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Life without WD-40 | Column

by | February 9, 2019 5:00 pm

Last Updated: February 5, 2019 at 4:36 pm

My brother T-Bob called me last week. He’s pushing 60 and has 15-year-old twins, so he doesn’t know his own name half the time. He gets rattled easily, and by “easily” I mean “24/7.”

Widdle and I were driving to a funeral when T called. He and I don’t bother with greetings–no “hello” or “what’s up?” We just get to it. And he did.

“Guess what was hidden in Tito’s sock drawer?” he bawled.

“A honey-baked ham?”

“Haha, my sister the comedian. No…. WD-40!”

Friends, he didn’t say WD-40 and it wasn’t WD-40, but this is a family newspaper and I’m too old to be cutting-edge. So let’s just say it was WD-40.

“Wow,” I said, and immediately put him on speaker for Widdle’s benefit.

“Wow is right!” T-Bob snapped. “The worst part—his sister found the WD-40!”

“Why was Tia in his sock drawer?” I asked.

“That’s my question, too,” Widdle said.

“Will you stop!” T-Bob howled. “She was folding clothes!”

“She was snooping, is what she was,” I said.

“Sure sounds like it,” Widdle said.

“WOULD YOU LISTEN TO ME???” shouted T-Bob, who seemed to be gasping for air. “He’s 15! That’s too young for WD-40!”

“I was 12,” Widdle cackled. I punched him in the shoulder.

“I’m lying,” Widdle said quickly. “Yes, 15 is too young to need WD-40.”

I took the follow-up: “T-Bob, calm down. At least he’s being careful. We all know you can’t have too much WD-40 lying around.”

For a few moments T-Bob just breathed wetly into the phone.

“Dude, is your face purple?” Widdle asked.

“We should FaceTime,” I said. More ragged breathing.

Suddenly I felt sad. I love my brother with all my heart. We talk or text every single day. He tells me things he wouldn’t say to anyone else.

“T-Bob, are you upset that Tito has WD-40, or that he didn’t come to you and ask about WD-40?” I asked.

“I can’t believe I’m having this conversation,” he replied.

Widdle spoke up. “Calm down. It’s not drugs; it’s not a ****** knife. He’s a good kid, he makes good grades, and he’s just growing up. What did he say when you talked to him?”

“I haven’t talked to him,” T-Bob said.


“Because before I talk to him, I have to talk to his mother,” he replied.


“I actually get that,” Widdle said. “That’s tough.”

“Exactly,” T-Bob said.

“I know that’s her baby boy, but your wife is an adult,” I said, sternly. “You need to figure out together where you stand on this WD-40 issue. Be a united front when you talk to your son.” (For someone with no kids, I have a lot of opinions.)

“Wait!” Widdle said. “Tito may not even be using the WD-40. He may have it just for show.”

“I thought that’s what wallets were for,” T-Bob said.

“You have a point,” Widdle said.

“Well, I think Tito is being sensible,” I said. “Better he should have WD-40 and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

“She’s right. Without WD-40, you could have a squeaky hinge for 18 years. That ain’t cheap,” Widdle said, sagely.

I nodded like T-Bob could see me. “It would be great if he saved the WD-40 for marriage, but if that ship has sailed, kudos for being careful.”

T-Bob chuckled. “This is payback for everything I put Mom and Dad through,” he said.

“You got that right,” I said. “You can also tell Tito about karma.”

(Julie R. Smith, who does not have stock in WD-40, can be reached at
















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