Bubbie Has A Boyfriend

 

There was quite a furor in my house. The kids were upset, my wife was uncharacteristically quiet, and once again I found myself in the role of therapist for this band of brooding, yet quite lovable barbarians. As innocent as it appeared to me, there was much anxiety over the news that my 80 year old mother-in-law had a boyfriend.

“Who is this man?”, one of my daughters asked.

“What does Bubbie need a boyfriend for?”, another one shouted out.

“We need to check this guy out.”, a son chimed in. “What if he’s after her money or something?” I sat listening to this diatribe, wondering what he hell had happened to what I thought was a reasonably sensible family.

“I don’t know who he is.”, my wife said. “Except that he’s younger than her, and he’s French.”

“He’s a gigolo.”, another son entered the fray.

“Are they, like dating?”, a daughter asked.

“It appears that way.”, my wife responded. “He just moved into her building.”

“Oh my God!”, a daughter quipped. “Are they living together?”

“No.”, my wife said. “He has his own apartment. A few floors above hers.”

“Well, that’s convenient.”, I said. Its probably not even furnished..”

“What is that supposed to mean?”, my wife asked, with arms folded.

“It means they are probably living together.”, a son replied. “He just rented his own apartment to make it look good.”

“They are not living together.”, my wife stated. “And please”, she added as she looked directly at me, “If you’re not going to help, then just say nothing.”

“I just don’t think there’s anything to get so upset about.”, I said. “The woman has been a widow for almost 40 years. She spent all of that time alone. I think its good for her to meet someone and try to be happy.”

“Well, it’s not your mother, is it?”, my wife reminded me. And true enough, it wasn’t.

“We need to meet this guy.”, a son said. “We need to check him out and make sure he’s okay for Bubbie.”

“We should just put him in the trunk of his car and leave him in the parking lot at the Airport.”, someone said.

“This isn’t a Mafia hit.”, I interjected.

“What if they’re having sex?”, a daughter asked.

“They’re not having sex.”, my wife answered.

“How do you know?”, I asked.

“Because they’re not.”, she said. “You’re still not helping.”, she said to me.

“Well”, I offered.”Why don’t we ask your mother and her friend to join us for lunch. We’ll all go. We can meet him, and see what’s going on. Maybe then you can all stop talking about it.” There are times when I have wonderfully brilliant solutions to all of my families troubles, but not one of them will ever let me know. This was one of those times.

“Okay.”, my wife said. “I call my mother and make arrangements for this weekend.”

“I’m going to grill him.”, a daughter said. “No one messes with my Bubbie.”

“We could take him outside and threaten him.”, a son said. “You know, scare the crap out of him.”

“Who are you?”, I asked him. “We’re not the Sopranos!”

“We will all behave.”, my wife said. “It will be a nice getting to know you, and welcome to the family lunch.”

“He’s not in my family.”, a daughter said.

“Does he even speak English?”, a daughter asked.

“He speaks English.”, I assured her. “But like a Frenchman. Just mumble, close your eyes and move your head around a bit when you speak to him. He’ll understand perfectly.”

As the day of the luncheon rolled around, everyone was working on their own agendas. There were those who had plans to batter the man with incessant questioning, while others were planning on intimidating and threatening. My wife wasn’t sure how she would react. She hoped that she would like him, for her mother’s sake, but she already had issue with him. Me, well, it made no difference to me whatsoever. I was pretty far removed from the emotional turbulence that had overwhelmed my family. If he was alright, then I was alright. All of the kids and their significant others met at the restaurant about 20 minutes before we arranged for them to come. We were an intimidating site for a newcomer, all 10 of us, seated at the table, some with a scornful demeanor, and visible uneasiness. “Please make sure your children behave.”, my wife whispered to me.

“Why are they suddenly mine?”, I asked.

“Because you taught them to be rude and disrespectful.”, she said.

“Okay.”, I said to my kids. “You really need to tone it down, and behave yourselves. Be nice. Be polite. We’re hear for your grandmother. Let’s try to make her happy.”

