It chills me to the bone to think the fate of the free world often rests in the hands of men. No disrespect to our servicemen; my daddy served three tours in Vietnam and my older brother served in the first Gulf Disaster…uh…I mean war. But based on the behavior of the men living in my home, I shudder just a bit.
Picture if you will, a “Saving Private Ryan” sort of tableau: it’s gray and misty and our brave boys are about to storm Fallujah to bring democracy and toys made in China to the godless infidels. As they prepare their offensive, the sergeant comes up to the CO and says “Sir, where is the ammunition?” The ammunition is in a clearly labeled box in plain sight, but the two men waste fifteen minutes searching for it. Finally, the lone woman in the unit walks up and leads them to the box. Meanwhile, the enemy was preparing to pick up and relocate to Pakistan, only they couldn’t find it and no one would stop and ask for directions!
Fast forward to my life. Last week, my son could not find the mouthpiece for his horn. The last place it had been seen was on the dining room table, which is, of course, where all musicians keep their mouthpieces. I apprised him of this and he told me he had taken it up to his room.
“Then it should still be there,” I told him.
“Well, it’s not,” he huffed. “Someone took it.”
Oh lord, it’s the grassy knoll….someone waited on it, until he was out of sight, and then snatched his mouthpiece! Because there is a high demand on the black market for horn mouthpieces!
He stomped around the house for about two hours, looking for the thing. He would periodically stop on his way through the family room and gaze at the football game, eyes blank, a line of spittle snaking its way out of his slack mouth. Then I would bark at him to find his mouthpiece and he would snap awake, and scurry away.
The whole time he was searching, I sat and watched him. He whined. He moaned. He blamed aliens for coming down and taking it. More amusing to me, he blamed the babies. A few nights before, a couple of friends had visited with their toddlers. Everyone knows toddlers are like crows and they can’t resist shiny things. Surely one of the toddlers had pocketed the mouthpiece.
When he shared this theory with me, something within me snapped. “SON,” I stated rather forcefully, “if the thing was on your desk, THEY COULDN’T REACH IT!!!!”
He looked at me sullenly and said “so what, I still bet one of those babies has it.”
It’s not a right wing conspiracy at all; it’s those BABIES!! I thought I had fallen into an episode of “Rugrats” and he was channeling Angelica.
After two hours, I couldn’t take it anymore. He was on the verge of tears. I mentioned the possibility of borrowing another mouthpiece from the band teacher and he said he would get in trouble. I mentioned the possibility of sending him to military school and he glared at me. Finally, reluctantly, I got up to help.
As we ascended the stairs, I looked at him and said “If I find this thing, you are in SO MUCH TROUBLE!!!” I walked into his reptile scented room (does Glade have a plug-in with that scent??) and walked to the desk. It’s not really a desk; it is a long countertop we got at Lowe’s for cheap. He has covered it with an array of memorabilia, ranging from baseball cards to holy cards to alligator skulls.
When I tell you I literally walked up to the desk, scanned for five seconds, and located the mouthpiece, I am not exaggerating. It sat there in plain sight, between a picture of the Pope and one of Greg Maddox. I thought for a moment I would actually swoon, so intense was the rage I experienced. I plucked it from the clutter and held it up for him to see.
He smirked, but I could see the panic in his eyes; he sensed death was near. “Wha….where….was it on the desk????” he stammered.
I handed it to him oh so lovingly and quietly said “I DO NOT WANT TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!” And I left the room.
So after that little episode, you would think he would know better than to bother me, but a few days later, I was driving to soccer practice and the phone rings. “Mom,” he chirps, “Dad can’t find his boy scout scarf; do you know where it is?”
“Tell him it’s probably behind the cheese,” I snapped and hung up. Honestly, it’s a wonder either one of them manages to get through an entire day. My husband operates on animals for heaven’s sake! I’m waiting for the day he calls me and says “honey, I can’t find the left ovary in this pit bull, do you know where it is?”
Last night, his daddy asked him to get a coke out of the refrigerator. I just rolled my eyes and waited; there was one left and I knew my son wouldn’t be able to find it. Sure enough, he came back to the table empty handed. “I couldn’t find one,” he said. I didn’t say a word because I knew it wouldn’t be a nice word. But thirty minutes later, I walked over to the refrigerator and pulled it out. The only reason I didn’t do it earlier was because I was saving it for myself!
So I live in fear, knowing the day will come when he leaves home and goes off into the great big world. I only hope he can find it!!