Monday, May 10, 2010

Cat, Dog, Rat.

My wife had four children when I married her, which I knew would make me fifth in line, a place I accepted because my wife is worth standing in a long line for. (I’m glad they didn’t have a dog or I would have been sixth.)
Lately, I’ve been going home and finding people in my house that I don’t know. They’re the teenage friends of my wife’s daughter, who moved into the house. What I don’t understand is why, when I walk into my home, these friends don’t acknowledge me?
I open the door and see four young adults. I say cheerily, “Hello everybody. How ya’ll doin’?” No one says a word. One is texting, the others are watching television, and the smart one, uses her feet to kick crap out of the middle of the floor so I can pass.
“What are you people up to?” I’m trying to get a reaction.
“Oh, nothin’.”
That’s when I think, “Then do nothin’ somewhere else and get out my living room. Your parents didn’t teach you manners for Christ’s sake?” For those, whose parents didn’t teach them manners, they get one pass, and for those that I intimidate, too bad, it’s my house.
Actually, I would love everyone, young and old, to throw their hands in the air and run like little children to the door when I come home. “Oh, Larry! Larry!” is what I want to hear, but it isn’t going to happen. I’m at the point, where I’ll settle for, “Oh, you’re home. Did you bring food?”
“Word” to the idiots, acknowledge people when they walk into their home.
“Cat. Dog. Rat.” That’s what my mother used to say to me. “Your friends don’t know how to speak, when I walk in, for Christ’s sake? Cat. Dog. Rat. Say something,” which is where I get this. I’m passing it on to future generations.
Here’s another one. My mother used to always want to know the last name of my friends. Go figure. Often, I didn’t get that far before I went to their house, and not knowing the last names ticked her off.
“I’m going to Joe’s house.”
“Joe who?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“It’s Joe.”
“He doesn’t have a last name, for Christ’s sake?” It would infuriate my mother.
I didn’t get his last name, not because I was hiding something, I just didn’t ask before I went over to be intimidated by his dad.
My sister once said, “Larry, make up a last name, just to keep mom quiet. Go ahead and lie.”
Each last name after that was Lie-la, an Italian friend, Lie-o-so, and my favorite, a Polish guy, Lie-in-ski. My mother bought it; my sister laughed.
My point is: Understand age, acknowledge authority, respect your elders, and instill it in your family. I don’t want you to think I’m old and cranky or that I’m being difficult, but I guess I am. Then again, it’s being difficult in my own home.

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