Move Your Face Away From My Daughter

 

 

I had been informed, inadvertently, that all 3 of my daughters were sexually active. Its not that I didn’t think it would happen, I mean, they are all adults now, but I really didn’t want to know. Not ever.

My entire life as a father was spent preventing this from happening. I spent countless nights sitting at the kitchen table pretending to review case notes, while pubescent, little pukes sat on the couch in the family room beside one of my daughters pretending to be watching ‘Shrek’, or ‘Matilda”, or some other piece of cinematic dribble. If he got too close, I would slide the chair back across the ceramic kitchen floor, and he would jump back into his own space. At what he thought was an opportune moment, he leaned closer and attempted to swallow my daughter. “Hey.”, I shouted at him from the kitchen. “Move your face away from my daughter.”

“I don’t know what the problem is.”, my wife stated. “Its all perfectly normal.”

“Its far from perfect.”, I replied.

“We did the same thing.”, she reminded me.

“I know exactly what things we did.”, I said. “But your father liked me And that doesn’t really help at all.”

“I’m not so sure he would liked you if he knew what you were doing to me.”, she stated. “And you said you like Margeaux’s boyfriend, didn’t you?”

“Not enough to sleep with my daughter.”, I answered.

“I know.”, she said. “But she’s an adult now. What did you think they were doing?”, she inquired. “They’re living together! And girls will find themselves involved with men who are very much like their fathers.”

“Ah, hell no! It doesn’t matter.”, I told her. “What I never thought about was what he was doing to her. Now,I’m just going to have to make the little peckerhead disappear.”

“Why is this so hard for you to deal with?”, she asked. “Did you want them to be alone for the rest of their lives?”

“No.”, I answered somewhat dejectedly. “But they could have joined a nunnery.”

“We’re not Catholic.”, my wife felt the need to remind me.

“We could be.”, I replied. “What the hell is going on with my girls?”, I asked, although I had no idea why. I really had no desire to know anything anymore, but it was the only thing I could think of to say.

“Do you really want to know?”, my wife asked me.

“Not at all.”, I replied. “Not ever.”

“It’s alright.”, she said, trying to console me as I attempted to put the pieces of my shattered universe back together. “Now you don’t say anything to the girls about this. Okay?”

“What the hell could I possibly say to them?”, I asked. “Its the little peckerhead I want a few minutes alone with.”

“Don’t even think about it.”, she advised me. Just let it go. Relax, and let it go. You can’t remember anything, anymore, so this will be forgotten too. Right?”

“Do I have a choice?”, I asked.

“Not if you plan on sleeping in the bed tonight.”, she replied.

“I wasn’t planning on sleeping in there.”, I said.

“Oh”, she responded, ” well then for sure you have no choice.” She stood up, and took my hand. “In fact,” she added, “I’m not sure why we have to wait for tonight.”

“Are the kids still coming over tomorrow?”, I asked as we headed to the bedroom.

“As far as I know.”, she said.

“Well, let’s hope we’re done by then.”, I suggested.

“Alright.”, she said, chuckling. “I’ll do my best.”, as we jumped on the bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Night To Remember…

I will never forget that night.The crowd had been growing steadily for hours, despite the sweltering heat. There was indiscernible chanting emanating from the group stationed beside an abandoned Chevy Impala, as they lit fires in the trash cans that lined the overcrowded street. Placards were held high, swaying back and forth, enticing the local media to begin filming. A communal roar erupted as a stretch limousine with blacked out windows pulled up in front of the office tower that had long served to ignite the activists’ anger. As the vehicle came to a stop, the crowd silenced, as if time itself was standing still. Patiently waiting to see who the passenger was, the group who had been lighting the fires in garbage cans, unable to control their frustration, began a new chant. “Come on out”. “Come on out”, they sang in melodious tones.

“Who do you think is in there?”, my wife asked me.

“I don’t know.”, I replied.

“I think its the security guy.”, she stated.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.”, I answered.

“Well”, she continued, “Who else could it be?”

“Can you stop talking for a minute?”, I blurted out. “I can’t hear anything.”

“That’s because you’re going deaf.”, she told me.

“No.”, I corrected her, “Its because you won’t stop talking.”

A man in a dark suit emerged from the vehicle, carrying a black briefcase, and was led through the crowd who were trying to block the passage into the building, by 4 incredibly large men, who also wore dark suits, accessorized with mirrored sunglasses.

“I told you it was him.”, my wife exclaimed. “It was so obvious.”

“Proud of yourself, are you?”, I asked her.

“Not really.”, she replied. “It was so obvious.”

“Yes, You said that already.”, I reminded her. “Are we done now?”, I asked.

“Don’t you want to see how it ends?”. she queried.

“There’s no need.”, I told her. “You can just tell me everything that’s going to happen.”

“Well. that kind of takes the fun out of it, don’t you think?”, she asked.

“No.”, I told her. “The non stop talking does that for me.” I turned the television off, stood up, and took the dogs for a walk. And that was the last time my wife and I watched a movie together.

