by Barry Simpson
“Am I not crazy?,” the woman said as we strolled about the Twin Rocks Trading Post perusing the displays. “I shouldn’t love this stuff, but I can’t not!”
Each time I showed and described another piece of art to my enthusiastic patron, I was graced with another creative example of negative/positive expression; “Is that not terrific,” and “I can’t hardly imagine the time and effort that didn’t take to create.”
The woman had a sweet personality, and I couldn’t not like her, even though I figured she was not unimpaired. After about two hours of reviewing nearly our entire inventory, I began to seriously question my own grasp on reality.
There was a knot of pain growing between my eyes, and I struggled to comprehend the twists and turns of this woman’s roundabout communication.
So when I heard her say, “I hardly have any resistance for this necklace, I can’t not have it,” my brain failed to properly interpret the comment.
The woman stood there, holding the jewelry out to me, with a submissive smile on her lips and, ever so slowly ...I got it! Was I not amazed? I had nearly missed a sale because my primitive brain was struggling to decipher the code and understand, “not the nothing.”
I soon wrapped up the sale and the nice lady left me saying, “This is not good-bye, but hello!” Not to be reductive, but I hope her return visit is not hardly soon.
During my stint with the “Round-about woman,” my brother and business partner Steve had taken a telephone message. As he handed me the note, he said, “I couldn’t not begin to understand what the heck that woman wasn’t talking about!”
“Very funny,” said I, rubbing my temples and rummaging through the desk drawer for Ibuprofen. Our cohort, Priscilla, walked up, handed me the pain relievers and said, “Was she not sweet?” I groaned loudly and stumbled towards my office, looking for peace and quiet.
I can’t not begin to understand why, but from that point on life at the Twin Rocks Trading Post began to tragically digress. It seems word had spread, and everyone in the building was trying their hands (or mouths) at double negatives. Like a food fight at a verbiage smorgasbord, tasteless tidbits of vernacular began to fly, unabated, about the room. I pushed the office door closed, and did my best to ignore the nonsense.
I hardly had no patience for quitting time to arrive, and headed out the door as disagreeable salutations nipped at my heels.
Driving home helped me regain a sense of right and become not twisted. By the time I arrived home, I was feeling much better.
As I exited the car, tempting aromas drifting on the breeze. I could tell my wife Laurie had laid on a fine evening meal, and I was looking forward to sampling her fare.
As I sat down to dinner with my family, I was doing my best to forget the distasteful occurrences of the day. Laurie had cooked an amazing meal for us, tender, juicy fillets; steaming baked potatoes; crisp green salad with fresh peas and carrots; and hot dinner rolls. I settled in, prepared to truly enjoy the banquet.
“Is this not an amazing meal,” chirped Alyssa. I snapped to attention and looked harshly upon my middle child.
“What did you say,” I demanded.
“She was simply commenting on how nothing hardly could look and smell better,” chimed in Spenser. The headache I had suffered earlier returned with a vengeance. I suspected a saboteur from the south had infiltrated my home by telephone and turned my family into antagonists.
“Not to be less than subtle,” said Laurie, “but are you not all right?” I pushed back from the table and found myself walking, slightly off-kilter, towards the bedroom. My appetite had abated; all I could think of was retreating from such disruptive language management as soon as possible. “Can’t I not have your dessert,” called McKale as I slipped a pillow over my head.
Not to be overly critical, but I have always assumed it was my responsibility, as a parent, to help my children achieve a higher standard. They can’t not accomplish this if they have an uncle that will sacrifice everything for the sake of a joke.
A well-refined sense of humor is one thing, but to fall back on slapstick is an altogether different matter. I hardly don’t have any words to describe such a contemptuous act. This is one good reason why family business isn’t not hardly such a bad idea.