That title may have somewhat of an ominous ring to it, but I assure you, it is anything but ominous.
In my brother’s last entry, “Football”, he said some pretty flattering things about my ability to toss a football. Well, I’m going to “throw it right back at him”, (no pun intended) this week by discussing a talent he had that I never came close to duplicating. Namely, escaping Dad (and other parental danger zones)
Allow me to set the stage. In our childhood years, my brother and I were each other’s best, and the majority of the time, only friends. We invented games to play, spanning the scope from creating new characters (see the “Shorty” entry from some time back), to transforming, (in our very over creative minds), our living room into a football field, a baseball Diamond, or, even a Civil War battlefield. We played for hours a day together in the fantasy worlds that we both created. When we were not creating and playing games, we could be found watching television together. Despite our six-year age difference, we loved the exact same shows. In past entries, we have both written quite a bit about this. Most importantly, we had the same sense of humor. We loved to laugh and laugh we did. Much of it was related to the beloved characters on the shows we so loved and much of it based on the crazy goings on with our extended family. Bottom line, whether it was impersonating a character (see Gomer Pyle or Maxwell Smart) or reliving one of the hilarious “family moments”, we spent a good bit of time laughing quite extensively. Now, it’s important to note that the “joke” was basically limited to just Rob and I. Others would be pretty clueless as to what had us doubled over in laughter.
Enter Dad. We both have spoken enough about him to be comfortable knowing that our regular readers realize we had nothing but love and respect for him. He was a wonderful Father. However, he was kind of a “no-nonsense kind of guy. Please remember, he was a Marine who had witnessed the horrors of the Second World War. He worked his butt off for his family, at times working three jobs with little to no sleep to keep us afloat. Very understandable where the “no-nonsense” part of him came from. Well, Rob and I were ALL nonsense. Dad would walk down the hall and enter the living room and there Rob and I would be, literally rolling on the floor laughing at nothing he could see. He would try to catch the humor by giving a faint smile and asking “what’s so funny?” Through the fits of laughter one of us, usually Rob would utter a line from one of our shows. “would you believe……. (a Maxwell Smart catch line) … and then we would be uncontrollably laughing again. Dad would stare at us for a moment, shake his head and leave the room muttering something about “his jerky kids”. (That term stayed with us forever, and I hope one of us expands on it in another post… simply hilarious.)
Now, another important note. At this point in my life, I was what was known as a “Duffus” or a dork. Dork being a term that came on the scene a bit later. The word in the time I am relating was Dufass. It depicted someone not too swift, if you know what I mean…. kinda’ “dense’? I was going through that growth spurt that many young boys do that make them seem that gangly, awkward and…. dense. That was me. Rob never went through this weird phase, damn him, but I certainly did. To make matters worse for me, I had the tendency to have this very dense look on my face when I wasn’t quite catching what was going on around me, which was quite often. To describe this “look” will be difficult, but try to picture a blank look in the eyes and a mouth that hung open in confusion. Rob could imitate this expression flawlessly (damn him) and would send both of us into more fits of laughter. I didn’t even know when “the look” came upon my face, but Rob (damn him) would make sure to point it out by imitating it perfectly.
Back to Dad. There were times when he did get angry with us, usually for acting like “Jerky kids” when he was trying to be serious about school or something else very important to him (respect, manners, cleanliness were high on his extensive list).
So, there we would be, usually standing in front of him while we got pretty severely “chewed out” for something. Mom could usually be seen standing behind Dad as he “let fly” with her arms folded and a concerned look on her face. Her expression said “Your dad is right, listen to him and don’t make it worse.” … and inevitably, I would make it worse…. Usually because of Rob (damn him).
There we were, getting laid out pretty good and I would make the mistake of looking over at my brother. Bad, bad mistake…. I knew it was coming. I could tell by the expression on his face. Keep in mind all through this “ass-chewing” I was standing there with the “Dufass” look on my face (which probably made Dad even angrier). It usually didn’t register with me what I was in trouble for, thus, my “dufass look”. I glance over at Rob and he slightly lifts his right eyebrow… (I swear, I can see that raised eyebrow today)
“Oh Lord, I’m thinking, don’t do it now… please not now”. But, I can’t take my eyes off of him. Next, he gets this blank look in his eyes…. “Oh God… he’s going to do it…. I know it!”
Then his mouth drops open in a classic “Duh” expression. He has the “Dufass look” and I am doomed. I break into uncontrollable laughter in the middle of Dads very serious Ass-chewing.
“SO, YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY!!! , Dad bellows. All eyes are on me now, the “dufass” kid laughing like a fool within an inch of his death.
I turn back toward Rob to try to explain it was because of his look, But…. Gone, vanished into thin air…. He has disappeared. Every time…. He vanished. Needless to say, Dad’s full wrath was then turned on me. I’m sure my dense expression that now said “Where did Rob go?” didn’t help matters.
Rob used my laughter as a decoy. When all eyes turned on me, laughing when my Dad was ready to kill me, he slipped from the room. These sessions usually took place in our kitchen. From our kitchen, a long hall led to the living room. (This hall is mentioned in quite a few other posts). Rob would quickly slip out of the kitchen and, with Hussain Bolt speed, fly down the hall and slide under the sofa in the living room… he was impossible to reach in this “foxhole”. He would start his slide about three-quarters of the way down the hall, then like a runner stealing a base, lower his head just enough to avoid “the tag” of the sofa bottom.
Dad actually caught him slipping out one time. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Rob making his break for the hall. Dad followed in hot pursuit. When Rob went into his patented slide, all dad could do was stop.. and he broke out into deep laughter. The sight of rob making the run and slide just tickled him so much.
In the Kitchen, “dufass look” in tack, I wondered why it was ok for Rob to make dad laugh and not ok to make me laugh. Damn him.