The Old People’s Club

My youngest daughter wanted to talk to me, and so, entered my bedroom. The first thing she noticed were some hard candies that I had left atop my dresser. “Why do old people always carry those candies?”. she asked.

“Its one of the rules.”, I answered.

“What rules?”, she inquired, eager to hear more.

“Well”, I said, “When you turn 55, you get this letter in the mail. It explains this organization, designed only for old people. There are a set of rules we must agree to follow, and a list of where to purchase the things you need to join.”

“You’re making this up.”, she stated.

“Am I?”, I replied. I held up my C.A.R.P. membership card. “This is the membership card.”

“But you’re not retired.”, she informed me.

“No, I’m not.”, I answered. “Its just a clever rouse to throw the young people off of the real purpose of the organization. You think its for retired people, but its just old people getting shit the young people can’t find.”

“Like what?”, she asked.

“Like those candies.”, I replied. “And the best places to eat dinner at 4 o’clock, and lessons on being mean and cranky. Its all part of a wonderful conspiracy to keep you dumb asses away from our stuff.”

“I don’t believe you.”, she stated.

“Well, then,”, I said, “Its working perfectly.”

“I don’t know why I talk to you.”, she said as she turned away to leave my room.

“Oh, honey,”, I told her, “I’m doing everything I can to get you to stop.”

“So I see you found the old man asshole store.”, she said.

“About 5 years ago.”, I replied. “Pretty sure I have it mastered by now.”

She left the room. I was proud of myself.

“Why do you have to screw around with the kids?”, my wife asked. The pride quickly vanished.

“I just can’t help myself.”, I said. “Every time I touch this membership card, it just happens.”

“I think you like being a crazy old man.”, she stated.

“Oh, I do.”, I informed her. “And I am quite fond of the crazy old bitch living in your head, too.”

“Thanks.”, she said, as she gave me a hug, just as my daughter returned to my bedroom.

“Ah, no!”, she stated emphatically. “You’re not gonna get into that old people sex stuff now.”

“”No.”, I answered. “We’ll wait until you leave and close the door behind you.”

“You’re very bad.”, my wife said as my daughter left, closing the door behind her.

“Its true.”, I said. “But I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

“Me either.”, the crazy old woman stated. “Me either.”

Terror On The Information Super Highway

 

It started in the middle of the night, coming out of nowhere, so there was no time to prepare. And now, 2 days after it began, there was no end in sight. It was relentless, gnawing at us like a rabid coyote. The anxiety was thick enough to breathe, and the silence was deafening. And then, out of the stillness, a small voice asked “When is it going to stop, daddy?”

“I don’t know, honey.”, I answered helplessly. “I just don’t know.”

“What are we going to do now?”, my wife asked, seemingly as frightened as my daughter was.

“I don’t know.”, I answered, racking my brain for some way out of this nightmare. “The only thing I am sure about is that I can’t play another freakin’ board game!”

“We have to do something.”, she stated. “Look at us. We’re like animals, here!”

“Its okay.”, I assured her. “It will all be okay.”

“It will never be okay, again.”, she sighed.

Deep down I knew that she was right. It never would be okay, again. It never could be.

“Why don’t we take the kids and go to your mother’s?”, I suggested.

“Can we?”, she asked.

“Why not?”, I said.  My wife paused for a moment, and then looked at me with those black, Moroccan eyes.

“So, why didn’t you think of this days ago?”, she demanded to know.

“I’m not particularly fond of your mother.”, I answered.

“You are going to come with, right?”, she asked.

“She doesn’t have the room for all of us.” I told her. “I’ll be okay here.”

“I don’t think so.”, she said. “You’re not sending me with all of the kids while you stay here and do nothing.”

“I’m not going.”, I insisted.

“Well then, neither am I.”, she stated.

“Well,”, I told her, “the only thing left to do is plug the modem back in, and surrender.”

“What do you mean?”, she asked.

“This is harder on us than it is on them, I think.”, I suggested. “I hate to give in, but there’s no other way to get out of this nightmare.”

“Are you sure?”, she asked.

“Yes?”, I said with some reluctance. “I’m sure.” We called the kids into the kitchen and sat them down at the table. “Your mother has something to tell you.”, I informed them. She sat there as stoic as a statue, and I couldn’t help but wonder when he pigeons would come to land on her. She folded her arms across her chest, and sat back in her chair.

“Your father and I have been quite upset by the way you have all been abusing our good nature. We pay for the internet, and we expect you to respect our rules about using it. We would like to believe that you have learned a lesson here.”  She paused, and leaned forward, looking at all of them one by one, as they sat around the circular table. Boy, she was good!

“So, today,”, she continued, “we are willing to bring the internet back, but with conditions.”

“What conditions?”, one of the kids asked. Good question, I thought as I wanted to know what these conditions were myself.

“No streaming, no game playing, no social media, until all of your homework is done. Agreed?”

