This has been a red letter week for me. You witnessed my joy when I got an email from your cousin stating that last week’s story of the boys’ shenanigans reminded him an awful lot of the many summers and winters he had spent with “the elder Schrock boys.”
I beamed and chuckled. I wriggled in delight. What I have long believed and frequently asserted has now been confirmed – the aberrant “hooligan gene” our offspring apparently possess really does come from your side of the family.
I realize you do not share my joy. I understand that this is painful for you, but honestly – your family history is replete with capers that you and your siblings have cut. There is, for instance, the indisputable fact that you five were almost assuredly responsible for shutting down the cheese sampling program at a local supermarket back in the day. The fact that your sister, the drama queen, would make a fine show of comparing flavors with furrowed brow just wasn’t convincing enough, seeing as how she was all of seven at the time. I know your mother didn’t realize that while she was shopping in another aisle, you five were laying waste to their entire supply. Didn’t she figure out that something was up when they began issuing an urgent “Code Cheese” on the PA system every time you all came in?
Have you ever asked your sisters’ forgiveness for the time you scared the beejeebers out of them after you-all had just watched “The Cross and The Switchblade?” I mean, really, it wasn’t very Christ-like to grab a knife and stick your hand into their room so that the moon would shine on it just so, projecting a huge knife-wielding hand onto the wall. Surely you will admit to an unholy glee when the Drama Queen screamed, “No! No!” and dove under the covers.
I know what you will say, that my family has pulled plenty of pranks in their own right. Just forget what has been alleged about my father and brother, not to mention my Aunt Bertie. It’s really not relevant in this case. Oh, I admit it was my sister who got up at Show and Tell one day and announced that Dad had gotten new underwear, but that is ancient history, so it doesn’t count.
At this point, you will surely bring up the timeworn story of how I was playing hide and seek with my sister one day. When Dad put me in the potato bin and told me to stay where I was and not to make a sound, I took him seriously. Really, the fact that there was a wet spot in the bottom of the bin only attests to my obedience, doesn’t it? And you know that Brenda and I were only following instructions when Dad put us in our little wading pool and, being from a conservative background that prized modesty, told us to run indoors if anyone stopped by. When the landlord dropped in to chat with Dad, we went and hid before running back out to where they were visiting and proclaiming, “Daddy, we ran like you said!”
Undoubtedly, you will insist that it’s my side that has the wild imagination, but whose sister was it that enthralled her kindergarten class with made-up stories of daring feline adventures, hmm? When the time was up, she would bring it in for a landing by killing off a few fictional cats. You just can’t squiggle out of this, hon.
And let’s never forget the whole “Baloney Joe” incident, either. You know jolly well what I mean, so it’s no use pretending that you can’t recall. I’m referring to the time your family went to the Rescue Mission where “Baloney Joe,” so named for his solicitations of baloney sandwiches for the residents, presided. You had heard your father and a friend laughing uproariously over a certain joke and decided that you would try it out on him.
We know that it wasn’t a bad joke, but poor Joe’s sense of humor wasn’t quite as, um, robust, shall we say? Bless your heart, you were just trying to be a little purveyor of joy. I’m sure you weren’t ignoring your dad; you just didn’t see him turning apoplectic behind Joe’s back and making slashing motions across his throat as you earnestly told your joke. And then when he didn’t laugh at the punch line, you said, “Do you get it? Huh? Do you get it?” It sure reminds me of a similar bomb our oldest son dropped at the Maple Syrup Festival the year he was five. The sins of the fathers, you know…
By now, you probably feel like taking out your frustration on Cousin Gary, but please go easy on him, okay? It’s just not kosher to pound God’s messenger. Will it help if I give you some Hershey syrup intravenously? You always said that once you were a grownup, you would carry a can of it in your car so you could drink it whenever you wanted. After I see the chiropractor (those celebratory cartwheels weren’t such a good idea), I’ll pick up a can at the store on the way home, okay?
With warm fuzzies,
Your loving wife