When they arrived, we all sat there talking, introducing ourselves, and trying to get to know the Frenchman. I’m sure he knew the scrutiny he was under. I’m sure my mother-in-law warned him about our family. But he was alright. He held his own. One of my daughters kept giving him the ‘stink eye’, and I had to glare at her to get her to stop. It turned out that the Frenchman had a crap load of money, owned several properties across Canada, including a beach house in Nova Scotia, and a Condo in Vancouver. I could see my daughter’s eyes light up,  with dollar signs floating around her face. My mother-in-law seemed happy, the happiest I had seen her in many, many years. My wife, struggling a little to let go of the ghost of her father, also saw her mother’s happiness. We finished lunch, and said our goodbyes, as they had a long drive back to Windsor. As the rest of us walked towards our cars, there was much chatter about the Frenchman.

“He seems okay.”, a son said.

“I still don’t like him.”, a daughter said.

“Do you think I could get him to pay off my student loan?”, another daughter asked.

“I hate the French.”, someone stated.

In the car, heading home, my wife asked me what I thought of him. “I don’t know.”, I told her. “He seems nice enough, and your mother is very happy.”

“I don’t want her to get hurt.”, she said.

“Ah, honey.”, I said. “They’re 80 years old. He can’t get her money because we have signing authority. What’s left for him to take? Her virtue? That ship sailed a long, long time ago. Let her have fun. We will take care of her, but she needs to live.”

“I know.”, she said. “I just worry that he’ll leave or something, and then she’ll have nothing.”

“She’ll have us.”, I reminded her.

“Thank you for looking out for my mother.”, she told me.

“And besides”, I stated. “If he hurts her, we can always have him stuffed into the trunk of a car parked at the airport. Your gangster son would gladly do the job.”

“Oh, so now he’s my son.”, she exclaimed.

“Yes.”, I explained. “The crazy shit they get from you. The kids and I refer to it as ‘getting Moroccan’.”

“Well”, she said, “We have some time without any kids. Interested in some crazy Moroccan sex?”

“It so happens that’s my favorite kind.”, I told her. Man, I love this woman..

 

 

 

 

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When It Rains, It Pours

 

My wife has spent the last 2 to 3 years tirelessly minimizing our expenses in an effort to maximize our savings for retirement. She has systematically eliminated all things that, as she puts it, ‘we don’t really need’. The selection process, fraught with anxiety and despair, has not always been an easy one.

“Do we really need cable?”, she asked.

“Yes.”, I answered. “We really do.”

“Its very expensive.”, she continued. “I think it’s frivolous. There are better things we could do with our money.”

“Like what?”, I inquired.

“We could save it.”, she said. “For our retirement.”  I sat silently, knowing full well that she wasn’t finished. “And I think we should look at our food budget. We spend way too much on food.”

“What are you suggesting?”, I asked.

“We have to eat differently.”, she explained. “Simple, inexpensive food. Meals like soups, and rice and beans.”

“Soup is not a meal.”, I told her. “It’s the stuff that comes before the real food arrives. It’s like salad, only wet.”

“Don’t you want to stop working and just take it easy?”, she asked.

“What for?”, I inquired. “There will be no cable, and no real food to eat.”

“You’re just being stubborn.”, she stated. “Do you always have to be so damned difficult.”

“I think so.”, I answered. “I have tried not to be, but it never works out. Maybe we could come up with some sort of compromise.”

“Like what?”, she asked.

“Maybe we could use the money we save from cancelling the cable to buy real food?”, I suggested.

“You’re missing the point.”, she explained, with a great deal of fervor. “We have to be prepared for the future. Didn’t you ever hear about saving for a rainy day?”

“I’ve heard about it.”, I replied. “But what if it never rains?”

“What are you going on about?”, she inquired.

“Look.”, I said. “We see things very differently. You like to plan for tomorrow by sacrificing today. I on the other hand, can’t be certain that tomorrow will ever come. What’s the point in saving up for something that I may not be here to do, if it means I have to give up the things I enjoy doing now?”

“You mean if you don’t live long enough to retire?”, she asked.

“Exactly.”, I said.

“Ok.”, she said. “But I will still be here, and I could enjoy the benefits of having sacrificed and saved.”

“Well, well.”, I replied. “And now we get to the heart of the matter. Its your tomorrow we’re planning for, not ours.”

“And?”, she asked, as if I had something more to add.

“Is there a difference?”, she asked.