There was, what sounded like a somewhat reserved heavenly chorus response of “Yes”.

“And”, she added, “all of your devices are put away by 10 o’clock, every night. Agreed.”

“Yes.”, came the reluctant chant.

My wife continued to look them in the eye, causing them to look down at the table. “If this happens again”, she continued, “there will be no internet. Ever. Your father and I will change the password, and we will have the exclusive use of it. You will have nothing. If you need it for school work, you can go to the library, or Tim Horton’s, or any where else you want and use their wifi. Are we all  clear?”

“Yes.”, they said.

“In one hour”, she added, it will be working. Now, go and clean your rooms.” Like antelopes running  from a lioness, they ran up the stairs faster than I had ever seen them move before.

“You’re very good.”, I told her.

“You’re just figuring that out now?”. she replied.

“I guess so.”, I told her. “That look worked great on the kids.”

“Not just on the kids.”, she stated.

“What do you mean?”, I asked.

“How do you think I get you to clean out the garage, cut the lawn, or anything else I want you to do?”

“Just so we’re clear”, I answered, “I am not afraid of you.”

“I don’t want you to be afraid of me.”, she replied. “You just have to be unsure about what is going on in my head.”

“Well”, I told her, “I just assumed that it wasn’t much.”

“Pretty funny.”, she said, as she stood up from the table. She walked past me, and almost whispering said, “You might want to sleep with one eye open tonight.”

“I always do.”, I reminded her, as I pulled her towards me, and gave her a hug. “Sometimes I keep them both opened.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day

It was wonderful when they were young. All of those little people running around the house, jumping on my bed to wake me up, screaming “happy father’s day, daddy”. The cards they made for me at school, big red hearts glued to the front, with illegible hand writing telling me how much they loved me. Tie dyed tee shirts that they had made after taking my white tee shirts from my dresser drawer, which I wore proudly. As I, and the kids aged, the celebration took on a very different feel. This year was no different.

“The kids want to know what you want for father’s day.”, my wife informed me.

“Nothing.”, I answered.

“They’re going to get you something.”, she said, “so we may as well tell them what you want.” I thought long and hard.

“I would like to be left alone.”, I replied.

“What does that mean?”, my wife asked.

“I just want to drink a few beer and watch the ball game.”, I told her.

“Well that’s not going to happen.”, she advised me. “They’re all coming down for brunch.”

“When is brunch?”, I asked her.

“They will be here about 11.”, I was told.

“And when are they leaving?”. I inquired.

“I don’t know.”, she stated. “Does it matter?”

“Well”, I pointed out, ” they usually don’t leave until the evening. That’s not brunch. I don’t mind that they’re hear for brunch, but if they come at 11, why can’t they leave by 1 0r 2. Why do they have to stay until 8 or 9? It stops being brunch if they’re here for another meal.”

‘They want to spend time with you.”, she added.

“Then they could take me to the ball game.”, I responded.

“No one wants to go to the game.”, I was told.

“I do.”, I said.

“They’re coming here for brunch. They want to know what you want for father’s day.”, she continued.

“Okay.”, I answered. “I want them to leave by 1 or 2.”

“You’re being difficult.”, she stated in that tone that is designed to let me know that she is not pleased with me. I didn’t think I was being difficult. If it was father’s day, what couldn’t I get what I wanted? I was pretty certain that I was being reasonable and rational.

When I woke on father’s day, there was no jumping on my bed, no hand mare cards, or tie dyed tee shirts. There were no little voices screaming out “happy father’s day, daddy.”

“Please behave.”, my wife pleaded, as she readied the house for the coming arrival of the prodigal children.

“I always do my best.”, I informed her. “I can’t do more than that.”

“Try.”, she advised me.

They started arriving at 10:30, holding bags hiding gifts, and store bought cards. My wife busied herself in the kitchen, getting out the food to feed the ravenous hoard that would soon invade my dining room. I certainly appreciated the thoughtfulness of the gifts each one brought, but to be honest, I really had no use for any of them. Oh, the rhubarb-watermelon flavored licorice was wonderful, but I really didn’t need another mug, or shirt. My daughter-in-law, the newest member of our family, brought beer. She has now earned a special place in my heart!

We ate, my now adult kids made s’mores, while I drank beer and watched the ball game. We talked about upcoming birthdays, vacation plans, and issues that had arisen in their living situations. We did not talk about Justin Smoak’s home run, or Estrada’s crappy 3rd inning. As diner time approached, the discussion turned to what we should eat.

“What would you like, daddy?”, someone asked. I hate that question. For the past 30 years or so it hasn’t mattered what I wanted, they always seemed to think they knew what I wanted more than I did.

“It doesn’t matter.”, I said, resigning myself to the inevitable outcome.

“Should we order in?”, my wife asked.

“Only if you have money to pay for it.”, I answered.

“What should we order?”, she added. I wasn’t sure what this had to do with me. Why did I always have to be involved in discussions in which they would really never let me have what I wanted. Not even on father’s day!

“Thai food.”, I replied.

