Being the mother of four boys is not an easy task. I should know, as the third of those four boys. Three of us especially, as the youngest is several years behind, and was not often a part of our shenanigans growing up. My mother doesn’t trigger easily, so when she does, she really means it. Like the time she caught the oldest flashing a little birdie to the second oldest. She painted his entire middle finger with red nail polish and made him wear it for a couple of days, even to school.
Most of the time, she is pretty easy going and even a bit of a joker herself; which can be fun, as long as the joke is not on you. Once, she was out running some errands with the oldest, and a friend of his was along for the ride. They stopped by a grocery store and it was raining. This old woman, not wanting to get her hair wet, decided to put a plastic grocery bag over her head and tie it under her chin to keep dry in the rain. My brother and his friend thought it was funny to see this old lady with the bag on her head. The next time this friend was coming over to our house, my mom grabbed a bunch of plastic grocery bags and put them on all of our heads in various hat fashions, just before the boy got to the house. When he walked in, there were four of us hanging about the room, wearing bag-hats on our heads. Then, she offered one to him! I thought he was going to die of embarrassment.
Another incident involved a friend of the second oldest. We were all hanging around in the living room watching television, while his friend visited. Unexpectedly, my mother comes into the room rolling a finger glove down over her index finger. She was a nurse for newborn babies, and they often used these instead of full hand gloves, for certain procedures. She began talking in her best ‘Dr. Ruth’ voice and explaining how to properly wear a condom. We were all speechless and red as a tomato, and then the laughter set in.
There is this one moment, though, where we really pushed her limits a bit too far. We were all sitting in a local restaurant chain having lunch, and like usual, my older brothers and I were feeling a little rambunctious. The second oldest somehow got onto the subject of turds. That set my mom right off. Apparently, that was one word she just could not tolerate, and she let him know it!
Added on to the fact that we were in a public place, where parents least like to be embarrassed by their children. Well, you can’t just drop a “NO!” bomb like that on three teenage boys, and not expect them to counterattack. So we did, in a fashion that only we could. It started small, with each of us in turn mildly and innocently discussing the word in conversation. But the more irritated she became, the more quickly it escalated. Within just a few minutes, we had gone from quietly mentioning turds at our table, to standing in the middle of the diner-style restaurant loudly chanting in unison “TURD, TURD, TURD!”. Embarrassment had quickly shifted to anger, the kind of anger that turns a face blood-red.
She slammed some money down on the table and dragged all four of us from the restaurant without any of us finishing our food or taking it with us. We knew she was furious, because money was scarce for us and eating out, even at an inexpensive place such as this, was a rare treat. She did not speak to us for the rest of the day, and when my dad got home, we were handed down sentencing for our little rebellion.
It has been many years since that afternoon, and as adults, we are well out of reach of any retribution for such activities. I dare say we are mature enough not to bother with such juvenile acts; but then, we are our mother’s sons. So, every now and then when we feel like tweaking a nerve, we remind her of that afternoon, by gently slipping a turd into the conversation. It is the quickest way to bring about the stare of death. But as long as we don’t take it any further, everyone gets a little chuckle out of it, and we continue on with our happy lives.
I like to tell her that it’s just a touch of payback, on my late grandfather’s behalf. She was one of five girls, and they weren’t any easier.
A/N: This story is based on true events. Names have been changed or removed to protect the innocent. For reference: The oldest is the dark hair teen, and later police officer. The second oldest is long hair teen, and later the other shaved head. I am the remaining teen, and later balding with goatee. The youngest is the child, and later the full bearded one.