“None at all.”, I told her. “There never really has been, has there?”

“None whatsoever.”, she answered. “But I’m glad we finally got it out of the way, and that we’ve reached an agreement.”

“So am I.”, I responded, somewhat dejectedly.

“Don’t worry.”, she said. “You can have your real food. I really only wanted to cancel the cable anyway.”

“I must be getting old.”, I told her. “You never would have been able to scam me like that ten years ago.”

“Really?”, she quipped, as she rubbed my shoulders. “What do you think we’ve been doing for the past 35 years?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rain Maker

 

Among her many talents, my wife has discovered that she has an uncanny ability to predict the weather. With an astonishing degree of certainty, she has been successfully able to determine when it will rain. I have seen it with my own eyes! At first I too was quite skeptical, I mean hundreds of meteorologists, with college degrees and years of experience have had limited success at correctly predicting rainfall, even with the technology of modern weather tracking systems and models. But I have seen my wife correctly predict rainfall consistently.

She was reluctant to discuss just how she was able to do this, with limited knowledge, and no equipment. I asked, and all she would say was that she just could. It was astounding. And then, on a day that she was feeling unwell, I asked her if it was going to rain and she stated that she wasn’t sure. I was dumbfounded. Had she lost her ability to predict the weather? Had she lost her super power? When I pressed her for the reason, she simply told me that as she was not going out, she just couldn’t tell. I asked her why that mattered, and then, perhaps in a moment of delirium brought on by as fever of 100.4, she revealed her secret.

It seems that she had discovered that every time she wore her black moccasins outside, it rained. Every time. Without fail. And so, using only deductive reasoning, she concluded that if she were to wear her black moccasins, it would again rain. Thus, she was able to predict rainfall. “Are you kidding me?”, I asked.

“No.”, she relied. “It happens every time.”

“Do you really believe that it rains because you wear those shoes.”, I asked.

“They’re not shoes.”, she stated emphatically. “They’re moccasins. And yes, whenever I wear them it rains. It seems logical.”

“Well, Mr. Spock.”, I told her. “Unless you’re out there doing some kind of rain dance in your moccasins, it is impossible.”

“I don’t care what you think.”, she answered. “I know that its right.”

“You realize  that with that power”, I continued, “You could be dropped into a drought stricken country and it would rain. You could save millions of lives. You could end hunger on this planet. You could get a Nobel Prize.”

“I suppose I could.”, she stated. “Wouldn’t that be nice.”

“What’s your temperature now?”, I asked. “You’re out of your mind.”

“102.3”, she informed me, glancing at the thermometer that had been in her mouth.

“Well, you just rest today. Stay in bed, and rest.”, I told her.

“Can you come home early and take care of me?”, she asked. “Can you bring me home some soup.”

“I’ll try to get home early.”, I informed her. “And yes, I’ll get you some soup.”

“Maybe you should take the umbrella.”, she remarked. “I don’t know if its going to rain or not.”

“I’ll take my chances.”, I said. “But thank you. With the moccasins safely away in the closet, I feel pretty sure that I can manage the weather today.”

“Lentil soup, please.”, she called out as I was leaving the room.

“Whatever you want, honey.”, I said. “Whatever you want.”

Girls Talk

 

 

Some time ago,  my wife and I headed down to a local bar to watch my friends’ band play. It was a rather warm, summer night, and Queen St. West was buzzing with people. The bar was crowded, but we managed to locate Sean & Terry, and sat with them, and over a beer, talked about music, and their upcoming cd. A woman approached  me and asked if I was the drummer in a power pop psych band in the late 1970s, that played Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. “I’m pretty sure that you were the drummer.”, she said.

‘I was.”, I answered. “And yes, we played a few gigs at Lakehead.”

“I thought so.”, she said. “You guys were very good.”

“That was a long time ago.”, I reminded her.

“I remember.”, she continued. “you were called ‘Psych Unseen’.”

“That was us.”, I said. “I can’t believe you remember that.”

“I do.”, she stated, with some excitement. “I even have one of your band tshirts.”

“No way.”, I shouted.

“Uh huh.”, she muttered. . “Maybe we can talk later?”, the woman asked.

“I’ll be around.”, I stated.  My wife had been listening to this entire conversation without saying a word. It was a little unsettling.

