THE Lamps, Part 2

by teresalaynebennett

photo of old, used hatchet, much like the kind Lizzie Borden might have used

Have you heard of the infamous Lizzie Borden?

(If you haven’t read Part 1, best read it. Otherwise, you won’t get the full force of humor in this Part 2, and you don’t want to miss that, do you?)

Having just found The Conquistadors behind my van seat, I grilled our two sons who had watched Brother-in-Law loading those monstrosities. “WHY didn’t you tell me these were behind my seat?!” They responded “Mom, we thought you wanted them; you do bring home some weird stuff,” which was true. I did. Still do.

At this point, I was too vexed by my in-laws’ deviousness to take time to lecture our sons on the subtle difference between the words weird and ugly. I quickly calmed down, though, when Hubby reminded me that Little Sister and her family were planning to visit her parents a few days after our visit with them. How VERY convenient. That gave us a full six hours to plot our cunning revenge.

At my in-laws, we added more Ugly to The Conquistadors – as if they weren’t ugly enough – by gluing out-of-style, yellow ball fringe to their shades. We boxed them into a whopper of a box (culled from Safeway’s bin in the middle of the night), wrapped it with deceptively nice wrapping paper, placed a cluster of lovely bows on it, said (what we sincerely hoped would be) our final good-byes to The Conquistadors, and lovingly placed our “present” near my in-laws’ Christmas tree. It looked like a real gift which, of course, was the whole point of all this vindictive busyness. Here’s an uncharacteristically early pay-attention tip: for maximum effectiveness, revenge needs to be gussied up to look like something else, something nice.

We traveled back to our home in Colorado. Days passed. Weeks passed. With no response to our clever retaliation, we forgot all about The Conquistadors, thinking they would no longer play a relevant role in our lives.

Wrong. Oh, SO wrong.

The sad saga

One balmy summer evening (EIGHT MONTHS from our retaliation), there was a knock at our front screen door while the boys and I were in the living room. I answered the door, fully expecting a friendly face. Instead, I found The Conquistadors, sitting quietly and expectantly on the porch, with not a human in sight in the black night. As they were beginning to take on an eerily human personality, my first thought was, “Did they walk the 800 miles to get here ?” Nah, the more obvious and painful explanation was that my in-laws had found a fellow conspirator right in our own city, no doubt someone we naively called “friend.”

Really! You have to wonder at the lengths to which SOME people are willing to go just for a little short-lived revenge. Whoops, that sounds a little hypocritical, doesn’t it? When Hubby returned home, he thought it was hysterical. But then he didn’t have to find a place to store the four-foot-tall Conquistadors.

As it turned out, neither did I. The next morning, I invited the widely traveled Conquistadors out to our sandstone patio where I ambushed them (à la Lizzie Borden). Using my trusty hatchet, I hacked those cursed Conquistadors to gold plaster dust and chunky smithereens. I ripped off the ball fringe. I cut the shades into strips. I yanked out the sockets. I yanked out the harps. I pulled out the cords. 

It was immensely satisfying.

But not quite satisfying enough. I meticulously swept up their shattered gold plaster bits, wanting NO reminders of their unwelcome visit. I neatly coiled the fringe and lampshade strips, tied the harps together, and wrapped the cords neatly around each other. I pulled out a huge piece of paper and, in a blaze of literary genius, wrote that short but unforgettable ditty about Lizzie Borden, written by Michael Brown and released in 1961 by the Chad Mitchell Trio.

Shut the door,
and lock and latch it.
Here comes Lizzie
with a brand new hatchet.

Kinda warms your heart, in a grizzly sort of way, doesn’t it?

I cut that little paper ditty into a primitive, six-piece, jig-saw puzzle and packed one piece in each package of:

plaster smithereens,
gold ball fringe,
lampshade strips,
sockets, and

Whipping out my calendar, I carefully timed their mailings to be received one week apart for the next six weeks. The Conquistadors had miraculously morphed into the gift that keeps on giving.

It turns out that their non-response to our Christmas “present” was a precursor to my in-laws’ habit of being sore losers. They would not concede that I had trumped their long-distance delivery of Conquistador Ugly. No, they wouldn’t even give us the satisfaction of an acknowledgement of having received any of my SIX “presents.” These people were experts at delivering revenge because – another pay-attention tip – the most effective response to revenge is, of course, NO response.

After waiting patiently for weeks and weeks, I decided, Oh well. I’m done with all that nonsense. I forgot all about The Conquistadors and that sorry lot of sore losers I’d apparently married into.

So what’s
the pay-attention point
to this revenge-filled part
of THE Lamps saga?

I’ve already given you two, but here’s the main pay-attention point: revenge seldom works out the way we’d hoped. I thought I could get even with Brother-in-Law and Little Sister, knowing full well getting even is a nasty habit. This time, with no gratifying response, I made my peace with it and decided to call it something else, taking my cue from (as you’ll see below).

The second time? Apparently, I wasn’t paying much attention to how poorly revenge had worked out for me the first time. Learn from my mistake and pay attention! In Part 3 of THE Lamps, I demonstrate incontrovertibly that the game of Revenge is like the game of Monopoly; it can go on forever.

© 2016, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: “I don't like to call it revenge. Returning the favor sounds much nicer. “ –

Don’t you just love the game of Semantics?