel hateful. Why doesn’t the world run the way it should? Here’s what’s on our hate list:

Finding dead ovenbirds on the sidewalk in front of our building every spring because we’ve left the lights on at night or we’re reflecting some other building’s night lights.

That our tax dollars are subsidizing big oil, being swallowed up in the tar pit of Iraq, while nothing is being done to solve the American health care crisis, thanks to a Congress that’s nearly 100 percent namby-pambies and greedheads.

“Name that dead Arkansan you never heard of who invented pool cue chalk” on KUAR.

Political slogans like “Fighting for our Families,” whatever the hell that means.

That the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rolls over like a subservient dog when it comes to putting business before wetland protection.

That the Little Rock School District requires students to take a typing class not once but twice, but has killed its study skills class.

Sending people to fight a war to preserve the American way of life, which now includes unlimited power by the executive to know who you talk to on the phone, what books you like to read, and probably how you vote.

That within a few years, no one will be able to pay their water and sewer bills, much less buy gas or turn on heat or AC, and nobody much seems to care.

See? We’re about to blow. Watch out.


Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The suffering children's open line

    Until it's fixed, nobody is doing enough to resist the Trump administration's cruel and thoughtless handling of asylum-seeking children.
    • May 27, 2018
  • Arming teachers: An insurance complication

    Gun lovers in the Arkansas legislature are spoiling to put more guns in classrooms at the earliest opportunity. Today, the Washington Post reports a complication — from insurance companies.
    • May 27, 2018
  • Razorbacks plan a return to real grass in 2019

    I don't know why the news of a return to real grass at Razorback stadium seemed like such good news to me. Old fogey, I guess.
    • May 27, 2018
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • The sweet hereafter

    This week, the Arkansas Times falls back on that oldest of old chestnuts: a recipe issue. Being who we are, of course, we had to put a twist on that; namely, the fact that most of the recipes you'll find in these pages are courtesy of people who have shuffled off to that great kitchen in the sky, where the Good Lord is always whipping up new things in his toque and apron, running the great mixers of genetics and time, maybe presenting the batter-dipped beaters and bowls to Jesus for a lick down.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • On Walmart and state money

    No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.
    • Sep 21, 2017

Latest in The Observer

  • Matriculation

    Soon after this issue hits the stands all over town, Junior will join that proud mass of Americans in possession of a high school diploma, having graduated from what in his eyes is the best high school on earth: Little Rock Central.
    • May 24, 2018
  • The dreamer

    It's 5 a.m. as The Observer writes this, and we're still shaking a bit from the adrenaline of the dream.
    • May 17, 2018
  • Mystery

    The Observer's pal Mr. Photographer is the hardest working man in show business, a one-man operation who handles photography for not only the Arkansas Times but several other publications publicated by the Arkansas Times, plus freelancing and concerts and product photography and probably a secret trove of brilliant and soon-to-be-world-renowned mime portraits that will only be discovered when they lay him in the clay.
    • May 10, 2018
  • More »

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation