Broke

 
 

Jim Noonan

 

It all happened so quickly! I wasn't trying to prove a point; I wasn't even trying to show off. In fact, I couldn't give you one good reason why I was standing on the chair, especially since I'd been screaming at Lucy for the past few weeks to stop standing on the furniture.

I could hear myself explaining to her all of the horrible things that can go wrong when you abuse the sofa: "You're gonna break your neck!" "You're gonna break the couch!" "Those wings you are wearing were not made by angels; they were made by a 6 year old girl from Bangladesh who supports her family on thirteen cents an hour. Who after a 12 hour work day in the scorching heat and dreadful humidity fills her quota of 300 hand sewn wings, which she places in a box on a boat set for America. That boat docks somewhere in California where a man, who is probably making less than minimum wage and doing the work of three men (including Jeff, his best friend who was laid off last weekend) carries that box of wings to a truck headed for our local megastore in Chicago. Once it arrives here it is unpacked and strategically placed onto an end case with a bunch of crappy cartoon pixies and pink strobe lights that are meant to entice and unleash a visual onslaught of giddiness and euphoria upon little doe-eyed girls such as yourself. Consequently, it's those little "doe" eyes that your father cannot resist and seconds after you unleash a desperate stare of need for these wings, I am compelled beyond my better judgment to add a pair of these now outrageously priced sweatshop wings into our ridiculously random cart of diapers, paper towels, frozen pizza, car battery, toilet seat cover, "fresh cut" steaks, skill saw and The Very Best of Color Me Bad CD/DVD collector's edition. If you think for one instant that those wings will allow you to gently flutter to the floor from the top of that chair, you are sorely mistaken. Those wings do not work. They were made entirely of false dreams, imagination, hope and pink nylon. So sit down before you fall and break your head!" I thought I made my point clear, so could someone please tell me how it came to be that I found myself standing on the very same piece of furniture I was telling Lucy to get down from?

At the time Lu, Ru and I were all on the sun porch. Lucy was drawing, Rubers was playing on her piano and I was on the phone trying to switch my phone service (I think we're getting railroaded by AT&T and was listening to what Vonage had to offer). It was during this phone conversation when I decided to stand on the chair.

"Da, what are you doing? You're not supposed to stand on the furniture remember?" Blahhhhhh…. of course I remember, but I'm an adult, I think I can handle this. My spot on speech of probable scenarios was mostly a scare tactic; I thought she would understand this. Adults and children have different rules. Some things, like adults standing on furniture for absolutely no reason does not apply.

"So how much is it a month?" I asked the Denise, the Vonage lady.
"It's twenty-four ninety-nine a month." This is when it happened. It wasn't the price that shocked me so much I lost my balance, or the potential savings. Suddenly, I couldn't hear her and I found myself screaming, "What? I can't hear you! Huh?" The chair started to move forward and the outcome was now inevitable. I saw my life flash before my eyes, but for some reason my life was a collage of America's Funniest Home Video clips. It was all those awkward and embarrassing videos where a dad's break-dancing attempt sends him crashing through a screen door. There was the video of a dad modeling the new clothes that his kids picked out from him when he suddenly falls into an abandoned well. The video of a dad trying to show off at the pool and when he jumps off the diving board and he's bitten in the head by an errant goat. The video of a dad trying to "school" his son in basketball, but when he goes up for a dunk, he's run over by a train carrying a bunch of birthday cakes with trick candles, a spider, a slobbering dog, laughing babies, a guy in a refrigerator box and a toddler poised to smash him in the groin repeatedly with a Whiffle ball bat. There is absolutely no doubt that if this fall was captured on film the host from Dancing With The Stars would say, "And the winner of $10,000 is…. Uncool dad standing on the chair for unknown reasons while trying to switch his phone service falls and breaks his ass."

As I began to tumble off the chair, I remember thinking that, "This is the first time my feet have unwillingly touched my ears." Then my backside crashes into the top of the chair, and a sound exploded like someone just let the air out of a balloon. After what seemed like a minute of  zero gravity free fall, I land on my feet (much to the surprise of everyone in the room). I politely hang up with Denise (I never let go of the phone!) after telling her that I will consider their service. I then walk pass the girls into the bathroom, shut the door, push my face into a towel and scream, "M-*^>@ !!! *%$#@@@?...." After I wipe the tears from my eyes, I regain my composure and hobble back to the girls.

Of course Lucy says something about the incident that puts me in my place, "Blah blah you shouldn't blah blah blah," that's expected now, whatever I get it. The bottom line is this; I was trying to be a good parent.  I was giving sensible advice while thinking I was immune to the laws of gravity and irony. I did the very thing that I warned Lucy against and as a result for the past few days I've been sitting on alternating bags of frozen meat and peas. I know there is an obvious lesson to be learned here, but I don't care. My butt is colored in nine different shades of black, brown, blue and yellow and every time I cough or sneeze I can taste a weird mixture of feet and spine and that's pretty much all that needs to be said, and that's how I choose to end this.

 

 

 

 
 







 
 
 
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