I’ll wear your wingtips, you wear my flip flops

Categorized as 06/29/09 Goshen News column

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They’re always jumping, ever grazing, and seldom sleeping.

Yup, it’s summertime and the kids are home. Somewhere, tired teachers are on their knees, thanking God that it’s over before heading off to sleep ‘til August.

No one is quite sure where the bus drivers have gone, having apparently disappeared en masse. There was one reported sighting in Malaysia, but local police are “awfully suspicious, seeing as how the tip came from a pay phone at the playground.” This, according to an inside source at the department, who then added, “The tipster sounded real young and was laughing when he hung up.”

Interestingly, early indicators show a strong surge in productivity as offices throughout the county are opening prematurely now, some even as early as daybreak. This has officials scratching their heads, but I know jolly well what’s behind it.

We have the abovementioned small fry to thank for this. They’re the ones sending frazzled fathers fleeing in frustration, leaving behind a myriad of mothers mired in melancholy. At many homes, there’s whooping from one party and whimpering from the other as the whooper whips out the drive in a cloud of dust. (Sorry. It’s the Seuss again.)

I know this for a fact because I got it straight from the horse’s mouth. The “horse,” of course, shall remain anonymous, but he told me just this week that he “uses all eight cylinders” when he leaves for work in the mornings.

After four weeks now of this whooping and whimpering arrangement, I’ve come to the conclusion that the scales of justice are seriously out of whack. Lover of justice that I am, I believe I’ve hit upon a solution. The following is a rough draft of a proposal I intend to present to Mr. Schrock for his approval.

“Inasmuch as we both desire to have a strong and loving marriage and inasmuch as we both aspire to nurture enduring bonds with our offspring, I offer the following proposition. I propose that herewith we shall switch places for one week. Thus, you will conduct business from my office on the second floor while I transcribe in your office across from the coffee shop. This would benefit the family in several ways.

“First, you and I would gain a new appreciation for each other by trading flip flops and wingtips. Just think of how our love would grow from walking in each other’s shoes for a bit.

“For instance, working at your office would remind me of how lonely you must get with no children swarming your ankles and answering your phone for you. How the silence must ring in your ears with no doors slamming every 30 seconds. And doesn’t working in relative cleanliness just seem sterile to you? I’m afraid I’ll have to track in some dirt and smudge the walls just to feel at home there. I hope you won’t mind.

“After all that stultifying adult conversation you get over there, I’ll bet you’ll find it refreshing to trade it in for the happy sounds of childhood. You know, such as the shrieks and howls of pain being inflicted, the sounds of riotous chases through the house, and the endless ‘can we’ questions? Sure, those may not mix well with client phone calls, but just look at it as a chance to brush up on some other skills, like charades and sign language. The boys will love it. They’ll think it’s a game.

“And that’s the second objective – bonding with your sons. Just think of all the fun you’ll have, staying one step ahead of those guys. Why, you may not need to run half as much once you’re keeping track of them. Besides, it’s way more fun to shred confiscated, cleverly crafted schematics for a daring Doritos and brownies raid which you’ve uncovered than to shred boring old business documents. Your ‘fun factor’ will go through the roof.

“While I’m slaving away next door to a tanning salon and just down the street from a good pedicure, you’ll be receiving sticky kisses and getting jam on your sock because someone dropped a blob and forgot to wipe it up. Like I always tell you, ‘It makes the love stick on longer.’

“At least at the house, you can take a break and get outdoors a bit. There’s a world of entertainment right outside the back door. There really is nothing like jumping on the trampoline for awhile and playing Dead Man with six other legs to clear your head. Watch out, though. One pair cheats.

“I can see that working day after day in that concrete jungle, surrounded by asphalt and cement, must really wear on you. I mean, all you have is a coffee shop across the street. What kind of place is that to take a break at, anyway? The grass really is greener over here. It sure is.

“So, if you’re up for improving our marriage and strengthening our family ties, you may sign right here. Thank you.”

Rhonda Schrock is fairly certain that this proposal will go down in flames. She asserts that the proximity of the coffee shop to Mr. Schrock’s office has nothing to do with her offer. Really.

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