A buddy of mine over at IveBecomeMyParents.com recently posted about doing stupid things when he was younger and asked for other dads to add their stories. So, I decided to give it a shot.Also, you can follow him on Twitter. He’s @IbecameMyDad tell him @DiaperDads sent you!
A Large Field to Choose From
I am not proud to say that I have a plethora of things to choose from. Things like believing my brother when he told me to stand against the wall with my mouth open and then promising that he wouldn’t shoot a spit wad down my throat. Or the time when I was seven and tried to ride my bicycle off of the loading dock at the rear of the local post office. Hell, even the time I shot a old can of shaving cream can’t compare to the stupidity of what I decided to write about. I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it or give any defense. There is none. And if my kids are reading this…well, it’s pretty far in the future and their tenacity to dig up dirt on the old man shall be rewarded.
I’m Largely a Cautionary Tale
If the last paragraph didn’t convince you, then go back and reread it. It’s okay, I’ll wait.
Back? Good. As I was saying, my childhood was plagued by misplaced trust and an appallingly shocking lack of common sense. If I had a dollar for every time my dad would take his hat off to rub his forehead over my stupidity, I’d have a crapload of cash and he’d probably still have more hair. I’m still haunted with family tales of “Hey, you remember that time that Scotty…?”
It’s okay, I’m used to it by now. You have to be when you’re the guy who is known in certain circles as “That dude that almost burned his eyebrows off lighting a fart that time.” In my defense, that was a particularly bad batch of navy beans and my mom walked in as I was just letting loose so I was distracted and flame control became impossible. ‘Nuff said…
It Started In a Swimming Pool
Rewind the years. It was 1989 and I was all of 16 going on 17. I was almost a man, dammit. I was smart. I was indestructible. I wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box, really. July 4th weekend was shaping up to be a scorcher. We lived in a trailer park on the outskirts of Las Vegas. My older sister and I went swimming at the local pool. After a little while, I started feeling my oats and began doing back dives off of the side of the pool. I did one so well, I cracked the back of my skull on the side of the pool. I remember when I hit, my body went slack and every nerve tingled. It was like getting shocked. I slowly floated to the bottom of the pool in a daze. Then my brain was all, “WTF!! Get up or you’ll drown!”
I raised an arm up and grabbed the side of the pool and lifted myself. The following was a complete Deja Vu. I looked up and some little girl says, “Ewww….you’re bleeding!” I looked down and there were two rivers of blood coming over each shoulder and pooling in the waistband of my trunks. I looked back up and my sister was one step off of freaking out. Then she saw the wound on the back of my head…and promptly took that extra step and freaked the hell right out.
TL;DR (too long didn’t read)
One trip to the emergency room later, I came home with five stitches in my scalp and a funky looking bandage on my head. The Arab lady who had stitched me up wouldn’t make it into a turban for me. I think she thought I was being racist when I asked her to. I wasn’t. It was just that the bandage looked too much like I was sporting some insanely large sweatband. And being 16…I didn’t have a rocking porn ‘stache to go with it!
I Know What You’re Thinking
“That’s not too stupid. Kids have accidents in pools all the time! Stop being so hard on yourself!” Yeah, I’ll let it slide that you just thought hardon. But that wasn’t the stupid thing. No, not yet. But it was about to happen. Big.
Dad, Can I Go Over To Blah-Blah’s House?
That is the phrase that started it all. It’s the phrase that comes back every time the family gets together and Dad has the stage. It was the opening shot of an evening of insanity that almost killed me. Yeah, I walked over to Blah-Blah’s trailer. I was bored. She was bored too. So we walked over to someone else’s trailer. And the three of us walked over to yet another trailer. They had booze. We stopped walking and started drinking. I’d never had rum before. So, they made me a rum and Coke. I didn’t much care for it. But by the time I finished the first one, they handed me a second one. I was feeling fine so I drank it. I poured the third one myself.
Oh, we were laughing and having a blast. I distinctly remember feeling ALIVE. Then noticed my drink was empty. So, I did what every responsible drinker does. I stopped. I stopped putting Coke in my rum! I don’t know how many shots I had after three…the rest of the night is a blur. I got lost in a public restroom. I ran through the trailer park yelling, “SHHHHH! The manager’s coming!!!” I remember not being able to run anymore. I would start out okay, but then the ground would just attack my face for no good reason! Stupid ground.
