Tuesday, January 02, 2007


My dad normally had a great sense of humor and was often the life of any party. He was quick witted with a pun or an old joke that fit most situations. He also liked to flirt and show off in front of any lady. However this often caused him great pain. Once he jumped upon a 55-gallon drum and began to circus walk it across the backyard where our family was being entertained at a neighbor’s outdoor cookout. When the drum got away from him and started down a steep incline, he fell back across the barrel and obviously, to everyone, hurt himself. However, like Pee Wee Herman, he hopped up and pretended that he had meant to do that!

Dad was also a strict disciplinarian, especially when he was enjoying himself and did not want to be interrupted. Once he was playing cards with some friends and my brother and I were playing with a cork gun in the kitchen floor near the table where they were playing.

Dad was joking, teasing the other team members, and showing off a paddle he had fashioned at work from a heavy-duty piece of flexible rubber baseboard. He had even cut crisscrossed tire tread like groves in it for “blistering power”! Just to illustrate the point, he slapped it against his palm a time or two and passed it around for the others to see.

Naturally, Wade and I wanted to feel it too, but we told to “go ahead and play or I’ll give you a taste of it right now” and winked at the others.

Wade and I forgot about the paddle and continued to pop the cork around the kitchen at each other when a ricochet got away from us and whizzed across the table nearly hitting one of the visiting players. Dad barked at us to “put that gun down and don’t shoot the thing again!”

We were naturally pissed at that order and sulked up in opposite corners of the kitchen floor with our lower lips hanging out as a sign of our disapproval. We soon began to toss the cork at each other and then the idea hit me. I would through the cork against dad’s leg and Wade would pop the empty gun as if he had actually shot it. Wow, what a brilliant idea – dad could not whip us because we did not actually shoot it, and we got to hit him back free! Right?

I whispered the plan to my brother and crawled back to my corner. Wade cocked the popgun and pointed at dad’s leg and I took careful aim. I mouthed 1, 2, 3, and threw the cork just as Wade popped the gun!

We did not understand why dad did not get the joke! He jumped up and broke in the new paddle with two licks on both our butts, and MAN did that thing hurt. Just the lightest touch actually stung for minutes. We ran sniffling to our room and rubbed our sore spots until the pain was gone.

That was the first time I ever remember thinking the phrase “he just can’t take a joke!” I looked at my brother and we suddenly broke out in laughter. We quickly covered our mouths, in fear dad would think we did not get enough of the paddle or that we were mocking him. We lay there for a long time smothering our laughter and grinning out each other for the joke we just played on dad. Hey, it was not our fault he did not get it!

It was not the first time dad did not get one of our “inside” jokes and it would not be the last.


Anonymous said...

Hm, yer posts always bring back memories. I threw a little plastic rhinoceros, actually a pretty hefty little object (solid plastic, not hollow) at dad one day when I was about 8. Sorta giggled and hid behind a couch after doin' it, and was totally confused when he didn't take it as the playful joke it was intended to be. I got a few open palms to the rear and was sent up to my room sobbing. If I'd have known a few good expletives at the time I'd have used em, but not within earshot of the old man. No sense of humor that day.

EC said...

Great story!! You know I love them all - that was just too cute!

Anonymous said...

I tagged you stop by and check it out.

Anonymous said...

Love that shot of your Dad leanin' on the "family-rod"! And that hat, cocked-off to one side, that's the "attitude-trademark" of the day! The farther you could cock-it, the better! Was the "original" statement of attitude, and one hell of a lot more sophisticated than today's "back-asswards ball cap" thing!

Anonymous said...

Bet you wish you still had that Ford, don't ya'? Tough as a tank, and dependable! Probably why your Dad fits right on it! Attitude, boys, Attitude!!!

jan said...

I did a double take when i saw the picture of your dad. looks so much like picture I have of my own dad, same car, same stance, same attitude.

Becky said...

Yeah, my parents never really got our "inside jokes" either:)

phlegmfatale said...

This cork-gun story is fantastic - your dad sounds like a fun and wonderful man. :) We need more folks in the world with such a sense of playfulness.