Another Fuckin’ Wives’ Tale

The last two weekends at the barn have been blissfully quiet. (See previous blog post, An Old’ Fuckin’ Wives’ Tale) When I’ve arrived, Norah and her sister Madge have remained in the tack room, their sanctum sanctorum. The tack room has a fridge, a dusty old sofa, and a TV with cable.

As I’ve tacked up Hershey, no one has come out to abuse me for brushing him “like a fuckin’ idjit,” or for washing my bridle so badly “a retard could do better.” All has been tranquil, except for muted bits of soap-opera dialog coming from behind the door, and the incessant crowing of Norah’s rooster coming from the yard. Smoke has seeped from under their door. Not because the place is on fire, but because of the four packs the sisters daily puff through.

I took it as a sign that I’d graduated. Having beaten me into shape, they finally trust me to groom and ready my horse without constant hen pecking.

Little did I know the muttering going on in the smoky chamber. One might describe it like this…

Madge: “You think that fuckin’ idjit knows her stirrups are two different lengths?”

Norah: “Nah. Just look at the way she’s brushed that fuckin’ harse.”

Madge: “One iron must be two inches longer than the other.”

Norah: “Retard.”

Madge: “How long do you think it’ll take her to notice?”

Norah: “Well, she’s not so bad. I’ll betcha a pack of Camels she figures it out by next week.”

Now, in my own defense, I had felt my stirrups were two different lengths and I had been bothered by it. I checked the number of holes and even measured them against my arm. And the numbers didn’t lie. So on I went.

Then, on Sunday, I finished tacking—the third browbeating-free week in a row—when Norah burst out of the tack room in a cloud of smoke.

“I can’t believe you’re gonna ride that fuckin’ harse again with yer irons two different fuckin’ lengths!” Clearly she had just lost the pack-of-cigarettes bet to her sister.

“But I measured them.”

“Measured them? Fuckin’ idjit. You don’t measure stirrup irons.”

“What do you do?”

Madge came out, her arms crossed with I-just-won-a-pack satisfaction.  This just egged her sister on.

“Shut up or I’ll wring your fuckin’ neck.” My hands went to my throat, but this was evidently for the rooster who’d been shouting in his own way. “You fuckin’ look at them!” she said to me.

Norah stood me in front of the Hershey, looking down his barrel. Sure enough, one stirrup was clearly two inches longer than the other.

“Wow. But why?”

“Why?” Norah roared at the sky. “What a fuckin’ retard question! Because it’s a fuckin’ fact of life, that’s fuckin’ why!”

With a herk on one side and a jerk on the other, the sisters had fixed the stirrups.

I wonder what other parts of my life are perpetually lopsided because I don’t just “fuckin’ look at them.”

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