“No one eats Thai food here except you.”, one of my daughters blurted out. “We’re not getting Thai food.” And there it went. I was certain that they were going to settle on one of two things: Pizza, or Swiss Chalet.

“Let’s just get pizza.”, one of my sons said. “Its the easiest.”  And with that I heard Don Pardo speaking in my head. “Well, sir, for that correct answer, you have just won an all expense paid trip to anywhere away from your family for the remainder of the day.”

But we weren’t finished, no, we were far from done. “What do you want on the pizza.”, my wife asked.

“I’m good.”, I replied. “I’m not really hungry. I think I’m going to have go lay down soon. I think I may have had a few too many beers.”

“Do you want your surprise first?”, she asked. While I had hoped that it was going to be incredibly hot sex, I knew that it wasn’t going to happen, especially not with the kids around. “Its your favorite.”. she added, “Key Lime tart.” She was right, it was my favorite. I ate the tart, and was satisfied that it had been an okay father’s day. It was good to see all of the kids together, it generally doesn’t happen often enough. And to see them laughing, and getting along with each other, well, it made me realize that it isn’t really all that bad.

I went to lay down, after saying goodbye, and thanking them for the cards and wonderful gifts. My wife came into the bedroom shortly after to see if I was alright. “I’m fine.”, I told her.

“It was nice of the kids to come down. It was good to see them so happy.”, she told me, “You’re a good father.”

“Thank you.”, I answered. “I try my best.”

“I hope you had a good father’s day.”, she said. “And I hope that we can have everyone over again next year.”

“Okay.”, I answer. “But next year, I am giving each of them a white tee shirt and I want them to tie dye it for me.” She stood up and smiled.

“They will.”, she said. “They will.”

 

 

Tall In The Saddle

I love horseback riding. Always have. In fact, when my wife and I first starting dating, I took her horseback riding. I suppose it was partially to impress her, but also to see what she looked like on a horse. I love cowgirls. All the way back to Dale Evans, and up to Sharon Stone, In ‘The Quick & The Dead’. My wife to be had never been on a horse before, and requested an older, very slow and very sedate horse. With assistance, she climbed aboard, and off we went.

So, there we were, sitting tall in the saddle, as we paraded along the trail, with me riding behind her, watching her back side straddle the horse she was riding. I was certain that it was going to be an exciting ride!

After riding down the trail and across the stream, we stopped to rest the horses. Standing beside our horses, as they grazed on the wild grass, my date turned to me. “I don’t think this horse likes me very much.”, she said.

“Why would you think that?”, I asked, as I watched her horse nuzzle up against her leg.

“He doesn’t listen.”, she informed me. “When I tell him to slow down, he goes faster. And now, he just keeps stepping on my foot.”

“He’s playing.”, I stated.

“No.”, she replied. “He’s an ass. There’s something not right with him.”

“Maybe he’s freaked out by the white jeans you’re wearing.”, I offered.

“What’s wrong with my jeans?”, she asked.

“Well”, I postulated, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wear white jeans to go horseback riding. It just can’t turn out well.”

As we mounted our rides again, we were informed that we could run them across the field, as fast as we felt comfortable. I was off like a shot, racing through the grass and the bushes as fast as my horse could run. I turned to see that my date was flailing around on her pony, rocking from side to side, with a look of terror on her face. I rode over to her, and settled her horse. She dismounted and stood beside the horse, staring at him, with eyes that I was sure could kill him, right there and then.

“Its okay.”, I told her. “I have the horse.”, as I grabbed on to the reins.

“I am not getting on that messed up animal again.”, she said, as she sat down on the grass.

“You may want to get up.”, I advised. “You’re going to get grass stains all over your ass.”

“I hate horseback riding.”, she informed me. “I’m never doing this again.”

“That’s okay.”, I told her.

“I’m sorry.”, she stated. I reached my hand out to her.

“Come on.”, I said. “You can ride back with me.” I pulled her up onto my horse, and she sat behind me. “Just hold on tight.”  I pulled on the reins of her horse, and led him back to the stables. As we approached the barn, we were greeted by a stable hand.

“Something wrong?”, the young lady asked.

“My horse is an idiot.”, my wife said as I handed her horse’s reins to the hand. “He didn’t listen. He did whatever he wanted to do. He’s an ass.”

“Apparently, he is not as calm and sedate as we were led to believe.”, I added.

“I’m so sorry.”, the woman apologized. “I can give you a pass for a free ride next time you come out.”

“No, thank you.”, my wife responded. “There is not going to be a next time. Not ever.”

“We’ll take the pass.”, I interjected.

“I’m not doing this again.”, my wife said.

“You never know.”, I said. “We’ll take the pass.”

“What’s your name, honey?”, she asked my wife as she began filling out the pass.

“Just put it in my name,”, I said. “I paid for the ride.”

In the car on our return to civilization, she sat in silence. Not a word was spoken.

“That’s cool that we got a free pass.”, I said.

