Dear Crabby, I Need My Tools Back!

Dear Crabby,

It’s time to go out and start working in my yard, but my neighbor still hasn’t returned some of the tools he borrowed from me last year.  What’s the best way to get them back?

Sincerely, Ned TooNice

Dear Mr. TooNice,

I’ve never really been one to suffer from things like tact and manners before.  If a neighbor, friend, or relative has borrowed something of mine and I notice they haven’t returned it, two things are about to happen.  First, they will get a phone call or personal visit from me within moments of me noticing and will know that I ain’t happy! Second, they will be notified that if they don’t return the item that instant, it will be the last time they will have been allowed to borrow anything of mine. My biggest problem is that the last time I noticed something was missing, it was my hedge trimmers, and I stomped off to my neighbor’s to lay into him. When I got there, I demanded to know where the hedge trimmers were at. He told me that they were on a hook in his garage. So I started in with my big lecture about how irresponsible it is to borrow something special from a neighbor and then not return it later. He stared at me with no response. So I became even more emphatic and told him how the proper response from this type of individual would be to apologize and not even have the nerve to ask for any more tools in the future. He still stared at me with no response. So I finally demanded, “Do you understand what I am trying to say?” To which he replied, “Yes, I believe so.” So I said, “Do you have anything you’d like to say then?” He simply responded, “Yes. I forgive you for borrowing my hedge trimmers two years ago, and I am glad I got them back from you last year.” Then I just stared at him for a few moments, realizing that he was correct and that they were in fact his trimmers to begin with. Then, without skipping a beat, I responded, “I’m glad we had this talk. So, can I borrow your trimmers real quick?”  Being the kind and gracious neighbor that he is, he let me borrow them again to take care of my hedges.  So you see, it’s good to demand justice when you think it’s in order, but you certainly have to be prepared when justice calls you out on the carpet too. I guess the moral to the story is that it’s easier to see the speck in your neighbor’s eye than the log in your own at times. It’s like when I get angry about why there are always ten hot dogs but then only eight buns in every package.  Just as I sit down to write yet another letter to the manufacturer, I stop and say, “Tonight we’ll just eat chicken instead.” Then the world seems to make sense again and I don’t have to get upset. So good luck and remember my suggestions.  Make sure you’re not the guilty party and consider just eating chicken.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. Marcia Travis says

    This was really good – great job!

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