The Dangers of Gus

The Dangers of Gus

3 mins
August 11, 2020

Dear Editor,

I believe it was the writer Edgar Wallace who said, “An intellectual is someone who has found something more interesting than sex.”  One of my neighbors, I’ll call him Gus (only because he acts like a Gus, even though his real name is Charles, who I know for certain doesn’t read this particular newspaper) has found that  “something” even more interesting than sex. The something he found is a chainsaw. Gus lumbered to my home early this evening with the chainsaw he had just purchased. Let me interrupt the story here with the fact that Gus does indeed have a degree of some sort from a college that is no longer in existence. My long-dead father would have accurately referred to Gus as an educated idiot.

Gus read the instructions with some diligence but missed something in the translation from the English in the printed instructions to the English in his brain. Long story short; he had the chain brake engaged. I do not claim to be a mechanical whiz, but I know just enough about chainsaws to be a danger to myself and a genuine hazard to the rest of humanity. It took all of three to five seconds for Mr. Unmechanical, a.k.a. me, to remedy his problem.

In life one problem is always a breeding ground for more problems. Gus is not a picture of health nor is he an amazing physical specimen. He is a pretty nice guy, however. I asked Gus if he had purchased protective chaps and steel toed boots to make his venture into the world of lumberjacks a bit safer. I assure you I do not have green teeth, nor am I covered with fish scales or lichen, but Gus looked at me like I possessed all three. He said he would be careful. I’m always careful when I wander into the woods with my chainsaw and my chaps have more notches in them than the grip on some old west badman’s pistol. So much for being careful.

Gus lives just over the hill from me and I don’t think the sound of a running chainsaw will carry that far, screaming in pain might, so I don’t know if he is out putting his chainsaw to its intended use.  Instead I’m waiting for the wail of sirens from the local ambulance to inform me of what is happening in Gus’s life.

I apologize to any man in your readership who is mechanically inclined and whose name is really Gus.  The only real-life Gus I ever knew was a neighbor in Minneapolis who liked to work on cars while they were still working just fine. When he was done ‘repairing’ a car it seldom functioned as intended. To quote his wife, when one of his escapades into mechanics didn’t go properly, “When Gus fixes something it never works again.”

Arian Knops

Bruce, WI

This article was orginally reported by