“I don’t know why.”, she stated. “I am not doing that again.”

“That’s fine.”, I told her. “I can use the pass when I go.”

“You’re going to go without me?”, she asked.

I looked at her, surprised that she thought that I wouldn’t, and I saw those eyes looking at me much like the way she looked at that horse. “Are you telling me that I can’t go horseback riding without you, but since you don’t want to go, I can’t go back at all?”

She said nothing. The next 35 minutes were the longest 35 minutes ever. Not a word was spoken, until I got her home. I wasn’t sure if I would ever see her again. I went back to the stables a few days later, and used the free pass. I rode and rode, racing across the field, through the grass and the bushes, across the stream, and up the escarpment. I sat tall in the saddle, looking out over the valley below.

My future wife called me the next day, and we went out for dinner. “I’ve given it some thought.”, she said. “And I think I would like to try horseback riding again. But with a different horse. Maybe we can go on the weekend. I still have that free pass, so even if I hate it again, it didn’t really cost anything.”

“I’m sorry.”, I told her. “I used the pass a couple of days ago.”

“Are you serious?”, she asked.

“Yes.”, I said. “You said that you would never go back. I went after work.”

“Well”, she said. “I guess you had better find something else for us to do.”

“You know.”, I replied, “if you’re going to be so difficult, and make my life so complicated, we may as well be married.”

“Is that a proposal?”, she asked.

“I suppose so.”, I answered.

“Well then”, she said, “I’m ready.”

I looked at her and smiled. Man how I love this women. It has been suggested that her family has been able to place a curse on me so that I fell hopelessly in love with her, but it really doesn’t matter. We have never been horseback riding together since, but we have shared a lifetime of sadness and joy, happiness and despair, and 5 kids, and have managed to stay grounded and together. I suspect that she is very much like that horse, so long ago. Stubborn, feisty, a little dysfunctional, and I love her.

 

 

 

Monsters, & Other Scary Things

 

My family is weirdly phobic. I myself suffer from a fear of flying,  the kind that occurs in airplanes, and death. Seems pretty reasonable to me. My family, on the other hand, suffers from such intense fears, that they often huddle together, like penguins trying to stay warm, protecting themselves from the impending doom that is certain to consume their very souls.

One of my daughters is frightened to death of costumes, you know, people dressed up as team mascots, and cartoon characters. It matters not that she is looking at Batman, or Spiderman, heroes that will keep her from harm’s way, it is still a costume. She has never been able to sit through a professional sporting event. She has never attended the Ice Capades, and our family trip to Disneyland was, to say the least, a significantly traumatic experience for her.

Along with this masklophobia, she, one of her sisters, and my wife also suffer from the dreaded fear of clowns. Not just the evil, scary clowns that have been portrayed in ‘It’ as Pennywise, but the happy, funny clowns that fall out of small cars, and squirt water out of a flower on their lapel. It seems that all clowns all scary, including Bozo, Krusty, and Clarabell. It is not surprising that none of them have ever been to the circus. Our one trip to a rodeo proved disastrous once the rodeo clowns came out. Their coulrophobia induced screams, and shrieks, tears, and gasping for air. And then their was a hasty retreat, which included jogging through the aisles, to the car

There is a widespread fear of monsters, which I have tried to point out on numerous occasions, are not real. My wife cannot watch a sci-fi film, such as Alien, or The Thing, or even Frankenstein. She is however fine with Frank ‘n’ Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which as a film, has an inordinate number of people in costume. She says that she likes Tim Curry. I remind her that Tim Curry was also Pennywise the clown. She refuses to discuss it, stating only that she doesn’t like clowns. As a general rule, if she is home, I cannot watch horror or Science Fiction films unless I am in a room she is not. I don’t mind really, I mean, she generally talks through every film or television show we watch, repeatedly asking, ‘Who is that?”, or “Where did he come from?” I regularly point out that it would be easy for her to follow, if she would just stop talking.

Musophobia, the fear of mice is another exasperating phobia shared by my wife and a daughter. The would sit paralyzed, watching a mouse dance across the living room, with walking stick and top hat, and scream that “There’s a mouse!” And when help arrives, they insist that the rodent is not harmed in any way. I consistently offer to merely capture and rehabilitate these disease ridden varmints, but the mice refuse to comply. I am forced therefore to exact more permanent consequences for invading my home, which creates even more screaming from the troubled duo.

My family also suffers from germophobia, and hydrophobia. In order to keep themselves germ free, there is a chronic, if not compulsive hand washing routine, which surprises me. How can people who are afraid of water, immerse their hands in water so often. My wife says that I am being ridiculous. She is only afraid of putting her face in water, not her hands. Now, it makes me wonder if, during the lifetime we have been married, she has ever washed her face? I have kissed that face! Hell, I hope she has.

