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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

An Umbrella Policy

An Umbrella Policy
This cranky old man has been down at the Jersey Shore for two weeks.  Why you may ask are you cranky when you have been at the beach for two weeks?

I have a thing about beach umbrellas.  Beach umbrellas can catch the wind, yank out of the sand, flip over and fly pointy end first into casual beach people.  I don’t like when that happens.  I especially don’t want that to happen with my umbrella on my watch.

We bought some new umbrellas last year, “Tommy Bahama” umbrellas.  They have a base that screws into the sand to prevent it from doing what I described in the previous paragraph. 

I hate those umbrellas.  They have a design flaw.  The umbrella ribs are separated in such a way that the wind catches the umbrella and turns it into a mini-sail.  This causes the umbrella to rock back and forth and though it does not rip out of the sand and fly away, it does not remain stable and it drives me crazy worrying about it.

Yesterday it was particularly windy and sunny, and Mrs. Cranky wanted the umbrella open to protect her from the sun.  Being a wonderful husband I set up the umbrella for her.  Being a rotten impatient jerk, I got tired of readjusting the defective umbrella, cursed several times, and ripped the umbrella out of the sand.  I might have said something like, “Put on sun screen, this umbrella is a pain in the ass and I’m done with it.” Maybe, I’m not real clear on that point.

At this time, Mike chimed in with a solution.  Not Mike my son, he did not make it to the shore this year.  Not Mike Mrs. Cranky’s cousin, not Mike Mrs. Cranky’s cousin’s son, but Mike my brother-in-law.  In case you’re confused, it was not Mike my brother-in-laws son, or Mike my brother-in-laws son’s son, it was Mike, my brother-in-law.

Mike, my brother-in-law, broke brother-in-law code by offering a solution to the umbrella problem.  Even though he knew I claimed the umbrella had a design flaw, he chose to insist that the umbrella stability could be resolved with a better umbrella anchor.
Tommy Bahama anchor

Brother-in-law's superior anchor system with stability flange
I believe that proper brother-in-law code would have required Mike, my brother-in-law, to nod his head in agreement and say, “Oh yeah, definitely a design flaw…I would buy a new umbrella.”

Instead he insisted on using a fancy umbrella anchor he had and demonstrating how the improved anchor would solve the stability issue.

I adamantly let him know,

“It is not the anchor; it is an umbrella design flaw!”

“Let me just try this anchor.”

“It won’t work!”

“Let me try.”

Mrs. Cranky ganged up on me.

“Let him try.”

Mrs. Cranky's uncle Louie from Canada, ganged up on me.

"Let him" 

Mike, Mrs. Cranky’s cousin, ganged up on me.

“Let him try.”

Mike, Mrs. Cranky’s cousin’s five year old, ganged up on me.

“Let him try.”

Mike, my brother-in-law’s son, ganged up on me.

“Let him try.”

Even Mike, my brother-in-law’s son’s five year old son, ganged up on me.

“Let him try!”

Out Miked, I let Mike, my brother-in-law, try.

Even with the larger anchor base flange, the design defective umbrella caught too much wind and tried to wriggle loose, but the stronger improved umbrella anchor held firm and the umbrella was stabilized.

Mrs. Cranky, Uncle Louie and five different Mikes all said in unison,

“We told you so.”

Mrs. Cranky added,


I still say my brother-in-law broke an unwritten code by challenging me in front of Mrs. Cranky .

I also stand by my claim that the umbrella has a severe design flaw.

My brother-in-law did give me an expensive cigar, so we’re good.

I do have issues with Tommy Bahama!  


  1. If you ever happen to meet Tommy Bahama, politely say to him, "You're a jerk!!"

  2. Even with the umbrella, (flawed or not), Mrs C should still be wearing sunscreen at the beach. Or anywhere else the sun is shining. Melanoma is no joke.
    At the beach even under an umbrella burns are possible from reflected rays off the water and hot white sand.

  3. Totally broke the code - I suggest you immediately go out and buy a bigger drill than the one he has!

  4. At least you got a cigar out of having to endure the agony of being told "I told you so" by so many people.


  5. I've found that those things that screw into the sand make the umbrellas more likely to get blown away, as they're sitting too loosely in the screwy thing.

    I get made fun of every time we go to the beach, because I bring a hammer to get the umbrella firmly anchored in the sand. But my umbrella never gets blown away and never falls over. :D


  6. Well, your brother in law did break the code. You guys have to stick together on things. I'm glad you got the umbrella issue solved though.

    Have a fabulous day Cranky. ☺

  7. Umbrellas are for rain....that's my policy.

  8. Definitely a design flaw (I've got your back Cranky).

    I just go to the mountains and put on a hat 'cause, you know, I'm lazy. ;)

  9. Well, I certainly hope you didn't steal Mike's twirl--I mean screw--technique with that umbrella. Or next time you need one, he'll charge you an outrageous price.

  10. At least you got a good cigar to soften the blow to your ego.

  11. A design flaw, indeed. Your brother-in-law may have broken the code, but at least he saved you the money spent on a new umbrella.

  12. An amusing anecdote and an enjoyable read. I'm a Doubting Thomas when it comes to umbrellas, even those that don't sit in sand.

  13. At least you fought to the bitter end and got a cool cigar to sooth the wounds.

  14. That sounds like a lot of work just for an umbrella!

  15. That's not right dude. That should go on his permanent record :)