Monday, November 5, 2012

The Jackson Pollock Discharge Sandwich

Daughter: A million!? Not even scientists can count to that right?

We've all heard the maxim that, "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". But - as eloquent and cheery as that is I think I can add a few more. For example there is a cast-iron guarantee that - once a winter coat has been taken out of the closet - that my son will more-or-less coat himself in something awful and sticky (like a mix of peanut butter and - somehow - tiling grout) and rub himself with it. I had removed The Worlds Most Hideous 80s Jacket from the cupboard last week and my son lasted about quarter of an hour before inexplicably getting peanut butter on his hand and just wiping it off on the opposing breast. There was so much of it kneaded into the coat fabric that I could only assume that he was trying to a very deep-tissue breast exam on himself without removing any of his clothing. Then Saturday morning I put him in his big, fat green winter coat and he somehow got what looks like a cherry-flavored lolly stuck to it. Which was actually quite clever because none of us had one. I know it wasn't attached since last year and I had just washed the coat. So it came from somewhere. Add when I revealed the lollipop to him he gave that expression of "oh there it is!"

Actually that particular coat is big and warm but fails on two principle levels. Firstly it's not waterproof in any way. So excluding short car trips where there's as little exposure to the elements as possible - it's relatively useless in location like this where several hundred inches of precipitation fall from October through May. Secondly it is awkwardly fat and big. It creates that sort of rotundness that forces the arms up-and-out to the sides slightly and the head almost immobile in it. So if I want my son to look at anything whilst wearing it he has to move his entire body and head as one like he's floating in it. Which renders it almost useless as a coat for car journeys because - no matter how angry I get or how much I scream swear words silently in my head - I can barely shoehorn my son into the car with it on.

Two other guarantees I can think of off-hand are that one, my wife will always climb into a bed to sleep without removing anything that shouldn't be on it. And two, that peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches are one of very few things that pang my gag reflex. Firstly I do the laundry on the bed. I sort it into neat, little piles for each person before my daughter (lately it's been me though) takes each one off to it's appropriate location. Sometimes I sort out the piles and leave them as they are and wait for the tumble dryer to finish up the last load. Then my wife comes home from work and - at some point - inevitably goes up stairs for a quick nap. I'd like to say she goes through a quick mental process that recognizes the clothes and then admits that it would be wrong to just climb under the duvet. But that if she is really diligent she can wake up before I come up and get her and puts everything away and then no-one gets irritated. But so far that's never happened. Instead I go up two hours later and - as I walk into the bedroom - I recall that there were clothes on the bed. At which point I see my wife asleep in a Swastika-shape under a choppy-sea of clothes. The entire bed looks like a Jackson Pollock painting. When I then wake her up she reveals that she hasn't processed any plan at all. Instead she looks about her confused as to why I've maliciously buried her in clothes.

As for the other guarantee - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are revolting. I say this in that way people do about things they haven't tried, but still feel adequate to hate with a lot of venom. I loathe jam, jelly, marmalade and all that pish so it's a cast-iron guarantee that I won't like it if mixed with peanut butter. Which - in the thick, putrid snot layer that is caked onto bread for a sandwich - is far too cloying to be acceptable to my mouth. I mean seriously look at it. I defy you not to be prompted  in an undeniable Rorschach moment not think of the word "discharge".

Moving on though - as everyone knows a very effective way to keep warm is to yell at some children. Unfortunately for my own kids they aren't old enough to have children of their own to yell at - so they've taken to yelling at each other instead. Principally over a game of Connect Four.I brought it home from the Thrift Store on Friday. I tried to teach my son how to play it but he was having none of it. He assured me - with an impressive amount of anger - that the aim of the game was for me to watch idly as he filled up every single space with a counter and then gloats right in my face that he's won. Again. Which - as you might expect - becomes quite tedious rather quickly. When his sister got home she plowed right in and tried to win the game that way herself. Which upset him greatly. Because how could he gloat right into her face if she was already screaming "I WON!!!" right at him? So I taught her the rules - knowing how bound to such things she is. 

Then they both attempted to independently play their own games. She stuck in four red counters (or "pennies" as they both decided to call them) and he plopped in either black or red ones at a much slower rate. This gave her a chance to cheer about her own victory while he - in the zone - dropped counters in completely unaware that she was even there. The only downside to which was that she realized after a short while that a much more amusing game was to wait until he'd put in all but two or three and then open the gate at the bottom and let them all out before he could finish. Understandably this made him borderline murderous. Helped along by the fact that she - like most five year old children - has no sense of subtlety or sleight of hand at all. Once he plopped in half of the counters she twitched and squealed with anticipation at screwing him over. Even going so far as to actually sing the question, "am I going to stop you winning?" at him. It's a mercy in itself that these days I can calmly say to the pair of them that I expect them not to do silly things like that or they'll never see that thing again - and then they both smile at each other and play nicely. The strangest thing that happened after that was my daughter coming to me later on to tell me they now had too many pennies for it. Which is very odd seeing is when I brought the game home all the counters were in the Connect Four fence-thing. Where's the extra one come from? 

Quite simply this just supports my theory that the one of them is definitely a witch.

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