Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween 3...Izzy Gets behind Fitness...

      She was standing in the kitchen, tossing magnets at the fridge and replacing all of the family photos with her own art masterpieces.

           Daddy: "Whatcha doin' Pick?"
           Isobel: "I'm putting up some of my art."
           Daddy: "And what's happening with all the photos?"
           Isobel: "I'm moving them out of the way and then putting up my pictures."
           Daddy: "I got that but what are you doing with the photos after you put up your art?"
           Isobel: "I'm putting them over here. I'll put them back on the fridge when I'm done. If there's room left."
           Daddy: "OK, so long as you put them back. Neatly."
           Isobel: "Don't worry Daddy, I know just where they all go. I am totally agonizing on the fridge."
           Daddy: "And on me too!"
           Isobel: Hahaha...wait, what?"
           Daddy: "Skip it."

      It is that time of year and we will not break with the traditions of the past. Submitted for you approval, a tale as horrific as it is true. If you fear the macabre, if you are loathe to sleep with the lights on, turn away and read no further. But if you possess courage untold, then press on and read...you have been warned...
      It was Mrs. Narrator that heard it first, a sound that she couldn't quite identify. It sounded like it was above her, though she couldn't be certain that it wasn't beside her or behind her. At first it was small and nearly imperceptible but there just the same. Like something you don't notice until you notice its absence. She had been working from home while the kids and I were off at school.
      "What the hell is that?' Mrs. Narrator asked the cats. The cats, of course, remained silent.
       Now Mrs. Narrator is not one to be unnerved but she isn't made of stone. So when the sound changed, she started to get a a little agitated. It was louder now and more constant. Like the sound the ice droplets make against the snow during a freezing rain storm. 'Click, click, click click click...'
      "For real," she said. "What IS that?" but nobody answered.
      It was a late night for me at school. Five o'clock lab and so I wouldn't be home for at least another two hours. It was time to get the kids, time to get out of the house and away from the sound. But that was all too easy, too simple and whatever it was was not going to be denied its due. By the time she got back it had grown in strength and intensity. Imagine someone bouncing a red, white and blue rubber ball off of a two by four and then throwing a bucket of ice chips into a porcelain bathtub, every couple of minutes.
      Izzy noticed as soon as she came upstairs.
      "Mummy, what is that sound?" she asked.
      "I don't know baby," said Mrs. Narrator. "But it's driving me crazy."
      "It sounds like it's in the wall." said Izzy. "No wait, it's in the roof. No it's outside...or is it?"
      "I know baby." said Mrs. Narrator. "It sounds like it's everywhere at the same time and then it just stops."
      "OK," said Isobel. "This is seriously creeping me out."
      "It's OK baby." said Mrs. Narrator.
      It was about a quarter to five when I finally got in my car. I picked up my phone to check for messages and noticed there was one from home. it was a little confusing but, so was Mrs. Narrator. It read, 'We've got a critter in the house.' We had two asshole cats, two rotten kids and a foul tempered wife...that's five critters by my reckoning so I eased the car into drive and crept out of the parking lot. 'She is obviously feeling jaunty.' I thought, completely misreading the tone of the text. 'No need to hurry home.' I continued on my leisurely way.
      But the sound was not taking its time. 'Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...'
    The cats were now getting jumpy and pawing at the walls, yowling and hissing. This only served to fuel the fires of Isobel's imagination, which in turn made Mrs. Narrator edgier.
      "Mummy, I don't like that sound any more."
      "Me either baby."
     It was finally my turn at the register. With the storm coming, people were getting panicky and stocking up on water and food. I just bought some oatmeal and a bag of cookies. It's important to keep regular and I have a vicious sweet tooth.
    'Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...'
      I put the key in the ignition and headed for home. It was going on six o'clock and so the traffic was still rather heavy.
     'Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...'
      The trip home, that would normally take me about twenty minutes, would take me about forty five now.
      'Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...'
      I thought I'd better text her.
      "Don't wait for me for supper," I wrote and hung up the phone. Not safe to text and drive after all.
     'Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...'
      By the time I got home, the noise had become almost constant. Not loud enough to be heard from downstairs but Mrs. Narrator had been listening to it all day and would swear by this time it was deafening.
      "Go into our room and listen for yourself!"  she ordered. She and the kids were sitting at the kitchen table. None of them venturing upstairs with me. I went to the bed room and remained quiet, waiting for the whatever it was to make itself know...I didn't wait long. 'Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...'
     It seemed above me and then just as quickly behind me and then in front and then beside me. 'Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...Thump...thump...thump...click, click, click, click....thump...thump...thump...'
      "God-dammit!" I shouted and ran downstairs.
      "What is it , Daddy?" asked Isobel. "What is making that awful noise?"
      I swallowed hard and tried to speak as calmly as I could.
      "We've got a @#*ing squirrel in the attic!" 

     It's hard to keep healthy once you pass forty. Both Mrs. Narrator and I have crossed that thresh hold  and have made a concerted effort to maintain some degree of health. There are days though when watching t.v, eating chips and drinking beer makes a whole lot more sense than running on the treadmill or doing plyometrics. (whatever the hell that is) Luckily we have Isobel as a coach.
      Mrs. Narrator had been riding the stationary bike, working up a sweat when Isobel came up to investigate.
      "Hi Mummy," said Isobel.
      "Hello my girl." said Mrs. Narrator. "What's up?"
      "Wow, your muscles are tiny."
      "What?" asked Mrs. Narrator.
      "Your muscles are tiny."
      "My muscles aren't tiny," said Mrs. Narrator. "Look at these." She flexed her biceps at this point. (for the record they aren't tiny. Sinewy and well defined is how I would describe her biceps. Incidentally if I don't describe them as such she is likely to wrap them around my throat.)
      Izzy pondered the pose a moment.
      "Where are you going to show those off, the tiny gun show?"
      I'm so glad she doesn't come down into the basement anymore...



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three Letter Word...Best Served Cold...

                    We were in the kitchen getting the lunches ready. She had been bending over getting stuff out of the cupboard when she stood up quickly.
         Isobel: "Ugh, what is that?"
         Daddy: "What?"
         Isobel: "Ugh, that smell. That awful smell. That horrible smell. Was that you Daddy?"
         Daddy: "No." (No really, it wasn't.)
         Isobel: "Oh god it stinks. Maybe it was one of the cats. It had to be, they stink like that bad all the time."
         Daddy: "It could have been but I haven't seen the cats in a while. I think they are upstairs."
         Isobel: "God it STINKS!"
         Daddy: "It is pretty bad. Maybe something went down the drain and got stuck. Like food or something, it's happened before."
         Isobel: "No, I think it must have been the cats to stink that bad."
         Daddy: "Honey I told you, the cats are upstairs. They can stink but I don't think it's two floors worth. It's not the cats."
        Isobel: "I guess it must have been me then."
        Daddy: "What?"
        Isobel: "Ahahahaha!"

             A few days ago a classmate told me she was pregnant. It was not a planned pregnancy but she is happy nonetheless. She had mentioned to several others in our lab group that she wanted another kid before she got too old. She's twenty-two. Isobel was born when Mrs. Narrator and I were both 38. Before she got too old...jesus. Anyhow, she asked me what it was like when Isobel was born...or rather when I found out I was going to be a father.
       I thought about it for a few minutes and said exactly what I thought on that Mother's day weekend almost seven years ago. I was terrified and wanted to run away screaming. I wanted to shout at Mrs. Narrator, "You rotten swine, you have ruined my life." No wait, that one was much later. I was unbelievably freaked out by the entire situation. Somebody reasonably wise in these matters said to me at the time that, 'The world had not stopped turning.' It hadn't. People all around the world and all through history had babies and nobody ever dies as a result. OK, that last bit is not entirely true, many women have died having children but to my knowledge, no man has ever died as a result of having a child. Not even that odd trans-sexual fellow/lady.
       So getting back to my classmate, she had mentioned that the father her unborn child was less than impressed at the thought of being a parent. That he felt as though his life was over, that he would live in small cramped apartments for the rest of his days and that his days of being the life of the party, were effectively over. She was honestly concerned that he was going to leave her.
      I think it is every guy's inclination to put your head down and run in this scenario. The guy's brain is simple...sometimes very simple. 'Can I eat it? Can I screw it? Can I fix it? Do I need to fight it?' There are finer points and subheadings like; art and music and finite math and breakfasts I have smelled but they all originate from THE BIG FOUR. Baser instincts that haven't evolved much from our primitive ancestors. The delivery systems may have changed but not the message.
      So, when faced with the one thing that doesn't fit into any of the aforementioned categories of the male brain, something as radical as offspring, the need to run away from it becomes overwhelming. And now that the science lesson is over, here's the rub. I wanted to run away but I didn't. Why? Am I so old fashioned? Not especially but I felt then that despite the desire to do so, running away would only compound my situation. It was the easy way out and I have never taken the easy way out. I am far too stupid for that.
       Maybe it was because I grew up in a house with a mostly absent father. Not so much physically but certainly emotionally. I had clothes and food sure but I don't think I ever once thought that my father loved me. I know it was a different time and fathers didn't say that kind of thing to sons...at least not in public. But I guess, somewhere inside my tiny little man-brain, that I would not let my child grow up with that doubt. The best way of doing that was to stick around and help turn the child into a well adjusted person. (OK, maybe not so well adjusted. It is Me and Mrs. Narrator we're talking about)
      But here's the thing, the crux of this whole deal. I like being a Dad. Yeah, I bitch a lot and I holler at my kids probably more than I should but I am a better person because they are there. I have always tried to get jobs that paid well so they wouldn't have to feel the pressure of less money coming in. It hasn't always worked out that way and I had an awfully lot of shitty jobs but I had a responsibility to them. That's what Dads do. You suck it up and you keep going because there are little people counting on you to do just that. Recently I have gone back to school to actually do something resembling a career, rather than just another factory job. Why? Because I owe it to them to try and make a decent living so they can go to school and try to do things resembling a career. Not to mention that it will be nice to hear my kids saying that their old man went back to school in his forties and now he is doing something he loves.
      My classmate said that her boyfriend has dreams of being a chef, that he is convinced are  now over. If anything, I would think that this should be his inspiration TO be a chef. You have a life that you are now responsible for and you'll want to give that new life every opportunity you can afford it. Factory work is likely not going to cut it. Running is the easy way out but nothing worth doing is ever easy, it's hard as hell...but that's what makes it great. Any fool can make a baby but it takes a man to be a Dad.

      There is that weird connection between mother and child, that sends a signal to the mother the second her child is in distress. I think fathers have it to a lesser degree.I was walking through the house the other day and I swear I heard Izzy scream. I walked quickly out the back door and at the bottom of the stairs, were her boots and skipping rope. Without her in them. I called out to her and was met with silence. I wasn't panicky by this point but concerned. I came back inside and headed to the front door. I still couldn't see her and so out the back again. I was a little worried. I walked around the side of the house and saw her playing in the front seat of Mrs. Narrator's car. Bobbing up and down below the dashboard. I flung the car door open.
      "Make sure you pick up your boots and stuff." I said angrily.
      "What's the matter, Daddy?" she asked.
      "I didn't know where you were," I said. "I was worried you might have wandered away or something.
      "Were you scared?" she asked.
      "I was a little scared, yes." I replied.
      "I told you." she said.
       "Wait, what?" I asked.
       "I told you I would scare you back."
      "You didn't do that on purpose, " I said. "you aren't that evil."
      She just shrugged her shoulders...she is that evil...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When is it Enough...ScreamPark...

      We were out getting her Halloween costume and she was having a hard time deciding what to be.
      Daddy: "What do you want to be for Halloween?"
       Isobel: " I want to be a scary clown in a mask, so I can scare the crap out of you."
       Daddy: "You wont just scare me."
       Isobel: "Really?"
      Daddy: "Oh my god yes. Many people are afraid of clowns."
      Isobel: :OK, seriously I want to be a scary clown."
      Daddy: "Really? Is that really what you want to be? Don't pick a costume because you think it is going to scare me, pick what you want to wear."
      Isobel: (Looking at Zombie cheerleader costume) "I want to be a zombie cheerleader but you'll say no."
      Daddy: "Why would I say no?"
      Isobel: "Because I want to have my neck open and bleeding."
      Daddy: "OK, we can do that."
      Isobel: "Really!?"
     Daddy: "Really."
     Isobel: "Coool."

      It is said, that all that is needed for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. I don't know that I am any more good than any other man and I am likely to ramble but I have an audience and I feel I can't sit back and do nothing anymore...
      By now there are very few who haven't heard the name Amanda Todd, at least not on this side of the border. She was a fifteen year old girl who was bullied to death, literally. She felt she had no alternative nor any place to turn and so took her life last week. I did not know Amanda nor was she even from my home province but she was somebody's kid and now she is dead...and for what?
      I think what disturbs me most about this, is the absolute depths of depravity people have been sinking to. The vile and vitriolic remarks posted on her memorial wall. It saddens and shames me that there are people this senseless.
     Hilary Clinton wrote that it takes a village to raise a child. When I first read that I thought it was hippy clap trap. More touchy feely shite that doesn't mean anything to anyone other than the voting public. BUT then I became a parent and I got it. We as parents are the village it is our responsibility to raise our children to become better people and carry it on to their children and so on. And we as a parental society have failed Amanda Todd and every other kid who thought they had no alternative to take their own life.
      I understand bullying, I don't like it or approve of it but I get it. I used to think it was a survival of the fittest thing. It's human nature to point out things that are different and it's a defense mechanism to mock things you are afraid of or that you perceive as different but I was wrong. It's not Darwinian to kick somebody when they're down., it's cruelty of the highest order.
      When I was younger bullies picked on you at school and then you went home and all was well. I also remember that there was a kid who I went to school with who's mother got wind of what he was up to. The next day he came to school and apologized in front of the class. he was not much of a bully after that. But there is a different element now...anonymity. All thanks to cell phones and the Internet. Why stop when you can make somebody's life miserable over and over and over and no one will ever know? It doesn't end,  social media has made it possible to be bullied day and night ad nauseum and all with a crystal clear conscience.
      I have heard a couple of times from a couple of people that "this kind of bullying is just like any other. it's just a phase that they go through and that they'll grow out of it."
     I asked Mrs. narrator if she thought that our kids could ever be capable of being that cruel. Her answer was a resounding no. Do you know why? Because we have always instilled in the children that everyone has the right to be who and what they are. My god, our family is a postcard for diversity. I'll tell you something folks and it's free from me to you; Cruelty is not a fucking phase. It's a learned behaviour and if you don't nip it in the bud, it grows into very cruel adults who think it's OK to ask a  twelve year old girl with esteem issues to lift up her shirt on a fucking web cam. Where were the mothers to make people like that apologize to the whole class?
     I am sorry but if you are arming your child with a device that will allow them to be horrific to people guilt free, then you are as much to blame for the actions they commit. Yes, it's a knee jerk reaction to horrible thing but guess what? It's true. The Boy is on the Internet almost more than Mrs. Narrator and I combined but is he saying and doing things he shouldn't? No because he is monitored and his Internet access is monitored. Is it a complete solution? No but it's a start.
      And I think that is where it needs to start. We seem to have shifted very far away from the responsibilities of being a parent in favour of becoming your child's best friend. I am not, nor will I ever be, my children's best friend. I don't want to be. I am their father and they both know that if they screw up they will answer for it. I have never hit my children nor threatened them with hitting and I still know that both of them will do the right thing because it is the right thing, not because they are afraid to do the wrong thing.
      It's an odd thing to say but your children aren't people, stop treating them as though they are. Your children are your children-your responsibility. Start taking an interest in what they are up to when they are on their computers. Maybe we should start charging the parents of children in bullying cases. The plain truth is if we don't do something to steer our children back to the fundamental differences between what is right and wrong, I weep for the future and I am absolutely shitting myself thinking of what is in store for my generation when we can no longer care for ourselves and we are left in the hands of the people who think it is alright to lampoon a child who commits suicide.

         So, we have this thing around here called 'Scream Park'. Izzy asked me about it and I explained that it is "A haunted house kind of thing."
         "What do you mean?" she asked. "Like real ghosts and stuff?"
         "No, Pick." I explained. "It's a fake haunted house where all the lights are out, except for scary lights and people jump out and try to scare you."
          "Oh," she asked. "Can we go to it?"
        I thought about it and I knew from several reliable sources, (my brother and his kid and a friend and his brood) that it is and I quote " Bad f*#@ing Scary!" My first reaction was that it as perfect to put a scare into her but then I went on the website to look for prices. On the upper left of the screen is the number 817. Eight hundred and seventeen brave souls shit themselves and ran out before they completed the Scream Park attraction.
     I reconsidered and started leaning toward a nice peaceful haunted hayride. But she kept at it.
      "Can we go to Scream Park?" she asked me.
       "I don't know pick, it's pretty scary I think."
       "I'm not scared." she said and she meant it.
      "There are people going to jump out at you are scream."
      "What if I bring an axe?" she asked.
      "You're not meant to hurt the people in the park."
       "Then they better not jump at me, I have an axe." she said.
       OK, so she's a tough kid but it would do her in, completely and totally and scar her for life. If I am going to leave that sort of mental mark it better be over something more than just Halloween hi jinx. So I thought I would test a little theory. This afternoon, I screamed. Not a big scream but a scream nonetheless. It was broad daylight and she was upstairs in her room. I screamed and then she screamed and ran out of her room and she was scared. Holy crap was she scared.
      "Don't tell your mother," I said and hugged her and calmed her down and assured her that Scream Park would still be there when she was ready for it.
     Tonight when I was saying goodnight, I asked her; "Are you still scared?"
           "Nope." she said.
            "Are you still mad at me for scaring you?"
            "Nope." she said but I knew there was something else.
           "What's the matter then?"
            "You know I'm going to scare you back, right?"
       "I would expect nothing less." I said. Thinking what can a six year old do to scare me? Then I remembered that this was my kid but even scarier, she is Mrs. Narrator's kid too...moody, patient and devious. I won't sleep well until Halloween is over...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

God damned bicycle anyway...For real?...

      We had been at my sister's for Thanksgiving dinner. We were heading home when Isobel spoke up.

      Isobel: "Daddy?"
      Daddy: "Yes, Turkey Lurkey?"
      Isobel: "Daddy, why does Uncle Doug always call me Izzfest?"
      Daddy: "Uncle Doug likes to put things like that together. We have always called you Izzy and Izzy is kind of like Ozzy. Ozzy has Ozzfest, you have Izzfest."
      Isobel: "OK...who's Ozzy?"
      Daddy: "You don't remember? Ozzy Osbourne? You know, bark at the moon? You used to watch that video all the time?"
      Isobel: "Pfft, no."
      Daddy: "Well, you used to watch that video over and over again. You used to love Ozzy."
      Isobel: "And that's why uncle Doug calls me Izzfest?"
      Daddy: "And the Princess of Darkness, yep."
      Isobel: "What's wrong with him?"

       I was remarking to myself the other day that since she learned to ride her bicycle,Isobel has virtually left it untouched. I figured she would be tearing up and down the driveway with unrivaled zeal. I asked her about it "How come you don't ride your bike anymore?" I asked.
    "I still ride it. I'm just not riding it now."
     "I haven't seen you ride it for a while. You better ride that thing before you forget how."
   ...and so I have only myself to blame.
      The thing about bicycles, is you always fall off them. Usually one really bad fall in the learning to ride phase of your biking career.
      I remember mine well. I had inherited my brother's old bicycle. A wicked banana seated beauty complete with ape hanger handle bars and a flashy new paint job, courtesy of the Old Man. My father had become obsessed with the colour British Racing green. Everything within reach was painted this colour, whether requested or not. My old school banana bike-British Racing Green. My brother's new five speed-British Racing green, which has often led me to wonder about the legality of ownership of a 'brand new' bicycle that you paint the second day you have it. Anyway, the bikes, The Old Man's car, the dog (well not really but if he'd been a tad slower he might've) you get the idea. British Racing Green as far as the eye could see.
     So there I was, ready to mount my new steed. With my trusty squire by my side. Actually it was my friend Jeff Morrison and he was neither a squire nor trusty but he had a bicycle nearly identical to the one I was about to ride and he could ride it. I knew how to ride a bike of course but this particular bike was still fitted to my brother's frame and my brother was and remains noticeably taller that I am.
      It was across the street from my house, thirty feet at most, up a dead end street where the only car visible was parked in the driveway of a man we knew worked the night shift. Or was a vampire, either way he wasn't getting up to interrupt my ride. I was ready, Jeff was ready and we were off.
     I made it about seventeen inches and realized that while height is mostly inconsequential in the riding of a bicycle, it is crucial in the stopping of one. My feet groped for solid ground and only the very tips of my tiptoes found it. When I discovered I couldn't reach the ground, I began to panic and that panic set the front wheel of my new British Racing Green banana seated charger into a vicious shimmy that I couldn't correct no matter what I did.
     I am to this day unclear how it was possible but I managed to go over the handlebars...well overish. I somehow managed to land on the handlebars, the bottoms of the handlebars. I soon discovered that The Old Man had not put the handle grips back on the handlebars and so the rough un-filed steel tube was now firmly embedded in my left armpit. I was impaled.
     "Go get The Old Man!" I screamed at Jeff Morrison, who by this point had stopped laughing and started staring with a sick amazement.
      "Wow..." he breathed.
      "Jeff! Get my FATHER!"
        Oh there are fathers who are kind and gentle and understanding and who can fix problems regardless of what they are. There are also fathers who will assess any situation and determine no matter what has transpired, you are some how the cause. Guess which kind I got?
      "What the hell did you do to that god-damned bike? I just painted that you know?"
       The Old Man pulled me off the bike, literally and I swear it made a noise like a balloon being pulled through a watermelon. I didn't go to the hospital, rather just down to the Dr's office to see Dr. Lichtenheld. A wonderful doctor if  you enjoy war criminals administering your health care.
      "Is it safe, Mr. Baker?"
      A big band aid and a tetanus shot and home we went. I think i took the rest of the day off  but was back on my bike the next day. The Old Man never stopped bitching about the paint job I buggered up.
      "You better ride that thing before you forget how." I blame myself.
      She had a friend over and had pedaled up the driveway, expertly I might add. The way down the driveway was a different matter, she had forgotten the difference in speed and made a sudden turn out of panic and went down. I haven't heard her cry like that in a while. Huge sobs of pain and embarrassment echoed around her as she ran up on the porch.
      "What happened?" I asked, fearing that maybe an arm was broken or a tooth was out.
      "I...fell...off...and...and...arm and...legs and both legs...and..."
       I looked her over quickly and noticed that apart from dirty streaks on her face and road rash, she was alright. I have to admit, that for a second as she walked up wailing that she had fallen off her bicycle, 'What the hell were you doing wrong?' crossed my mind but it didn't stay long.
     I picked her up and carried her inside. I kissed her forehead and had a look at her arm. Road rash and a good case of it.
     "Let's get you cleaned up and then I'll go get your bike."
     She tried hard to hold back the tears and speak in a strong voice but the facade was fading fast.
     "Leave it out there," she said with a quivering voice. "I'm never getting on that stupid damn thing again."
     But she will...we all get back on the bike sooner or later.

      We were sitting around the appetizer table at my sister's place, stuffing our faces and chatting. The Boy Uncle Doug and I. My brother was explaining the coolness of his latest skull t-shirt.
     "The leaf glows in the dark." he said.
     It had a gigantic pot leaf on it behind the skull which apparently glows in the dark.
     The Boy is still young enough that he doesn't recognize the Cannabis Sativa leaf on sight and so if I tell him that Uncle Doug is really into horticulture and that's why a lot of his shirts have leaves on them, he takes it as just 'Sid using big words to make himself look smart again.' It's not going to last much longer and then I foresee a long and mostly confusing talk ahead. For now, it was nothing more than a skull with a leaf that glows in the dark.
     "Oh yeah?" I said. "I remember I had a Big Brother shirt that had eyes that glowed in the dark."
     "Wait, what?' asked The Boy. "You had a Big Brother shirt with eyes that glowed in the dark?"
     "Yep," I said. I loved that shirt. I wonder what ever happened to it?"
      "Who's eyes were they?" asked The Boy. "Dirty Dick or Johnny Fairplay?"
      I took three things away from this little snack time exchange.
     1) I am unbelievably old.
     2) The George Orwell character has been almost entirely usurped by the CBS television program.
     3) Johnny Fairplay was actually on Survivor.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oh Yeah, That's My Kid...What the Hell, Already?...

We were driving to the mall to get something to eat. I stopped to get a lottery ticket. $40 million, why not?

      Isobel: "Daddy if you win the lottery can we get a farm?"
      Daddy: "Honey, if I win the lottery you can have your very own farm."
      Isobel: "Really!!?!?"
      Daddy: "Sure, but if I don't win the lottery I'm gonna kick the crap out of both of you."
      Isobel: "Wait, what? You're going top kick the crap out of both of who?"
      Daddy: "You two. You and The Boy."
      Isobel: "Why would you do that?"
      Daddy: "Well I have to blame somebody for not winning, might as well be you two."
      Isobel: "Oh."
      Daddy: "Oh? That's it? You're not worried that I'm gonna kick the crap out of you and your brother if I lose?"
      Isobel : "Pfft! I have my feet. He's on his own."

      It's coming to that time of year, when Izzy and I start cruising around to costume shops checking out all the Halloween goodies. The creepy lights and smoke, the gimmicks and make up and masks...ah favourite time of year.
     Now I should interject a couple of things here that might be important as we go along. First off, we used to go to Canadian Tire and Walmart and places of that nature...well lit places because Isobel was absolutely petrified and lost her mind at the one honest to god costume shop we went to. Maybe it was the creepy crawly things on the floor or the motion activated jump out and scare the bejesus out of you things or maybe it as a combination of all of them but whatever the reason, she screamed in the store, started crying and announced that Halloween was stupid and she didn't care if she didn't get any candy. She just 'wanted out of the damn store anyway!'
      Now I should also add (and I am almost certain that have mentioned this before and that I am likely to mention it again) that I nearly shat myself the first time I saw the Exorcist. It touched something way down inside and it still bothers me to see it to this day. BUT every time it comes on the television I watch it. Now a days, I am forced to watch it alone downstairs, Mrs. Narrator is also terrified of the Exorcist but doesn't have the same sick compulsion to watch it that I do. I like to be scared. Even a couple days after when the nightmares have stopped and I ask myself why I keep doing this I'll remember that it's because I enjoy having the bejesus scared out of me.
      OK, so there we were at the costume shop and the first thing we see on the way in is a gigantic picture of Linda Blair and not the one from the dirty magazine.
      "Look Daddy, The Exorcist! Isn't that the movie that scares you?" Izzy said.
      "Yep," I replied. "That's the one."
      "What's so scary about that?" she asked in a kind of disbelieving tone.
      Now I have a copy of this movie in the basement that I watch from time to time on my own...this is one of those moral dilemmas that one faces all the time. Do I go fetch the movie when we get home and show the mocking first grader exactly why this is the scariest movie ever made? Only to deal with the fallout until she's about 24?
      "Kinda tough to explain, Pick. Maybe when you're older we can watch it together."
      This Halloween store was really the show room for the spook set. They had a working version of nearly every lawn display and motion activated thing a majinx in the place...and we tried them all. I figured I would be rushing her out of there, screaming and bawling and cursing Halloween and all that it was but she wasn't phased by any of it. In fact, she went back to the ones that made her jump and scream and tripped the motion sensors again. Only to jump and scream again. She did it over and over again and her reactions were genuine pretty much all of the time. I know when she's being fakey and there was no fakery in the way she leaped away from the gigantic jumping spider. Hell, it scared me at least twice.
     "Daddy?" she asked. "Can we go back around to them all again?"
      "Let's go look at some costumes first."
       The Boy, who had been mostly silent up to this point came running at me with his costume choice. He has been the Ghost faced killer ( not from The Wu Tang Clan) for the last two or three years and this year was really just a variation of that albeit an unsettling one. His mask is hooded again but in the front of it is a mirror. Of course he can see out through the back of it but you can't see his face. it is a baffling thing to the human brain to see a body but not to be able to see a face. Well it bothered me anyway.
      Next came our delicate little snap pea. Did I mention that clowns bother me too? They do. Did I mention that the first mask Isobel tried on was a scary clown mask? Not just her idea of a scary clown, Pennywise had nothing on this thing. Clowns are scary enough but couple that mask with the eyes of a child and your brain goes into overdrive. The expression in the eyes betrays the look on the face and suddenly you are a monkey on the savannah looking into the face of certain death. Cuddly , fluffy death.
     "Isobel, that is just about the creepiest thing I have every seen."
      "Really?" she asked with glee. "Is it really scaring you?"
      "I wouldn't say it was scaring me but it is bothering me. Why don't you try a different mask."
      She took off the clown mask and went to look for something else. I walked over to The Boy to see what he had picked. He had not found anything that rivalled the mirror mask. I had to agree.
      I felt a tug on the back of my shirt and turned to see Isobel...in the disturbing clown mask.
      "Take that thing off, it's creepy."
      "Muahaha!" she laughed her big fakey, evil laugh.
      "Really Pick, go take it off and go find another one."
      I turned back to The Boy and felt a familiar tug on my shirt. Scary clown, wiggly evil fingers and "Muahaha!"
      "Isobel, if you don't take off that freaky clown mask, not only are we not going to see the motion stuff again, we will leave this story right now."
      "OK." she relented and started to walk back to the rack of scary clown masks. (yes, a whole god damned rack of them) I saw The Boy was wandering off toward the door and turned to call him.
      "Daddy," I heard.    Clown mask and all, it was like a scene from a bad Karen Black movie, I expected her to pull a knife from behind her back and hack me to death with it.
      Oh yeah, that's my kid.

      We did make it to the mall and on our way through Walmart, we naturally looked at the Halloween stuff and video games and toys and well, pretty much everything the Merchant of Shame has to offer.
     "I'm hongry," I said. Let's go eat and we can look at this stuff on the way out.
      "OK," said Izzy. "I'm hongry too. ( that's not a typeo folks, it's the way we say it. When you're really hungry, you're hongry)
      "Daddy?" she asked me after we sat down to eat.
      "What's up buttercup?" I said.
      "Daddy, it's not even Halloween yet, right?"
      "Then why the were they playing dang Christmas music already?"
      "What?" I asked. "Where were they playing Christmas music?"
      "At Walmart," she said. "We were walking around and Christmas music was playing and I was wondering what the hell was going on?"
     I have to admit I didn't hear any Christmas music but stranger things have happened. We finished our mall Chinese food and headed back out through Walmart.
      "Daddy, listen!" she shouted. "That's the Christmas music!"
      I gave a listen and a laugh...it was Bob Marley.
             ...well he did want peace on earth.