Late in the evening, safely ensconced in my Suburban Lair,
reading another Hunter Thompson book (Kingdom Of Fear -
2003 - fascinating stuff) when my Middle Child strolled
into the living room. She had one of those 'frog tongue'
toys; a plastic stick attached to a sticky, stretchy
filament that ended in a big disc of sticky goo. It
works like this: you take the stick in your hand,
straighten the goo out, and then flick your wrist sharply.
The big gloppy thing on the end whips across the room,
the filament doubles or triples in length, the glob sticks
to something, and then the whole mess springs back to you
like a frog's tongue carrying whatever object you 'caught.'
So, she's flinging this nasty thing all about the room,
sticking it to everything in sight and giggling when it
pulls loose and flies back to her. I warned her with a
Dada Look to not even Think About zapping my book with
her vile contraption, then tried to tune out her mayhem.
She continued working on her technique, and I must say
I was impressed - she got the wrist action figured out
pretty well, and I was on the verge of telling her to
tone it down a bit when she made The Mistake.
She flipped the thing just so, and the glop on the end
of the toy smacked into the ceiling with considerable
force. I knew right away that she was pretty much
screwed - I was about to launch into a standard lecture
about Not Sticking The Damn Thing To The Textured
Ceiling, Don't You Know It's Going To Leave A Mark,
but then I realized that I couldn't really do that
without giving away the fact that the Dada had Done
The Same Damn Thing, Otherwise How Would He Know?
[on the advice of my attorney, I plead the Fifth]
So, I pulled Evasive Maneuver #38 out of my parenting
hat instead. ["Let's see if she can figure it out for
herself! Otherwise, how will she ever learn?"] I put
the book down and kept my mouth shut, in other words.
I really do think some federal grants and research
projects should be dedicated to answering this question
- how is it that one of those goop toys, stuck firmly
to a textured Sheetrock ceiling, develops an adhesive
bond so strong that it cannot be pulled free without
risking the total structural collapse of the house?
Inquiring minds want to KNOW!
She pulled, she tugged - initially, she was frustrated
by the fact that she could pull the stick all the way
down to the floor beneath the goop stuck on the ceiling
and the thing STILL would not let go. She was daunted
only momentarily - after that attempt failed, she
started working her way around the corners of the room,
showing an impressive mastery of 3-D geometry as she
tried to get the stick as far away from the goop on
the ceiling as she possibly could (given the constraints
of the room's dimensions and the various furniture in
play). Nothing - zip, nada, bupkus, no dice. That
'frog tongue' had captured the ceiling, by God, and it
was not ABOUT to let go.
I was about to break the news to her (and blow my cover
as a Previous Offender, remember) when for some insane
reason she let go of the stick. I don't know whether
it was accidental or just another example of her
particular twisted brand of out-of-the-box thinking.
Whatever the reason, the result was the same - the toy
contracted and impacted with a "zzzzip-SPLORT!" sound,
and an eyeblink later we were both looking at a huge
concatenated snot-ball firmly affixed to the ceiling,
sporting a rakishly tilted plastic handle that mocked
all attempts at retrieval.
She looked up, gaped, and then looked at me with what
has to have been one of the all-time greatest examples
of the 'Dumbass Kid "Oops!" Look' that this poor Dada
has ever seen.
I lost it, Friends and Neighbors - I took one deep
breath and then lay there howling with laughter for
a solid three or four minutes. I couldn't sit up on
the couch, brothers - I couldn't even MOVE. Oh, my GOD
- it was apocalyptic. My wife thought I had suffered
some kind of terminal attack, the cat took off at Warp
Speed to hide under the bed, and I'm still wondering
if the neighbors called the police.
During my attack, the Middle Child quietly fetched the
piano bench, dragged it across the floor, and then
stood on it while she picked the coils of sticky
goop off the ceiling. As soon as I could speak, I
told her to Go To Bed, For God's Sake, and Don't Do
Whoooo.... well, I think she learned her lesson, I
didn't have to admit to Past Misdeeds Of A Similar
Nature, and I had the best laugh I've head in six
months, at least.