“Who the hell was that?”, she asked.

“I have no idea.”, I told her.

“Then why were you flirting with her?”, she continued.

“Flirting with her?”, I questioned. “I was not flirting with her.

“Oh, you were.”, she insisted.

“Ya, you were flirting with her, man.”, Terry & Sean chimed in.

“Can we talk about this somewhere else?”, I proposed, as I stood up. My wife followed me outside, where we could at least smoke. I found a quiet, somewhat private alcove in between 2 buildings, and lit a cigarette. “What the hell is going on?”, I asked.

“That’s what I want to know.”, she said. “Why does a total stranger know so much about you?”

“She doesn’t know anything about me. Just that I was in a band that played at her school 30 some odd years ago.”

“I saw how she was looking at you.”, my wife went on. “And how you were smiling at her. And you didn’t introduce me. How well do you know her?”

“I don’t know her!”, I exclaimed. “She was some kid who saw us play and remembered us. I guess we were really good.”

“Oh, come on.”, she said. “You know you guys weren’t that good. There’s something else.” She took a long pause. And than she asked. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know when. “Did you sleep with her?”

This was not the first time that she had asked me that question. When I was in High School, I sat directly across from Haley Glass, in Home Room, and English. I spent the entire time in those classes watching her, as she twirled her long, blonde hair, and crossed and uncrossed her insanely long legs, giving me glimpses of  both her soft, white thighs, and her pink panties. Man, how I wanted her. For 2 years, I gazed at the delights I was certain lay beneath the pink cotton. Nothing ever happened. I suppose I was intimidated by her looks back then. I don’t know. about 20 years later, I ran into Haley. She was working as a dental hygenist, and as soon as she saw me, she remembered. We chatted a little, reminiscing about High School, all of the where are they now crap. My wife entered the room, and saw us engaged in conversation, laughing, and seemingly having a good time. On the ride home I was asked. “Did you sleep with her?”

And now, we were reprising our roles in this one act dramatic play, of deceit and potential murder. “I don’t know.”, I replied.

“What do you mean you don’t know?”, she quipped. “Either you slept with her or you didn’t!”

“I don’t remember.”, I answered.

“Were there so many girls that you can’t remember who you slept with?”, she asked, as agitated as I had ever seen her.

“It was almost 40 years ago.”, I reminded her. “How am I supposed to remember 40 years ago? I’m telling you the truth. I just don’t remember. What do you want me to do?” She said nothing, and went back into the bar. I followed her in, pretty sure that this wasn’t over, not by a long shot.

Back inside, the band had begun their set, we stood in silence, watching the performance. When it was over, I asked my wife if she wanted to go out for a cigarette. She said that she didn’t, so I went on my own. As soon as I had lit the cigarette, the woman who remembered me from Thunder Bay all those years ago, came out, and asked me for a light. We started talking about music, particularly music from 30 or 40 years ago, when my wife appeared. She walked over to us, stood beside me, and introduced herself to this woman whose name I still did not know. She identified herself as my wife, and stood there smoking her cigarette, leering at the stranger, until the woman from Thunder Bay, turned and went back into the bar.

“Well, that should take care of that.”, she said. “She won’t bother you anymore.” And then it hit me. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before.

“You’re jealous.”, I told my wife. “You’re insanely jealous.”

“I am not.”, she replied. “What do I have to be jealous about?”

“Absolutely nothing.”, I told her. “But it does make me feel good to know that you want me all to yourself.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”, she said.

“No.”, I said. “You love me. I know its hard for you to say it, but you love me”. And its okay. There are times when I am jealous over you, too.” She looked up at me with those Moroccan eyes, and somehow she made them smile.

“I think we should go home.”, she said.

“Its still early.”, I told her. “There’s another set soon.”

“Well.”, she said. “You can stay for the next set and talk with you girlfriend from Thunder Bay, or you can come home, and find out just how much your wife loves you.”  We didn’t even say goodbye to my friends in the band. We just left.

“I love you.”, she said in the car on the way home.

“I know.”, I told her. “I love you to.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sex, And Drugs, And Rock ‘N’ Roll

 

“Did you do a lot of drugs when you were younger, daddy?”, one of my daughters asked me.

