How I Almost Lost the War in Home Depot
By Kerry Patton
War. It’s an interesting thing. We fight it abroad. We fight it alongside our brothers. We fight it against a very unique enemy. But sometimes that enemy isn’t some terrorist aligned with some Islamic group.
Yup, sometimes the enemy can be found in Home Depot.
I returned home from Afghanistan and within 36 hours of my arrival, my wife along with my in-laws decided it would be a good idea to head off to Home Depot as a “family.”
Admittedly, I was not the best of family members upon my arrival back in the States. I missed the guys terribly. I missed the job. And I was extremely bitter about the war in general for numerous reasons.
But to be fair, I was gone for eight months.
I left my wife with an old 1890 farm house in complete need of an entire makeover. I purchased it as our future dream home but left it up to her and my incredibly handy in-laws to start rebuilding. Let me be very clear, I couldn’t have been happier with the work they put into this house.
Needless to say, when they said they wanted to go to Home Depot, I was not hesitant. I knew it was the right thing to do even though deep down, I didn’t want to leave the house. We needed a door and considering I did very little in rebuilding this house, I realized it was my job to step up and start doing my share of the work in making it a livable abode.
Home Depot is a cool place. I mean, name the tool and they pretty much have it. But what I love about Home Depot is the mega sized shopping carts. In fact, I love those silly carts that are low to the ground and have three rails so you could fill that sucker up with some plywood, or in my case a solid door.
I grabbed my cart and started pushing it as fast as I could and jumped on it like some little kid ridding an oversized scooter. After banging into an isle filled with who knows what, I looked at my wife who looked at her own mother. Wife and mom both shook their heads likely wondering who this ass-clown was that was with them. I took the hint and calmed down.
After going to where the doors were, I parked my new toy in the center of the isle. My father-in-law and I started checking out doors and yes, I took my eyes off my cart. My wife and her mother didn’t drift too far. In fact, I believe they were only a few isles down from us.
And then it happened.
Some behemoth missing a few teeth decided he wanted MY cart!
My father-in-law was first to see the man run off with it. After I realized why my father-in-law’s eyes almost popped out of his head, I knew something happened to my most prized Home Depot possession.
Not on my watch! It was time for this never before Ranger to “Ranger Up!”
“Sir…Sir!” I shouted.
Was this fool ignoring me? Oh, hell no!
I rushed out of the isle and through the main floor quickly approaching the area where the cash registers were located…You know, the one area in the entire store where everyone and their mother is gathered. Yeah, that place where if I did anything stupid, the world would see it.
Knowing the man wasn’t stopping, I quickly rushed over to him and as discrete as possible, placed my arm around his shoulder ensuring my hand was close to the side of his neck.
“Sir, I don’t know if you couldn’t hear me, but I was trying to get your attention.” I said with a calm voice. “Seems like you mistakenly took our cart.”
Would you believe he had the nerve to actually attempt to speak to me at this point? Of course you would. But at this point, in my possessed mind, I couldn’t. But he did.
“I heard you.” He said and smiled. “I don’t care if this cart was yours.”
Like a fat woman having her cookies stolen, I barked! “Oh no you didn’t!”
From this point, I don’t believe my brethren from Ranger Up would allow me to go on any further in articulating the things I said to this jack-wagon.
But this is when I almost lost the war. You see, I won the battle. I got my cart back. And thanks to my darling of a wife, I got it before I even needed to rip out this bastard’s larynx. Yup. I remember her screaming at me not to kill the guy and her screaming at everyone in the store explaining how “Little Johnny (or Kerry) just came home from war.”
Damn woman! Now everyone will think I have PTSD or something crazy like that.
Anyway, I applaud her abilities to de-escalate the situation. I never saw her look at me the way she did that day. I saw fear in her eyes. Fear that I instilled in her. It’s something I never hope she sees again due to my actions.
But then it got worse.
Remember, I said this was a “family affair.” Yup, I turned and saw my mother-in-law’s eyes. Let’s just say that it took me a good two full weeks to regroup and reorganize before I could look at her again.
I love my in-laws. They are tough, firm, and well, at least my mother-in-law is set in her ways. That’s not a bad thing for a guy like me. I respect her tremendously and love her as if she was my own mother. But that day, that day was one where I learned I could be my own worst enemy and lose a war from within.
No excuse. A valuable lesson was learned that day. No matter your predicament, no matter how awkward it may be coming home from war, there is no excuse to act like a jackass. No doubt, I was a jackass that day.