Monday, February 11, 2008

When I was growing up, I knew my parents were weirdos. They had both immigrated to the U.S. in their 20s, so they were a little different than most of my friends' all-American parents. My dad, for example, knew nothing about sports and my mother persisted in referring to popcorn as "cornpop". See? Weirdos.

It was only after I became an adult and reflected upon my childhood that I realized how very normal and stable it was. My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and they still live in the same house that I was raised in. They had 2 kids, we lived in the suburbs, and my mom was a stay-at-home-mom. Really, in hindsight, we were normalcy incarnate.

I feel even more strongly about this when my friends tell me about their crazy families. Today, for example, I heard one of the craziest stories.

About a year ago my buddy Scott's father-in-law became ill with a terminal disease. Scott's wife flew out to Idaho a few times but at one point her father requested Scott's presence as well. He had a special "project" that he only entrusted Scott with.

When Scott arrived, his father-in-law led him to a large locked garage, told him to wait outside, and then disappeared into the building. He emerged an hour later, and told Scott to follow closely behind him. The garage, which was probably about 5000 sq feet, was filled floor to ceiling with boxes containing all kinds of junk. Scott followed the man through the maze, up a ladder, and into an equally cluttered attic. It was there that he showed Scott his arsenal of weapons and stock of ammunition. Now that he was nearing death, he was prepared to part with some of his weaponry and needed help cataloging and selling it.

What had he been doing for the hour while Scott stood outside in the cold? He had been carefully disarming the various booby-traps that were scattered throughout his locked storage space. Trip-wires, shotguns, etc. The man was paranoid about securing his belongings.

Well, Scott's father-in-law died this weekend without ever really getting around to clearing out any of his storage space. So, Scott flew out yesterday charged with the task of disarming the various booby-traps on the property.

As it turns out, the man was pretty good at setting these traps. Today Scott accidentally set one off and gassed himself with teargas.

Teargas. Jesus. I am so happy I got the cornpop parents and not the teargas ones. Thanks, mom and dad!


Lola said...

Great story. If it weren't for blogs, these things just wouldn't get written down. The world is a more interesting place because of such tales.

Siôn said...

Tear Gas is pretty bad, but it could've been worse. Imagine if a giant rock had started rolling down from above chasing him out of the garage forcing him to traverse various poison dart-based traps and pitfalls.
(Which reminds me - the new Indiana Jones trailer is released on Thursday)

newnorth said...

lol, cornpop sounds cooler anyway.

Mike said...

Lola, I think the "interesting" credit here goes entirely to Scott's father-in-law. It's one thing to type down a story, but that's nothing compared to the will required to actually create Looney Tunes style booby traps on your own property.

Siôn, Scott isn't done clearing the traps. He may yet find that giant boulder.

Newnorth, tastier too.

Avery Gray said...

Tear gas? Dear Lord! Did Scott's in-laws live in a compound-like establishment and hire armed mercenaries to guard the gates? Sounds like he was as loony as a DuPont heir.

Mike said...

Avery, I believe it was compound-like, but no mercenaries were required. They were locked down pretty tight.

Meg S. said...

Oh my. I don't have much to say about the tear gas,except that good think it wasn't used I guess.

I always liked your folks, cornpop and all. Never once thought of them as anything but 100% normal and always very cool.


Meg S. said...

good "think"? Oh dear gods, I need to get back to grading papers. The third graders have infected my mind.

Glad to hear your folks are doing well.

Mike said...

Meg, I don't think my parents are "cool", but definitely normal.