“Why would you ask me that?”, I responded.

“Well, mommy said that back in your old hippie days, you were on drugs most of the time.”, she informed me.

“Really?”, I inquired. “And why would you need to know about that?”

“We have to do a project in school.”, she answered. “I have to gather information about what my parents were like when they were younger, and present it to the class.”

“I don’t think they’re looking for that kind of information.”, I advised. “I think they want to know where we lived, how many brothers and sisters we have, where we went to school. That sort of stuff.”

“No, Mrs. Kennedy said to gather as much information about your parents as you can.”, she told me. I was pretty sure my wife was not aware of the purpose of my daughter’s thirst for knowledge about my past, but now I had to figure out how to stop the flow of that particular information.

“Why did you tell Melinda about shit I did when we were kids?” I asked. “What were you thinking?”

“Relax.”, she said. “Its no big deal. She doesn’t even know what I was talking about.”

“Oh, she does.”, I quipped. “And interestingly enough, its for a class project. She is going to present her findings to the class.”

“You’re kidding.”, my wife barked.

“No.”, I continued. “That’s what she told me.”

“Well.”, she said, as she chuckled. “Its not that bad, is it?”

“Well, I hope you can keep laughing about it. It gets worse.”, I responded. “I told her that you were a stripper.”

“You’re kidding?”, she snapped.

“In my defense, it was before I knew it was for a school project.”, I replied. “And, if its any consolation, I told her you were very, very good.”

“What the hell are we supposed to do about this, now?”, she asked.

“Well, I could get high, we could put some music on, and you could start taking your clothes off.”, I suggested.

“Really?”, she asked. “That’s your solution? Sex and drugs can’t fix everything!”

“And rock and roll.”, I corrected her. “Sex and drugs and rock and roll. And yes, I’m pretty sure it can make everything better.”

“Not this.”, she said.

“Well”, I stated, “I don’t think it could make it worse.”

“Be serious.”, she pleased. “We need to figure out how to stop her from announcing those things at school.”

“Its really not that bad.”, I said trying to ease her anxiety.

“Maybe not for you.”, she responded. “You were only a druggie. Big deal. Everyone was doing all kinds of shit back then. But I’m going to have to face our neighbors and the parents of every kid in her class, with everyone thinking I was a cheap stripper.”

“First of all,”, I explained. “They’re now referred to as exotic dancers, which sounds pretty sweet, and secondly, I never said you were cheap.”

“I’m glad you find this funny.”, she said, as her Spanish-Moroccan eyes started burning holes in my cranium.

“I’ll take care of it.”, I told her.  I found my daughter sitting at the kitchen table working on her school project.

“Listen”, I said. “I made that stuff up about mommy. I was just angry that she told you about me using drugs. She never was a stripper. You would be lying if you put that in your project.”

“I wouldn’t put that in my project.”, she told me. “It would hurt mommy’s feelings.”

“I see.”, I said. “But your okay telling everyone that I used all kinds of drugs when I was younger?”

“Ya.”, she said. “You don’t get upset like mommy. Her feelings get hurt very easy.”

“Really?”, I replied.

“Don’t you know that?”, she asked me in response.

“I guess that I never really thought about it.”, I said.

“Well, you should.”, she advised me. I thanked her for listening, and headed off to the family room.

“I think I’ve just been scolded by your daughter.”, I informed my wife.

“Well, you deserved it.”, she said.

“No doubt.”, I replied. “When did she get so smart?”

” You know, she’s my daughter too.”, she told me.

“I hear you.”, I stated. “I’m going to go to bed.”

“I’ll join you.”, she said as she turned off the television. “Maybe, if you’re lucky, we’ll see just how good of a stripper I really am.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Hobbits Come To Visit.

 

Years ago we bought a couch. A sofa. It was a rather large 2 piece, L shaped sectional. It was soft, and warm, and probably the most comfortable thing I had ever put my backside on. It was my favorite place to sit. And sleep. I fell asleep on it regularly, spread out in my spot, nestled in the groove my body had created in the wonderfully supple material. I sacrificed my recliner for my spot on this cloud like seat, that seemed to envelope me each time I lay down on it, by donating it to one of my sons. I never dreamed that we would be separated.

