28 June 2007

Bonfire of the Vanities

So, Male Offspring got back from football camp last night. Teen Demon had to pick him up, as I am still ensconced in my new cubicle with my colleagues, dealing with our recent relocation. Whole'nuther meaning to "close quarters". I thought one colleague was readying to give me a lap dance, but she just wanted to use the printer.

I put my dollar away.

Anyway, my daughter picks up her brother from school. Now, he'd told me he had a surprise for us once he got back. I was curious, as he could not be persuaded to spill the beanage. My phone rings:

Annoying Ring! Annoying Ring!

Me: Hello?

Perky Female Friend of Male Offspring: Hi! Is ____ there!?

Me: No, I'm still at work, he's not with me.

Perky Friend: Oh. Wait! Okay! Can you please tell him that Perky Friend said, "Ohmygod, I sooo can't believe you got a mohawk!"

Me: ... (a mohawk?!) ... Sure. I certainly will. Thanks for calling, Perky Friend.

Perky Friend: OK!! Byeee!!

Oh, this was going to be fun. I live for these times. Doesn't quite make up for the stretch marks, but hey, what can, really?

I pick up the phone:

Male Offspring: Hello?

Me: You got a mohawk?

MO: ...

Mmm-hmm. That's right. You can run, but you can't hide.

MO:  How do you ...

Me: Those eyes in the back of my head? Yeah. Maybe think about that next time. When were you going to tell me about this little styling adventure?

MO:  That was the surprise! That's what I was going to show you! Who told you? Did TeenDemon call you? Man! I can't believe she to--

Me: She didn't tell me.

MO: But ... you're still at work! How do you kn--

Me: How I know doesn't concern you.

MO:  Did Coach call you!? Crap! Coach didn't call you did h--

Me:  I can't believe you did this. You're grounded.

MO:  What?!? But, why -- grounded?! Are you serious?! But ... it's my hair! What about the beach bonfire tonight? You said I could go! It's my own hai--

Me: Gotta go, things are crazy here.

MO: What? No! Wait, I need to --

Me: *click*

Of course, later he claimed he knew I'd been joking all along. Hey, whatever you have to tell yourself.  The mohawk is pretty cool.  He calls it his 'frohawk.

So I end up chaperoning the beach bonfire. The idea is to burn the last vestiges of middle school in a blaze of glory before moving on to the vaunted halls of high school.

Kind of an adolescent cleansing ritual involving fire, marshmallows, and illegal fireworks.

All week I'd tried to get the lowdown on this bonfire business. I thought he called from camp because he missed me. Or at least because he knew I'd miss him. He called to ask permission to go the bonfire. I, of course, had questions about an event involving darkness, fire, hormones, high tide and a bunch of boys fresh from football camp, pumped up on adrenaline and testosterone. (This was before I even knew about the fireworks.) I had questions like,

  • Who's sponsoring the bonfire? (I don't know)
  • Is it a school event? (I don't think so)
  • Well, is it a city event, or just a private party? (I don't know)
  • What time does it end? (Um, probably after dark?)
  • Who will be there? (My friends)
  • Do your friends have names? (You know. Just my friends!)
  • Who is supervising? Are parents going? (Probably. I don't know)

Finally, half an hour before the big event, I am put on the phone with someone named Rachel's Mom. (None of us have names. We are all ______'s Mom.) We parents decide to pull together and start this high school thing off with a strong united front. In short, we're chaperoning.

I saw one firework go off a few inches from someone's hand. I saw a kid throw a firework into the fire, and then (get this) reach into the fire pit with his bare hand to retrieve it when it didn't go off. I saw another kid balance on the edge of the fire pit on one foot, while he kicked some logs around with his other foot to "rearrange things". I saw kids pushing each other while precariously bent over to roast marshmallows with what looked like a toothpick.

One kid shot a firework through a buddy's legs. Hello! I mean, seriously, I'm all for fun, but do they not know they could lose a hand? Or an equally useful appendage?  Yeah, Junior, you might want to hang onto that for later.  Just sayin'.

At least they weren't spraying Silly String into the fire, which can ignite the string and blow up the can, just like the warning on the side of the can says. (That, apparently, once happened when another parent foolishly left the room during a birthday party. Amazing what tidbits of information surface when parents compare notes.)

The fact that there aren't more grown men walking around with eye patches and bionic parts amazes me. I didn't see a single girl doing these things. A little testosterone is a dangerous thing, people.

Male Offspring missed all these pyromaniacal goings on, as he and New Girlfriend were sitting on a piece of driftwood, the 'frohawk silhouetted against the sky, watching the sunset. Well, they would've been, had the sun been visible. They were actually sitting on a piece of driftwood watching the various and sundry shades of grey swirl around. Pacific Northwest, people. I was actually proud -- okay, fine, smug -- that he didn't get sucked into the frenzied drama.

Next up, high school.


  1. GoodGawd, man, now why did you have to go and put those kind of thoughts in my head? Whilst bastilled away in my cubiclet, no less! Cylinder? Are you trying to make me swoon?

    Puts me in mind of days in the former eastern bloc, and a certain bald Scorpio with a hoop earring in each ear and a sexy mind to go along with the---

    ---Damn you, Tater Tease!

    So, what other monikers have been assigned you? A guessing game, shall we? Tater Toy? Tater Tart? Tickle Me Tater? DickTater? Mr. PoTater Head? Tricky Tater? How 'bout Tater Top?

  2. Why am I hungry for mechanically pressed potato niblets? Hmmm...

  3. LOL! I especially like Tickle Me Tator, and Tater Tart, but you shame me, they are all so good... When I was young and invincible I was mostly a Baked PoTater, and when I really really have to pee I'm a FloTater, and when and if I go to grad school I will become a MasterTater...

  4. Ditto to the awesome mother comments, yo. And kudos on the post. Quite entertaining.

  5. Perfect post. There was more wit in here than, well, something that has a whole lot of wit. Nothing is really springing to mind right now. Maybe I should come back later when the tablets wear off.

  6. Hey RB's mom, you should be giving courses in parenting skills. What a wonderful post.

    We want more (pounding his knife and fork on the table)
    We want more
    We want more

  7. "The fact that there aren't more grown men walking around with eye patches and bionic parts amazes me. I didn't see a single girl doing these things. A little testosterone is a dangerous thing, people."...LOL!

    Ever see the movie,"Lord of the Flies?"..It's like that.
    Very fun and funny post MC. :)


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