That one St. Paddy’s Day I was attacked by a wooden lion…

(It’s been two years since that fateful St. Paddy’s Day when I was attacked by a wooden lion. Some scars take longer to heal. Especially when there’s splinters. Below is the whole sordid (weird) tail… I mean tale.
Erin go Roar!)

image It’s been nearly 40 years since my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Flunkem, wrote the following remark in red ink on my report card:

Unstructured time is a challenge for Ned.

After reading this, my mother looked at me and said, “Since when did filling your unstructured time become a challenge?”

And things haven’t really changed since then. I can honestly say, through sheer luck and determination, I have put myself in a position to have what I’m sure Mrs. Flunkem would consider entirely too much unstructured time. Fortunately for me, my wife disagrees with Mrs. Flunkem and encourages me to make the most of it.

How?

By saying things like, “Hey Honey! Look at that wooden lion over there!”

The lion in question was standing outside an empty storefront, across from where we were parked. I studied it for a moment.

“It looks angry. Or possibly hurt. See the way he’s holding his paw up? Maybe he has a splinter?”

“It’s a wooden lion,” my wife replied. “So you’re probably right.”

“I’ll go look,” I said, and cautiously approached the lion to inspect his paw…

After winning his trust, the lion let me examine his paw.

After winning his trust, Wooden Lion let me examine his paw. Probably because I’m a Leo.

It didn’t take long to discover the source of his pained expression…

And in that moment, I made a friend for life. Or at least until I needed some firewood.

And in that moment, I made a friend for life. Or at least until I needed some firewood.

The relief on his face was easy to see. I thought. So I decided to celebrate with a knuckle bump…

In retrospect, I probably should have warned him about the knuckle bump.

In retrospect, I probably should have warned him about the knuckle bump first.

Possibly because his paw was still sore, my gesture wasn’t greeted with the level of enthusiasm I had anticipated…

I hate to think of what could've happened if I'd gone for a hug instead.

I hate to think of what could’ve happened if I’d gone for a hug instead.

I returned his snarl and attempted to take control of the situation by reacting in a cat-like manner…

I struck what I felt was an equally threatening cat-like stance. I only scared myself.

I struck what I felt was an equally threatening cat-like stance. I only scared myself.

When that didn’t work, I knew it was time to pull out my fists for a one-two combo I like to call “The Captain and Tennille…”

I almost felt sorry for Wooden Lion.

I almost felt sorry for him.

I’m pretty sure I slipped on something โ€” probably that discarded splinter โ€” because somehow he landed the first punch…

If you've never been sucker-punched by a wooden lion, I don't recommend it.

If you’ve never been sucker-punched by a wooden lion, I don’t recommend it.

At this point, my natural instincts between “fight or flight” kicked in and, out of respect to my family waiting in the car, I chose flight โ€” but Wooden Lion had other ideas…

So much for gratitude Mr. Wooden Lion.

So much for gratitude from Wooden Lion.

Thanks to my lightening reflexes, I was able to turn the tables on Wooden Lion by slipping out of my coat…

On no! Did you lose something Wooden Lion?

On NO! Did you lose something Wooden Lion?

As it turned out, the splinter was just ploy. What he really wanted all along was my jacket. I guess that’s what I get for wearing a Caterpillar brand coat with the word “Cat” stitched into the collar…

Enjoy the jacket, Wooden Lion! I doubt you can get the hood over your FAT HEAD!

Enjoy the jacket, Wooden Lion! I doubt you can get the hood over your FAT HEAD!

Mrs. Flunkem, if you happen to be reading this, I’m sorry. But as you can see I’m still spending my unstructured time pretty much the same way.

Who would’ve thought I’d actually get paid for it!

_______________________________________________________________________________

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(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)

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18 thoughts on “That one St. Paddy’s Day I was attacked by a wooden lion…

  1. Ned Hickson, International Man of Humor – “I don’t usually have unstructured time, but when I do… I use it to fight wooden lions.”

  2. Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:
    Hahaha! Better a wooden lion than a paper tiger! We ‘wooden’ want you to think your old teacher was correct and ‘bough’ to her criticism. You obviously ‘twigged’ that you were perfectly fine, took a ‘leaf’ out of your own book and ‘branched’ out on your own. I will stop now before I am beaten to death by a pack of wild angry punners. :0)

  3. You are hilarious! And you make very good use of your unstructured time… lol!
    Wait.. what IS unstructured time? I think I have that sometimes, but I’m not sure. Can you ‘splain?? :-/

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