“I think we need to get a new couch.”, my wife suggested.

“Perhaps you need a new couch.”, I replied. “We are perfectly fine with the one we have.”

“Its old.”, she stated. “The fabric is worn,  and there are stains all over the material. It just looks awful.”

“I am not giving this couch up.”, I said adamantly. “It is perfectly fine.”

“We can get a new one “, she told me.

“It won’t be the same.”, I answered. “And I don’t have the time or energy to break another one in.”

“How much time and energy does it really take to lay down and not move for hours?”, she asked.

“Hours upon hours upon hours. If you try to move this couch, I’ll be going with it!”, I said.

“Don’t tempt me.”, she said. “The old thing has to go. Its time to say goodbye.”

Several days later, a new couch arrived. My wife ordered it online, as that seems to be the way we purchase things now. “How can you buy a couch without sitting on it first?”, I asked.

“It will be fine.”, she stated. The new couch arrived, and the delivery guys took the old one away. I watched it being carried out, and loaded on their truck.  “You just have to screw the legs onto this one.”, my wife continued talking.

“Wonderful.”, I said. “A build your own couch.” I proceeded to take the couch out of the box, and 2 thousand yards of tape it came wrapped in. “There’s something wrong.”, I called out to her.

“What did you do?”, she asked, accusingly.

“Nothing, yet.”, I said. Did you happen to see this couch before you ordered it?” When my wife entered the room, we stood side by side and gazed down at what appeared to be a child’s couch. It was barely a foot off of the ground. I tried to sit on it, but my legs would have to be stretched out or my knees would hit my chin. “Well”, I said. “Its clearly not the same. What the hell are we supposed to do with this?”

“It’s not so bad.”, she said, sitting on it as if to prove it was practical.”

“It’s great if Hobbits ever come to visit.”, I replied. “Its totally useless.”

I’ll send it back.”, she said. She never did. The miniature couch still sits in the living room, up against a wall, serving only as a place to toss one’s jacket, or briefcase, or school bag, or whatever else is in your hand when you come home. No one has ever sat on it. Not even the dogs. Interestingly enough, I discovered that it converts into a bed of sorts. The back folds down and it can sleep 1 smurf comfortably. It is about the size of an army cot when opened, but still remains about 6″ above ground. We purchased another couch old school-at a furniture store. After much testing, followed by even more testing, we settled on a L shaped sectional, as soft as any I had felt. I fall asleep on it regularly, nestled in the groove my body has created in the soft and supple material. Despite its used appearance, I still love that thing, almost as much as I love my wife.

 

Pillow Talk, and Talk, and Talk…

 

There was a time, although it seems like eons ago, when pillow talk in our bedroom sounded like this.

“Why don’t you take your clothes off.”

“Does taking off my clothes get me a better massage?”

“Definitely. It will be epic.”

“Really?”

“Oh, yeah. I’m pretty sure we’ll have to go to confession after this.”

“You sweet talker, you.”, she said as she removed her pajamas.

Now, after 36 years of marriage,  after 5 kids, 4 dogs, 3 homes, 2 cars, and a crow living in our oak tree, the chatter before falling asleep has taken on a very different tone.

“Did you hear anything about the drop in housing prices?”

“No.”, I reply. “Feel like a massage?”

“They’re down about 10%.”, she continues.

“What’s down?”, I ask.

“Housing prices.”, she answers. “Have you lost all of your hearing?”

“I don’t think so.”, I reply.

“Do you know anything about gas prices going up?”, she continues.

“No.”, I answer. “Why don’t you take your clothes off.”

“If I take my clothes off, you wont be listening to me.”, she says.

“It really won’t make a difference.”, I reply. “I’m not listening now.”

“Can’t you think about something else?”, she asks.

“I suppose I could.”, I tell her. “But I’d rather not.”

“Really!”, she exclaims. “I’m trying to talk to you about things that are important to me.”

“I know.”, I acknowledge. “And I’m trying to help you help me to at least look like I’m interested in the economic crisis.”

“It seems all you ever want is for me to take my clothes off.”, she states.

“Would you rather I didn’t want you to?”, I ask.

“No.”, she says with a smile, as she removed her top. “No, I wouldn’t. Can I get that massage, now?”

“You can get anything you want.”, I tell her.