My eldest daughter suffers from spectrophobia, the fear of ghosts, while my wife encourages these same spirits to come for a visit, and stay for some coffee and dessert. I myself am afraid of my wife seeing ghosts. After her father passed away, she asked him for a sign that he was watching over her. The next day I had a heart attack. I asked her not to participate in these spirit shenanigans any more. She replied that the sign was that I survived the heart attack. I am not particularly fond of the presence of those who have departed, but I am terrified of my wife’s ability to conjour up near fatal maladies.

Two of my daughters, one of my sons, and my wife are all terrified of being sick, or becoming ill. Nosemaphobics, all of them. They are petrified of vomiting, not being able to breathe when their noses are stuffed up, and even being in hospitals, lest they catch some viral concoction from patient zero.

It is a tough road to travel, one which I am forced to mostly travel on my own, due to the array of complex fears living deep within the psyches of my family members. I often wonder if the old adage ‘There is nothing to fear, but fear itself’ was ever raised at a general meeting of Phobics Anonymous. Not that it would have made any difference. My family embraces their fear, holds on to it, and runs away screaming and shrieking whenever possible, while I fend off the mice, and ghosts, and monsters, and clowns, and a myriad of viral entities.

The Hand Is Quicker Than The I

 

“Come in here, quick!”, she shouted. “Hurry!” I ran as fast as I could, fearing the worst. But when I arrived in the bedroom, my wife seemed perfectly calm.

“I need your help.”, she said. I looked down and noticed her hand, under her pants.

“Seems to me you could have used my help a little earlier.”, I said.

“Oh, shut up”, she said, “My hand is stuck. I need you to help me get my hand out.”

“What exactly were you trying to do?”, I asked. “Impersonate Nero?”

“Nero?”, she inquired.

“Ya, Nero.”, I explained. “He was a Roman Emperor who spent a lot of time fiddling as well.”
“I wasn’t fiddling!”, she said., I was scratching, and my finger nail got stuck on my panties, and now I can’t get my hand out of my pants. Hurry up, it hurts.”

“Call it scratching if you want.”, I said, “But if I can’t get your hand unstuck, you’re gonna have fun explaining this at emerg.”

“Just get my hand out.”, she shouted.

“Okay, okay.”, I said. “What do you want me to do.”

“Slide my pants down.”, she said.

“Well, I haven’t heard that in a long time.”, I said, as I began pulling her pants off.

“Slowly!”, she shouted.

When I got her pants to her knees, I noticed that her hand was inside her panties, palm down. “Must have been one hell of an itch.”, I told her. “You know, I have a tool that can fix that.”

“Really?”, she asked. “Where is it?”

I started to unzip my fly. “Stop it.”, she said. “This is serious.”

I did up my pants. “So now what?”, I asked.

“I need you to reach into my panties, and try to tug on my finger.”, she directed. “I think part of my fingernail is caught on some stitching or something.”

“Well”, I said, “This doesn’t look good.”

“What’s wrong?”, she asked, with great concern.

“Nothing’s wrong.”, I said. ” I just can’t see where its stuck. Can you move your hand at all?”

‘”I don’t know.”, she answered,

“Well, try.”, I suggested.

She began moving her hand back and forth. but I still couldn’t tell where her finger was stuck. “You probably should have removed your panties before you started scratching the kitty.”, I told her.

“Can you be serious  for 5 minutes?”, she shrieked.

‘I don’t know.”, I said. “But I can try.”

I grabbed hold of her finger and holding it still, moved the fabric of her panties in the other direction, and released the trapped digit. I swear I heard the theme from ‘Free Willy’ start to play!

“Shit,my finger hurts so much.”, my wife said.

“Well that’ll teach you to start without me.”, I reminded her.

“Its not funny!”, she stated.

“Oh”, I told her, “It is. This is one of those forever moments.”

“Really?”, she asked.

“Yep.”, I explained. “I will be talking about this forever. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s a story here.”

“You wouldn’t!”, she told me.

“I have to.”, I replied. “Its not everyday a woman gets her hand stuck down her panties.”

“You have your hands down your pants all the time.”, she reminded me.

“Yes, I do.”, I told her. “And anytime you want to write about it, feel free.”

“Its not worth it.”, she said. “Men are always playing with their stuff. Even in public”

“Well,”, I began, “I wouldn’t have to if you put your hand down my pants instead of your own.”

“That’s a wonderful dream you have.”, she said. “Keep dreaming, because right now, my hand is too sore to do anything.”

“Well”, I advised her, “If you should happen to get another itch, I have a bunch of fingers that would be more than happy to provide relief.”

“I’ll let you know.”, she said. “Now, do you think you can stop thinking about sex long enough to take a look at my finger? It hurts like hell!”

“I doubt it.”, I said. “But I’m willing to give it a try.”

 

You’re Doing It Wrong!

“You’re doing it wrong!”, my wife said.

“I’m used to hearing that in the bedroom.”, I told her, “But I’m only making a peanut butter and jam sandwich in the kitchen.”

“But you’re doing that wrong, too.”, she continued.

“Really?”, I asked, with just the right amount of sarcasm to piss her off.

