Monday, January 31, 2011

Don't Know Much About History

"Our family's cursed," said my oldest.

"Tell me about it," I replied. "It's been that way as long as I can remember."

We were in Savannah. It was snowing. Of course it was.

"Why are we here anyway?" my youngest asked.

"Because I enjoy spending time with you?" I guessed.

"Don't be dumb. Why are we really here?"

"Because your brother wanted to look at a college and I thought we could do some sightseeing while we were down South."

"We're looking at buildings. They have buildings where we live."

It was snowing harder and I was getting a headache. "Be quiet," I said, without much hope.

"Why didn't my other brother have to come with us?" he demanded. "You love him more."

"Yes, I love him more. That's why I left him home with your mother."

"You see?" he exclaimed, turning to the oldest, convinced he'd made his point.

The oldest ignored us. He was studying the map we'd picked up at the visitor center, trying to figure out where we were. He knows better than to trust my sense of direction.

The youngest turned back to me. "How much longer are we going to stay here?"

"Forever," I said.

"For real," he said.

"It'll seem like forever," I said.

He scowled at me until I relented. "I don't know, a few hours," I told him. "Then we're going to Charleston."

"What's in Charleston?"


"AAARGH!" he shrieked.

"I love you too, buddy," I said.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Go Ask Grandma

"I've never smoked marijuana," my mother was telling my kids as I walked into the kitchen.

"Oh God, what now?" I asked.

"I was telling the boys that when one reaches a certain age, one starts to catalogue the things one hasn't done."

"It's called a Bucket List," I said. "There was a movie by that name. I hated it."

"You hate everything," my middle son pointed out.

"With good reason," I replied.

"Don't be ridiculous," said my mother. "You have a wonderful family."

I laughed hollowly. "Yeah, ask the Lovely Bride for her opinion."

"Her perspective might be different," said my mother. "After all, she's married to you."

"Ooh, Dad, sick burn," said my youngest.

I pointed at him. "Lucy, kill," I suggested to our dog. She jumped up and gummed my arm.

"Besides," I asked, turning to my mother, "what does any of this have to do with your history of drug use?"

"I do not have a history of drug use. I was merely explaining that some things I do not regret having missed. Drugs are one of them."

"The first step is admitting you have a problem," I said. "We can't make progress if you continue to deny reality."

"What is he going on about now?" she asked her grandchildren. They offered puzzled shrugs in response.

"Your grandmother used to keep her stash in the oven when I was growing up," I told the boys. "She was the biggest dealer in our city until she went to prison. That's where she got the gang tattoos."

"I do not have any tattoos," she said.

"Sure, not anymore," I said. "Laser removal."

"What sort of fantasy world have you created for yourself?" she asked in exasperation.

"Not a drug-induced one," I said. "Which is more than you can say."

"Well, I think that's enough of you for one day," she said, gathering her things.

"Hugs not drugs," I said, giving her a squeeze as she put on her coat.

"Please try to improve your attitude before I come back next week," she said.

"Hope not dope," I said.