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Masonic News & Views - a not so merry fairy tale
July 21, 2014

Some learn from the mistakes of others, while some just have to keep getting burned. Case in point:

I started a new project over the weekend. One side of our front yard is an embankment, and the winter rains have begun to wash it away. A retaining wall of precast concrete blocks seemed the perfect summer project. I could do it myself, or hopefully with the help of a friend, and thus save myself a pocket full of money. So, I started shopping for materials.

After calling around to the local suppliers I checked the website of the nearest Home Depot to compare and contrast the information I had so far. The Home Depot for me is like Santa's workshop for kids except the associates don't like when you ask to sit on their lap. I entered 'retaining wall' into the website search box and was presently presented with pretty pictures and brief descriptions of all manner of wonderful blocks. I could already see my beautiful wall forming in my mind.

I scrolled down the page, taking notes on the now familiar 4" X 12", and 6" X 16" blocks. It was pretty much what I expected, cheaper than the locals but not by enough to make the trip worthwhile. You see, the nearest Home Depot is 70 miles and two mountain passes away. But, I kept scrolling because the pretty pictures are the next best thing to browsing the aisles. I was a good ways down the page when what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a new sized block at a price that was dear.

This was an 8" X 12" block. What a great idea. I'd get the same coverage as the 6" X 16" block, but use fewer rows to reach the same height. My wall would be stronger, and these new magical blocks were the same price as the 4" X 12" blocks. Sugar plums danced in my head.

To be sure I wasn't hallucinating I called the Home Depot store and spoke with the good elf Cameron. I said, "Cameron, can this be true? Do these wondrous blocks truly exist?"

And Cameron replied, "Yea, verily. 'tis true."

I said, "Cameron, I must have them! You must save for me 100 of these precious stones for surely the hordes will discover their existence at any time."

And Cameron said, "Not a problem, but you'll have to prepay."

And so, I spoke with Sheila and I said, "Sheila, please tell me for true that this incredible deal on these blocks is for real."

And Sheila said, "Yes, m'lord, the deal is for real."

I showered her with praises and thanks. I hung up the phone, and turned 'round and around. I clicked my heels together three times and whispered, "There's no place like Home Depot." And then, I leapt into my chariot and raced into town, and rented a beast of a truck to ferry my treasure home. And in a short while I was on my way over the mountains and through the woods, whistling a merry tune, happy in my work.

When I arrived at the Depot the celebration was already underway. People scurried to and fro and greeted me with "Hey" and "Yo." I presented myself and my cause to the helpful elves and they welcomed me and said, "Your blocks will be right up."

In a short while more helpful elves arrived with a forklift loaded with blocks. I met them at the truck, anxious to behold my treasure. But, lo and behold what madness was this? These blocks were not my blocks. They were only 4" X 12". I said, "There's been some mistake. I purchased 8" X 12" blocks. Please take these back and bring me my blocks."

And the helpful elves with the forklift gazed upon me as if I were the wisest of wizards becuase I had discovered their secret trove, and they nodded respectfully and said, "Si. We get."

A short time later the forklift returned and was commanded by a new helpful elf, the good elf Samantha. But again, the forklift was loaded not with 8" blocks but with 4" blocks. I cried, "These are not my blocks! My blocks are 8" X 12".

And the good elf Samantha smiled knowingly. She reached into her pocket and withdrew her retractable magic wand. She laid the wand on one of the blocks and showed me that it was 12 inches in width. "Yes," I cried, "but it's only 4 inches in height! My blocks are 8 inches." And she turned her magic wand and I saw that the block was indeed 8 inches in.....depth.

The End.

Fraternally yours,

Tim Couch

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