Years ago, back when I was in college and Brother Tom was in high school, the two of us were asked by my mother to drive a pickup truck about ninety minutes away to pick up an antique fire alarm (don’t ask) conveniently located in an antique store. The antique in question was a surprise Christmas present for Tom’s Dad.

After destroying a small part of a Fuddruckers’ storage shed (this is a story in and of itself so I’ll just skim by it, thanks), we headed out to Nowhere, Missouri and walked into an antique store.

We were, quite possibly, the only people of our respective ages at the time (17 and 20) to ever walk into that antique store.

The antique store was cluttered with lots of old stuff, which I imagine was for sale, it being a store that specialized in old stuff.

Now, we were young, we were bored and we wanted to get this errand done so we could back to our lives. The fire alarm was already paid for; all we had to do was pick the damn thing up. An old lady antique store employee pointed it out to us and we walked over, as men will, to gauge the challenge we faced.

This fire alarm weighed about 250 pounds (back before the invention of the phone, these things used to sit on street corners and if there was a fire, people would come up to these metal devices and pull a lever that would both trigger an audio alarm and send a signal to the fire department?and you thought you never learned anything here) so Tom and I decided that we should lift it together (we’re public school educated).

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The old man who ran the store, for whatever reason (possibly to impress the old woman who helped him run the store), decided that he was gonna help us.

“Now, I can’t help you two young bucks lift this thing,” he said. “But I’ll help you by getting the door.”

And he got the door, and in doing so almost got stepped on by Tom, as we were already taking that thing the hell out of Pleasantville. Old Dude was basically in the way.

When we got the four-foot fire alarm to the truck bed, Old Dude surprised us by jumping in to the back of the truck Dukes-of-Hazard-style (as we were about to put the alarm in the truck bed) and quickly slapping down cardboard to protect the alarm from the smooth plastic of the truck’s bed liner.

“You’ll want to tie that down,” said Old Dude.

“Naw, I think it’ll be all right,” said Tom, while simultaneously giving me a look that said, there is no fucking reason on earth to tie down this chunk of metal. It ain’t budging.

We covered the alarm with a tarp and jumped out of the truck. I reached over to open the truck bed for Old Dude but he must have figured that because he had jumped into the truck, he could jump out of it.

And he jumped over the side, slipped on the wet concrete, fell on his back and grabbed his chest. The expression on his face was one of pure terror. Embarrassment, weakness, old age, pain and worst of all, general stupidity, all surfaced on his countenance and jockeyed for control.

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Fortunately for him, his pride quickly got the better of him and he jumped up to his feet, insisting that he was fine. He then rushed back into the store (most likely to call an ambulance) and Tom and I got into the truck.

And then Tom started the engine.

And then I lit a cigarette.

And then Tom and I made eye contact.

And we damn near had a heart attack laughing at that shit.

And I tell that story every Christmas (but I leave in the part about the Fuddruckers storage shed and when we accidentally set off the alarm Christmas morning), and every Christmas, someone always says, “That’s horrible that you guys laughed like that at that old man.”

And as a result, every Christmas I am reminded that it’s really funny when senior citizens fall, especially if they don’t get hurt.

Some things are just true.

Oh, and in case you’re keeping score, I’m taking Cleveland tonight.