It’s Time To Go Home
I sobered up a little. Well, enough to let everyone convince me that I needed to go home. So, I walked quietly to the trailer. And with never before seen NINJA STEALTH(TM) I was able to sneak into the trailer without waking my parents. I sneaked back to my bunk and quietly got undressed. Ready for bed I laid down and went to sleep.
The next morning I woke to the sun trying to sear its way into my brain. I had vomit drying on the side of my head and my pillow was foul. Dad had already left for work, and when mom asked what happened that night, I told her that dinner was too greasy and it must have made me sick. She bought it. Hook. Line. AND sinker. If I hadn’t been so violently ill, I might have thought I was slicker than hot buttered owl shit.
Here’s How This Shit REALLY Went Down
A buddy helped me stagger to the trailer. Where I was whispering loud enough to wake my dad. The jerk sat in there silently watching me as I fell trying to get into the house. Then I got up and fell again. The third time, I fell INTO the house, stood up and walked back outside to try again. I slammed the door and said, “Shit.” as I stumbled to my bunk. He sat up and watched me pass out on my bed, fully clothed. He tried to wake me up to ground me before going to work, but couldn’t so they decided he’d drop the hammer when he got home.
First Hangover = Worst Hangover
Sound made me want to vomit. Light made me want to vomit. Listening to my sister eat breakfast REALLY made me want to vomit. Thinking back, pretty much everything made me sick that day. BUT the important thing was that I had suckered my mom into believing me. I was halfway to being Scott-Free! (If you’ll pardon the pun.) I worked all day on my story to tell dad when he got home. I tried my best at acting as if nothing had happened except some greasy dinner. I had it all worked out. I was golden. I was going to get away with it!
Dad Came Home and I Crumbled Under the Pressure
I caved. Holy crap, I caved hard! I heard his truck pull up. It was SHOWTIME baby! Yeah! I’d been practicing all day long on how this was going to go down. I was in control. Dad walked in and before he said anything else he looked at me and said, “So, what did you have to drink last night?”
WARNING WARNING WILL ROBINSON! My defense perimeters had been compromised! In all of my scheming and rehearsing, it never dawned on me that he might suspect that I had been out drinking… So, you can see why I scrambled my forces and replied, “Rum.”
One word. Head hung. Defeated on the first shot of what was supposed to be an epic war of the minds. The old man beat me before he’d even put his hat down. I swear to God, that guy might be a Jedi.
Guilt 101 and a Father’s Love
My dad is a tough old bird. He’s not the “I love you, son.” type. I wish he had been. It might have made our earlier years together a bit less hellish. But, I learned that day, that dad said, “I love you, son.” in different ways. He sat down to tell me a story.
It was November of 1965. He was young, dumb, and full of cum. He was also in the Army stationed in Germany. He and his platoon had been given 3 days leave from the base. So, he and his buddies did what every responsible kid in the Army does. They went into town and drank themselves broke and stumbled back to the barracks with minutes to spare on their curfew. Every man left and every man came back. It was a successful weekend of rabble-rousing by anyone’s standards. Come reveille every man got up but one.
It was Roy Rogers’ son. He’d had too much to drink on R&R and choked on his own vomit in his sleep. I knew what my dad was doing. He was just trying to scare me into not drinking again. I was onto his game. Then I looked up at him. His face betrayed something it had never shown before. Fear.
This man was a ROCK. He was as hard as they came. And I saw instantly, that he wasn’t mad at me so much as he was terrified that he could have lost a child that night. It put him in a different light. And I was ashamed. I was embarrassed that I had done what I had done. I was mortified that I had spent the day trying to come up with a story…no, a lie so that I wouldn’t get in trouble. When he had sat at work all day having to relive the horror of seeing me lie in a pool of my own puke, knowing what could have been.
As a dad…I know and understand his fear on a level I would never have thought possible. I know my dad in a way that I could never have understood before. And as penance to my crime, every Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Birthday…and any other time the family got together, I got regaled with the story about, “Yeah, I remember when Scotty tried drinkin’ for the first time. Didn’t end so well did it, son?” Followed by a knowing glance that I now read as, “That’s the day that I thank God that you weren’t taken from me.”
Yeah, he made it hell. But I deserved it. And I love him all the more for the ordeal. Because he was able to show me he cared in a way that he was never able to before.
So, sons, if you’re reading this, I can only hope and pray that I have handled your stupid moments with grace and love. (And a good share of forehead rubbing.)