“Yes, you are.”, she continued. “You’re supposed to put the jam on top of the peanut butter, not on the other piece of bread. If you do it your way, jam winds up dropping all over the counter when you flip the slice.”

“Well”, I told her, “I have been making it this way for 55 years. Its how I want to do it.”

“But its wrong!”, she repeated. Wrong or not, I proceeded to complete the sandwich making festivities, and enjoyed building my PB & J, as I have always done.

It wasn’t the first time I have been been told that I am wrong in the kitchen. In actuality, I think the only room I do not do anything wrong in, is the bathroom. NO. Not true. I have, according to my wife, been wrong in the bathroom as well, but that will be a whole other story.

So, back to the kitchen. I have been informed that I do not make over easy eggs correctly, either. I do not know how to flip them properly, to ensure even cooking without any breaks or ruptures of the yolk. Sometimes, she says that she even finds shell in it! There have been many times when she has given me directions as I am holding a spatula and a frying pan, and it is with great restraint that 1 or both of these items has not been formally introduced to the back of her head.  “Do you want to do it for me?”, I ask.

“No.”, she answered.

“Then go away.”, I tell her.

“You don’t have to be so nasty.”, she says.

“Um, yes I do.”, I advise her, “If you don’t like how I do it, then do it for me, or be quiet.”

“I’m just trying to help you.”, she answered.

“What would be really helpful would be if you just made it for me.”, I said.

“You’ll never learn that way.”, she told me.

There are also huge issues with grilled cheese, as I apparently have the burner set too high, and this makes the bread too dark and crispy for her. And coffee, well that’s entirely an issue that will never go away. She will ask me to make her coffee, and insist that the milk must go into the cup before the coffee. “I don’t like the milk in first.”, I tell her.

“But it tastes so much better.”, she replies.

“I don’t think so.”, I respond.

“No. It does.”, she says. “. It tastes better that way.”

So, I make coffee wrong, as well. And pasta, well, it seems that I don’t make it ‘mushy’ enough for her. I follow the directions, and wind up with wonderfully al dente pasta. She hates it. She says that its too hard. “Why can’t I hear that in the bedroom?”, I ask.

We agree to a compromise. I agree that she is, as usual absolutely right. In exchange, I get to practice pleasing her in the bedroom. I am not sure if she plans on joining me there or not, but either way, one of us is going to be happy.

 

 

 

The Rebellion of 2010

 

Moving with my family was one of the most horrifyingly traumatic events in our lives. My wife and I were busy in our search for a home in the city’s downtown core, while my kids were opposed to leaving their lives in suburbia.

We searched and searched for the ideal home, but everything we saw raised at least one significant issue with my wife. It was  too far from a school, or not near enough to a subway station. There were homes that were too close to the main street, or too far from a grocery store.  And  the search seemed to continue for what seemed like an eternity. After intensive investigating, and viewing, we finally found something she could live with. It was just blocks away from a high school, right next door to a grocery store, a few blocks from a subway station, and about a 1/2 hour walk to a hospital. “Well.”, she said, “I suppose its as close to perfect as we’re going to get.”

“What do we tell the kids?”, I asked.

“Leave that with me.”, she said. “It will be a piece of cake.” Now, I don’t eat cake. I never did. I just don’t like it, but I was almost certain this would not be a piece of cake.

We sat down with the 4 remaining kids still living at home, and my wife broke the news. “We’ve found a place. We’re going to be moving downtown. You guys will love it.”

“What the hell?”, one of my daughters shouted.

“I’m not going.”, my son said. “I hate it downtown.”

“I can’t believe you’re doing this to me.”, another daughter chimed in. “I love it here. I’m not going.”, and she burst into tears. They all got up and left the room.

“Well, that went over well.”, I said to my wife. “Perhaps they don’t like cake either.” And, as I have so regularly been subjected to over the years, my wife gave me the Moroccan death glare, the one that implies “I could kill you with just a blink of an eye.”

“You could have helped out a little.”, she said.

“You said to leave it with you.”, I replied. “Remember? It was going to be a piece of cake.”

“What do we do?”, she asked, “Do we stay here?”

“I think we just leave it alone.”, I told her. “They’ll get used to the idea. It’s not like they have a choice.”

Well, things went from bad to worse, and of course, I bore the brunt of the blame. My son had decided that he was moving out. He had a friend who was looking to share an apartment, and my son was moving in with him. One of my daughters was okay with the move, as long as she had her own bedroom, and we took the dogs with. The 2 other girls were emotionally wrought, filled with anxiety, fear, and hatred. They said that they would not move. They informed me that I could not make them move. They threatened to contact Children’s Aid, and have themselves placed in foster care in order to stay in outer suburbia.

“Its all fixed.”, I told my wife. “We lucked out. One is moving in with a friend, and two are going into the care of Children’s Aid. So we have 4 out of 5 kids no longer living with us. And, just to let you know, there was no cake involved. I substituted pie.”

