Thanks — But No Thanks — For The Heirlooms

Do you ever find yourself wanting to end your suffering and toss your family heirlooms? I had some of the weirdest, unsaleable stuff handed down to me: A bolo tie (a type of neck jewelry for men), a box of rocks, a big knife, and a Cub Scout statue.

I didn’t know my grandparents well, so I accepted these items with grace. (Not knowing how annoyed they would make me).

My Grandpa had many hobbies, one of them was making bolo ties. In 1971, the bolo tie achieved its pinnacle of fame; it was made the official neckwear of Arizona. But in 1972, it was replaced by a sweaty bandanna.

What is peculiar is that my grandpa was from England. Folks from England are, somewhat, more refined than your typical Skoal-chewin’, bean-eatin’ American cowboys.

I also have a box of rocks. They are smooth. They were made that way by my Grandpa. Lapidary is the art of carving, cutting or forming rocks into something shiny and beautiful (that a human might wear as jewelry).

Lapidary enthusiasts have many tools. One common tool they use is a tub (with a lid) filled with sand and water that spins around with rocks in it. After days of mind-numbing boredom you remove the lid. Behold, you then have beautiful stones to show off to your two friends.

Coming from scouting families, I had a couple items that were scouting related. A knife and a Cub Scout statue.

My Grandpa (with his dry English humor) referred to his knife as his “Boy Scout knife.” I prefer to call it a Rambo knife, because it is as long as a machete. It would be simply irresponsible for any Boy Scout to be allowed to have a knife this large.

The other scouting item, a wooden Cub Scout statue, was crafted by my Grandma. It was gifted to me when I was a leader in my son’s Cub Scout pack. The only redeemable quality I can see is it might make nice kindling for a fire.

I was wondering if I threw the wooden Scout into the fire and roasted marshmallows over his burning body: Would it be disrespectful, or would it be a celebration of his life — the way he would have wanted to go?

After all … we all know how Scouts love to roast marshmallows.

A Stranger Passing Gas

One day at the grocery store, a man and his wife were in my aisle. The man passed gas; it was loud.

The wife, visibly embarrassed, whispered to her man. He turns and looks me straight in the eye and says “I don’t give a fuck!”

I considered his response abrasive, but normal for an inconsiderate Samaritan. I said nothing. I have never felt as loud and proud about my public farts as this guy.

This is just nature at work … nothing to be ashamed of, right? Coincidentally, I was once the stranger passing gas — also in a grocery store.

If you’re anything like me, when you feel nature calling and you are in a public space, a good Samaritan always seeks a secluded space (so as not to spoil our fellow human’s air quality).

On this particular day I found the perfect empty aisle. I entered it and released the silent fury.

At mid-fart, a family with two toddlers turns the corner into my aisle. They were coming toward me.

I was hoping the mom would realize they needed nothing in my aisle and turn around back the way they came. But it wasn’t happening. And its not like I can yell “Leave Now! It’s not safe!”

My heart started to pound. I pretended to look busy, picking up a box of something and reading the ingredients. I felt my face flush from shame. This only comes from people who know their farts are more vile than 90% of the earth’s population.

In an aggressive move, the pungent cloud of death managed to permeate the entire aisle, possibly even spilling into the neighboring aisle.

The family passes me … we’re past each other … the toddler daughter makes an observation and casually alerts Mom and Dad, “Someone farted.”

There was no way in hell I was going to turn around and make eye contact. I just listened nervously, wishing I had eyes in the back of my head. The parents were silent.

Agitated from being ignored, the daughter ramped it up, “Mommy, Daddy … someone farted.”

I turned my head ever so slightly to assess the situation from my peripheral vision. Mom and Dad were laughing hysterically and were, just like in a silent film, giving hand signals to their daughter to shut the hell up.

The hand signals weren’t being received — or interpreted. In a final desperate plea, she yells at the top of her lungs, “Mommy, Daddy, someone farted!”

My Fifth Grader Is Smarter Than Me

One time, when my son was 2, he threw a conniption fit in the car.  To redirect him, I said, “Hey buddy, check out that semi.”  He looked over his shoulder, turned his head back to me and said, “Dad, that is a flatbed, not a semi.”

Unbeknownst to me, there was a difference. At least someone was paying attention when I read those dozens of truck picture books to him at bedtime.

His report card just came in — straight A’s. I never got straight A’s.

His mom and I joked that one day we won’t be able to help him with his homework.  Our prophecy has arrived early – that day is now.

As I helped him with his homework last week, I realized — this shit is above my pay grade. I did the only logical thing anyone could do; I yelled at him for not paying better attention in class.

I think I just have to face the fact that my fifth grader is smarter than I am.

If that’s the case, who will help him with his homework for the next 8 years? What if he starts calling me “dumbass” in front of my friends?