“Tough day, Gramps?”
The Old Man glared at his twenty-three-year-old grandson with disdain. “Nah,” he said, sarcasm dripping like drool from his sneering lip. “I jist groan, grunt, and complain fer the heck of it.”
“I know,” the grandson muttered. “That’s why I had to ask.”
“Don’t make me git gimlety with ya’, boy. I tain’t in the best o’spirits.”
“But…all you did was go to the front porch for the newspaper.”
“At my age, boy, gettin’ the paper is risky bid’ness. Open fer volunteers only.” The Old Man rattled the newspaper open and began tossing ads and entire sections over the arms of the huge easy chair. Soon, the floor surrounding the recliner was a sea of discarded newsprint. “Tarnation!” The Old Man emitted a shriek of rage that brought the rest of his visiting family scurrying into the living room.
“What is it, Dad?” His oldest daughter crossed to him, the light of concern in her eyes plainly visible.
“The sports section! Idiot paper boy fergot ta’ include the only part o’ the paper I read!” He hoisted himself out of the chair and began stomping about the room, his utter fatigue of a moment before apparently forgotten. “Durn fool kid! Guess he won’t be gettin’ a tip this month! I’ve never seen such a…”
“Gramps,” one of his granddaughters interrupted, “don’t get so upset! It’s not good for you!”
“Not good fer me?” The Old Man stopped his pacing and rounded on the young woman. The motion disoriented him and he swayed for a moment before continuing. “Not good fer me? Listen, you silly female, life ain’t good fer me! But can I do anythin’ about that? Eh? No! I come in here ta’ read th’ paper in peace and what happens? Can’t find the turd of a sports section!” Weary from his tirade, The Old Man dropped back into the recliner.
“Would you like for me to go to the store and get you a new paper, Gramps?” his grandson asked kindly.
“Can’t read it from here, can I?” The Old Man shook his head, obviously disgusted by the ignorance of the younger generation. “I don’t ask fer much,” he said, “but a man gits tired o’ havin’ to spell out everythin’ he wants! And as if that twern’t bad enough,” he continued, “I’m 85 and have family hangin’ around all the time, shovin' med’sin down my throat and actin’ like I’m some sort o’ feeblin'!” He paused and snorted. “No sports section, the weather sucks, I’m surrounded by do-gooders, and on top o’ that, my loins is killin’ me! I’m havin’ a bad day, so tread lightly, people. Tread lightly!”
His daughter patted his shoulder. “Anything I can do to make your day go a little better, Dad? A glass of iced tea, perhaps?”
“I hate iced tea! But, if it’ll keep ya’ from naggin’ me, I’ll have a glass or two.”
His daughter turned to go, hiding a smirk behind her hand. The Old Man didn’t notice and yelled after her,
“An’ put plenty o’ sugar in it!”