“Nobody is going into Foster Care.”, she bellowed. “They’re coming with us. It doesn’t matter what they say. We are the parents. We decide what’s best for this family.” She often said we, but in reality, she meant that she decided what was best for this family.

The kids continued to be adamant about not moving, singing rousing versions of ‘We Shall Overcome’, and  ‘I Shall Be Released’, that came out as “I hate you”, and “I wish I was never born”. Over the following days, and weeks, they began a campaign to try to force us to change our minds. They employed subversive tactics such as ignoring us when we called them, refusing to do their chores, and refusing to clean up after themselves. They kept their lights and televisions on, and stayed up late in the early morning hours, on their computers. They posted on social media just how unfair and cruel their parents were. They left us notes stating that they would run away, and we would never see them again. I bought them suitcases on wheels, like a good and thoughtful father, so their departures would be easier.

As the moving date neared, their defiance heightened. They flat out refused to pack up their things. They would hold sit ins in their rooms so my wife and I could not pack for them. “It’s really a simple choice.”, I told one of my daughters. “You can leave with your stuff, or without it, but you will be leaving.”

“You can’t make me move.”, she replied.

“That’s true.”, I told her. “I just hope the family moving in doesn’t mind having you here.”

By moving day, my daughters had, I thought, surrendered, given that they had packed what they wanted to take with. Once we arrived at our new home, they amped up their disapproval of downtown living by refusing to eat, staying in their rooms, and giving us the silent treatment. My youngest daughter gave up the battle soon after we moved in.

The older of the 2 dug her heels in, with letters expressing her absolute and total disapproval of our parenting style and decision making process. Apparently, she believed that she had rights, which my wife and I had violated. I reminded my daughter that, since she was over 16 years old, I no longer had to allow her to live with me. I could, if I so desired, toss her sorry ass out on the street. She reminded me that she had rights. “Not in my dictatorship.”, I advised her. “You’re not obligated to stay here. You can pack up, and leave. Sail away to undiscovered lands, and start a new life. But if you choose to stay here, remember, this is not a democracy. I am not taking votes.”

“I want to talk to mommy.”, she said.

“That’s up to her.”, I said. “But I will ask.” I spoke with my wife about my daughter’s requrest.

“What am I supposed to say to her?”, my wife asked.

“I guess you don’t want to try that cake thing again.”, I remarked, as her Moroccan eyes darted back and forth searching for her prey. “Just tell her the truth. She will come around.”

“And what if she doesn’t?”, my wife inquired.

“Well”, I responded, “she really has no choice. Where is she going to go?”

The negotiations were long and arduous. Hour after hour, day after day of back and forth bargaining had the parties at a standstill. “Why don’t you say anything?”, my wife asked me one night.

“I am using my silence to confuse and befuddle her.”, I said. “I will talk when it is time to deliver the one crushing blow that will bring this to an end once and for all.”

“This isn’t a game.”, she said.

“Ah, my dear wife,”, I advised her, “but it is.”

About 1 week later, my daughter made a fatal mistake, and I could see the end in sight. She had made plans to spend the weekend with a friend in suburbia. She approached my wife and I, asking for money to finance her trip. I took money out of my pocket and placed it on the table in front of her. “How much do you need?”, I asked.

“$20.”, she said.

“Okay.”, I said and I picked up a $20 bill, and held it in my hand. “Let me explain how this is going to work. As long as you need to come to me and ask for money, there are rules that must be followed. I will always provide for my family. It doesn’t require you to like me, I really don’t care if you do or not. It does however require you to respect me and your mother. Nothing is free. This money is not just money, it is time taken from my life that I can never get back. It is mine. I have the option of sharing it with you, or not. I am under no obligation to provide with anything other than food, shelter and clothing. I don’t even have to pay for your cell phone. In fact, if this continues, I will cancel it. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”, she said.

“So”, I asked, “What do you want to do, because today we are resolving this. The revolution is over, and we now need to negotiate peace”

“Can I use the money you were going to give me to go to see my friends to paint my room instead?”, she asked.

“When do you want to paint it?”, I responded.

“This weekend.”, she told me. “I don’t think I want to see Elana right now, anyway.”

“Go and get dressed, and we’ll go get paint and the brushes.”, I said.

“I’m sorry.”, she said as she walked to her room to change.

“Me too.”, I told her.

“Well”, my wife said, “that turned out okay.”

“Okay?”, I questioned. “That was a superbly executed act of patience, power and control.  I told you not to worry.”

“I am impressed.”, she added.

“Thank you.”, I replied. “And notice that there was no need for any cake.”

My daughter remained with us for another 5 years, before moving in with her boyfriend, who resides in an outer suburban community. She calls her mother everyday, and comes by and visits at least once a month, whether we want her to or not. She learnt her lesson, and I was proud as hell of her for at least attempting to overthrow the powers that be. None of it really matters to me anymore though, as her boyfriend, who we care for very much, has inherited the little guerrilla inside of her, laying dormant, but waiting for the opportunity to jump out and usurp power and control before he even notices that it is gone.