Some things in life just aren’t friendly

Categorized as 04/13/09 Goshen News column

As with many of you, last week was spring break for us. Whether you fled to Florida or were stuck at home like moss on a log, you experienced a welcome break from the hectic school schedule, as well as plenty of quality time full of love and laughter with your well-behaved offspring.

At least, that’s how spring break would look in a perfect world free of chaos and original sin.

Actually, ours was pretty good. I mean, what else it but a major victory when the kids haven’t killed each other by the end of the week? It’s an even bigger one if you yourself haven’t ushered them to their heavenly reward. And what mother doesn’t love it when the whole pride sleeps in, giving her some extra quiet time each morning? If you’re a good one, you resist the urge to toss Benadryl-laced cookies to the little lions the night before. Just barely, but you resist.

Today’s column was sparked by something that popped out of my mouth the other day as I was issuing orders to those very lions. I had simply asked cubs one and two to tidy the downstairs, start the dishes, and fry the sausage for the pizza. Perceiving that apparent paralysis had overcome them both as they lay sprawled in the living room, I found myself calling down the stairs, “Turn that TV off! It is not our friend right now.”

“Not our friend.” There are plenty of things in life that are “not my friend.” Take liver, for instance. Faithful followers will recall that I am not a liver lover. When it comes to That Meat, I’m a fighter and not the other. I don’t care how you slice it or dice it or how many onions you fry it with, you just can’t make it taste good. No, liver is not my friend.

Boomerangs are not my friends, either. You moms will know what I mean. A boomerang is a kiddo that, after being thrown up to his bed, returns directly to the pitching point, employing all manner of stalling techniques. These range anywhere from, “I have to go potty,” to, “I need another drink,” to, “But I’ve only asked you six of my questions. There are 49 on my list.” At this point, since your tongue is numb, you execute some very interesting sign language and alert the father to the quickly deteriorating situation. I don’t know why, but for some reason a father has a way of making sure the jammies stay in bed. Now, that’s a friend.

Here’s another one – slow drivers. Not my friends. When the light turns green, it’s time to go. It’s not the time to be talking on your phone, texting your buddies, playing karaoke with the radio, or pondering the great mysteries of life from behind your steering wheel. There’s time for all that later.

Personally, when I’m the first one in line at a light, I feel tremendous pressure from all my peers behind me. I’m really not into inciting an angry mob, watching in fascination as other red-faced drivers hammer down on their horns and execute their own interesting sign language. That’s just not friendly. Besides, I don’t want to be responsible for causing hypertension up and down the boulevard, so when that light turns green, I gun it.

Another entry on the “Not My Friends” list is “Evangelists Who Are Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.” This one comes from my childhood, back in the days when we cousins would gather on the farm and play for hours. One day we decided to play church. For whatever reason, the “evangelist” who “brought the Word” to us that day was one of the older boy cousins, a real stinker with an occasional streak of mean. His repertoire included starting water fights, calling us names, shouting insults, and hurting our feelings and making us cry. Which certainly gives new meaning to the phrase “bully pulpit.”

Anyway, in spite of his own checkered past, when he gave the “invitation” at the end of his “message,” we all dutifully responded by lifting our hands. “Yes, I see your hand,” he would solemnly intone with each response. After this, we were led into an upstairs closet where we could pray our prayers of repentance.

Yes, in a truly friendly world, liver would be chocolate flavored. Every pair of jammies would stay in bed. Every time. Other drivers would quit messing around and making me late for my important appointments at Starbucks, and the ones who really need to repent would raise their hands.

Oh, well. Maybe that last one could be fixed at the next family gathering.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *