Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some fathers just wear egg on their faces.

This morning, I'm haranguing the boys so that they'll get to camp on time -- Primus and Tertius doing gymnastics, Secundus a week-long film and TV course at a different location, two Rye miles (i.e., the equivalent of thirty kilometers in non-Westchester) from his brothers. Same drop-off time, hence the impatience of taxi-driver Daddy.*

Despite the ticking clock, they move with all the slow deliberation of moon-walkers, blissfully unsullied by the merest touch of urgency. (Why can't a nine-year-old make tart and irrelevant comments without pausing in the middle of tying his shoelaces?)

Primus belatedly reminds Tertius that socks and sneakers are required for an activity today, Tertius refuses to believe it, clings to flip-flops, unable to grasp the concept of wearing sneakers anyway as insurance, in case of the dim possibility that his older brother may actually be right. Daddy now quite exasperated, spinning car keys like worry beads, snapping orders.

I might have had more authority if it hadn't come out as "put on your snocks and seekers." Twice.

Last sacerdotal appearance, about five years ago.
It reminds me of an occasion a few Halloweens ago. (This will sound like a publicist's fantasy piece, but it's completely true.) Real life having, sadly, shifted my innocuous old priest costume into the scary category -- especially when chaperoning three small boys around the neighborhood -- I switch to dressing as the Grim Reaper** for trick-or-treating, face completely hidden behind a black fabric screen. But after the first year of this, the mem-sahib complains that it creeps her out (although it's turned out that it was me, not the outfit). So for the Reaper's next appearance, I try to soften it a little. Long, blue clown shoes poking out from underneath the black robe and a big red nose attached to a rubber skull half-mask. Somehow, though, it has the opposite effect.

That evening, Primus commits one of those childhood sins, long forgotten and no doubt fueled by high-fructose corn syrup, that requires a serious parental scolding. (When did every overhyped American tradition become a kids' candy-fest?) Having removed my Halloween costume, I sit him down on the living room sofa and lecture him for ten minutes on his behavior. And it's only as I draw to the end of my brilliant fatherly peroration that I realize I'm still wearing the clown nose.

I now go trick-or-treating dressed as a monk. You don't need to wear pants, and neighbors offer you beer.


*Are you talkin' to me? (I love footnotes. They're like P.S.'s)

**My former Citibank colleagues and I decided years ago that a "Grim Reaper" should be the name of a cocktail, although we were unable to come up with anything sufficiently lethal. We did agree, from frequent caipirinha-oiled business lunches (it was the 80s) at the nearby "Brazilian Pavilion" in midtown (it was the 80s), that it should have a cacha├ža base. But the next ingredient foundered on the current legal status of absinthe. (Not to mention the abandonment of New Coke.)

1 comment:

  1. Grim Reaper Cocktail: Absinthe (since it's legal once again) with Perrier, dash of sriracha, cocktail onion. Can't imagine a worse combination of flavors, nor a worse wrath of a hangover the next day.

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