Idle hands are the devil’s tools

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The phone has been ringing off the hook all day. My poor mom is convinced that these are the end of times.

Today has been especially stressful.

The first phone call came in at 8:00 a.m. I just assumed it was some family emergency. She never, ever phones me that early unless there’s some sort of bad news.

“I don’t have to work today,” she says.

“Well, ummmmmmmm, that’s good ma,” I say, as I stuff reports and steno pads into my big black bag.

“Don’t you want to know why I don’t have to work today?”

Uh oh – did she get laid off? Was the car totalled? Did she win last night’s lottery?

“Ummmm… is everything okay?” I ask.

“A ten-foot wall of water is coming our way. So they figured it would be best if everyone stayed home,” she replied. My mom was refering to the wooden Whittenton Pond Dam . Because of all the extra rainfall in the northeast, the poor dam is about to burst.

“Well mom, I hope you enjoy your day off. I’ve got to run,” I said. “Love you.”

Not three hours later I get another hysterical phone call.

“Have you heard about Baltimore?” she asked in greeting.

“No mom, what’s going on in Baltimore?” I ask as I type “Baltimore” into the Google search.

“There’s a terrorist threat. They’re closing everything,” she replies as I pull up the first story about the tunnel closings. “You’re not safe.”

“Mom, I live in DC, not Baltimore.”

“You go there for baseball games.”


“Close enough. If it’s a nuclear weapon, ABC said forty minutes was close enough.”

I sigh. There is no arguing with a mother’s logic.

“Mom, I’ve got to go. I have an important lunch appointment.”

“Okay, call me tonight.”

I sigh repeatedly.

An hour later. It’s her again.

“Why don’t you come up to Massachusetts for a visit?” she asks. “You can leave right now.”

“Mom – you need to turn off CNN and step away from the television. Listen to yourself. Get a grip. You want me to leave my perfectly safe city, to travel towards a terrorist threat, in traffic backed up all the way to Maine, so I can finally pull into the driveway only to find the entire neighborhood drowned in ten feet of water.”


“Goodbye mom.”

“Don’t forget to call me tonight………”


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