“Well”, she remarks, “You’re so easy.”

“I know.”, I reply. “I know.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Commandments

Every year, without fail, in an attempt to share our upbringing with our children, my family would spend the evening sitting in front of the television watching the annual airing of ‘The Ten Commandments’. Somewhere between Easter and Passover, this annual event had become a tradition in our house, carried over from my childhood in my parents’ home.

“Oh, look.”, my wife said. “The Ten Commandments is on tonight.”

“How many times have we seen it?”, I asked. “20 or 30 times?”

“I guess.”, she said.

“You know, they are the same commandments as the first time we watched it.”, I added. “Nothing’s changed.”

“I know.”, she said. “But its such a good movie.”

“I don’t know about that.”, I stated. “It would have been better if they had talked about the 1st set of commandments.”

“What are you talking about?”, she asked.

“Remember when Moses returned from Mt. Sinai with the tablets that he smashed upon seeing the people praying to the golden calf?”, I continued. “Well, apparently, there were a completely different set of commandments on those first tablets. When Moses returned to retrieve the commandments again, the contents of those second tablets were very different.”

“Really?”, she asked.

“That’s what biblical scholars are saying.”, I told her. “But that singular fact could have changed the direction of the film.”

“How do they know what was on the first tablets?”, she asked. “The ones that were destroyed.”

“They weren’t destroyed.”, I reminded her. “They were smashed. During an archaeological expedition, pieces of the tablets were excavated and placed together. Translated by experts in biblical writing, it revealed a very different set of ideals.”

“A long time ago.”, I said, “Maybe in the 1920s or so. It had been kept secret, hidden from the people by a council of leaders of all of the monotheistic religions, so as not to create upheaval in their respective faiths. About 30 years ago, someone going through documents in The Vatican Library uncovered documents that referenced this discovery, and the conspiracy to cover it up.”

“Wow.”, she said. “Did they reveal what was on the first tablets?”

“Not at first”. , I explained. “It wasn’t until about 2007, that the tablets were presented to the public, and their contents revealed.”

“Well?”, my wife asked, encouraging me to go on.

“Well, what?”, I answered.

“What was on the first tablets?”, she asked.

“Well”, I said. “While the current commandments are filled with what we should not do, so eloquently prefaced with ‘Thou Shalt Not’ , interestingly enough, the first set of tablets were more positive, giving man a list of things that he should do.”

“So,”, she asked, “what are they?”

“Give me a minute to try and remember.”, I said. After a short pause I continued. “Okay, now I don’t think these are in any particular order, and I am paraphrasing, but one was be kind to yourself and to each other. There was pay attention to those that seem dim, for their lights shine the brightest. There’s go west and see the Pacific Ocean at least once. Oh, and…

“Oh, crap!”, she shouted. “You just made all of that up, didn’t you? I don’t know why I even bother to listen to any of your stories.”

“Wait.”, I told her. “There’s more.”

“I don’t want to hear anymore.”, she said. “I’m turning on The Ten Commandments.”

“Oh, come on.”, I pleaded. “Not again.” And then she gave me those Spanish-Moroccan eyes, the look that needed no words to explain its meaning. “Alright.”, I said as I left the room.

“Wait.”, she called out to me. “Aren’t you going to watch it with me?”

“No.”, I answered. “It never goes well. You talk the whole way through the movie, and I simply groan with boredom.”

“Oh, come on.”, she requested. “This time it will be fun. You can do your running commentary, and you can even do your own version of the narration.”

“Are you sure?”, I asked.

“Yes.”, she said, beckoning me over to the seat beside her.

“How did I get so lucky to wind up with you?”, I asked as I sat down in my assigned seat.

“I have no idea.”, she said. “But you did, so don’t mess it up.”

“I do my best.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she answered. “And I love you. Now let’s watch the movie. Who is that guy?”

“Which guy?”, I asked.

“The old one.”, she said.

“He’s The King”, I replied. “The Pharaoh.”

“I thought the bald guy was the King.”, she advised.

“Well, he is.”, I told her, but not of Egypt. He is the king of Siam.”

“Are you sure?”, she inquired.”

“Pretty sure.”, I told her. “You’ll just have to watch and see.”

 

 

 

 

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.