Everything Is Under Con-Troll

Rob Kyff on

Have you heard the story of Cornelius "Con" Trary and his encounter with the troll?

Con is a conventional, traditional guy -- a tied-down cannon who thinks inside the box, pushes in all the stops, and burns his candle at one end.

He likes to play the deity's advocate, return someone's thunder, and pull the wool off people's eyes.

Con always plays things far from the vest. He goes half hog, jumps into things with one foot, and laughs over spilled milk. Playing with a full deck, he's always on his rocker and rubbing people the right way.

A Johnny-come-early, he enjoys getting up on the right side of the bed, skating on thick ice, biting off less than he can chew, and barking up the right tree.

Speaking of trees, one day Con was feeling a little above the weather and up in the mouth, so he decided to take a walk through the woods.

To make a short story long, it was a beautiful day, so he felt like a fish in water and the high man on the totem pole who could cut the mustard. He clearly had an easy row to hoe and was keeping a loose upper lip.

Soon he came upon a brook babbling so loudly you couldn't hear a pin drop. In his first-ditch effort to cross the brook, he contemplated a wet run. But then he spotted a bridge, which he decided to cross before he came to it.

As Con walked over the bridge, a fierce-looking troll suddenly jumped out at him. The troll was an old kid on the block, so Con knew him from Adam's off ox.

The troll was a bad Samaritan and a guilty bystander who put his worst foot forward. A jack of no trades and a curse in disguise, he'd been living low on the hog, and his bite was worse than his bark.

"Let's start with a dirty slate," he said to Con. "I'm here to dig up the hatchet, wake up sleeping dogs, and give you a taste of someone else's medicine!"

Attempting to add injury to insult, the troll threw half a ball of wax at Con, but it traveled only three of the nine yards between them.

Turning a keenly-sighted eye to the troll, Con said, "That's the first straw! The devil is in the generalities, so capturing you will be easy sledding, like beating a live horse."

Like a chicken with his head on, Con engaged in a calm goose chase, eventually cornering the troll in a large shrub.

Realizing that a troll in the bush was worth two in the hand, Con said, "You're someone I would touch with a ten-foot pole." And, picking up a long stick, Con did just that.


Rob Kyff, a teacher and writer in West Hartford, Conn., invites your language sightings. Send your reports of misuse and abuse, as well as examples of good writing, via e-mail to or by regular mail to Rob Kyff, Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Master Strokes: Golf Tips Free Range Garfield Mike Lester Agnes Mike Luckovich