I need to start watching the cycles of the moon because something was very weird in our house last week. Dave was in Philadelphia at his home office on business, so it was just me and the kids that day. The fact that he was not here was not weird as he travels on and off throughout the year. What was weird was the phone call that I received at work that morning at 9:15. When I saw the 215 area code coming in I knew it was him, but he NEVER calls from the office, so I was concerned. I picked up the phone to find him giggling on the other end (Now it's getting weird. He's no giggler.) He begins with a question - "Which one was it?" What did that mean? I pressed him to clarify. "OK, I guess you don't know anything about this. I think it's him." OK, I'll bite. " Tell me what it is, and I'll tell you who did it." The story went something like this:
Dave got to the office in Philly and got settled in. He started up his laptop and immediately upon signing in, a flood of instant messages from his coworkers started ringing in. They were oddly vague and they all seemed to be referring to the same thing, though he had no idea what. They said things like -
"Whoa I'd pay to see that!" and "Do you have that on video?" and "Why not just use wax?"
Needless to say, he was more than a little confused and somewhat concerned. So he replied to his friend Yuriy, who shared with Dave that his AIM status message said the following -
"I can't answer your message now, I'm busy shaving my toes."
After I stopped laughing and caught my breath, I informed Dave that it was clearly our nine year old daughter's handywork. Not only was this completely aligned with her offbeat sense of humor, it was a trick that she had been pulling on her brother recently, leaving away messages that embarrassed him to no end. The most recent one was " I'm in the bathroom taking a big poop." The embarrassment threshold of a teenager being what it is, suffice to say that this did not go over well. But wait. . .there's more.
Later that day I got back to my desk from a meeting at 3:45 and the red voicemail light on my phone was not lit. This meant that my son broke a cardinal rule of our house and did not check in when he got off the bus. Livid, I started dialing our house and then his cell phone, only to have it go to voicemail. Anger gave way to fear and my mind started racing around where he could be and why he did not call. At around 4:15 I got a call - "Oh, hey mom, I got your message. I'm at Jack's." "What are you doing at Jack's?" I inquired as he is not to leave the house after school without the express permission of Dave or I. Before I could utter a response, he told me that Kenny took him to Jacks and that I'd need to give Kenny 10 dollars as he borrowed it from Kenny to get Chinese food delivered. What?!
Apparently, Kenny had tried to call me but I was not at my desk, so he got Dave on his cell and got Joey permission to go to Jack's, then he drove him over. I instructed my son that Kenny was at our house to build a bathroom, not be his personal chef and escort service. He swore that he did not ask for the ride, Kenny offered. OK, but what about the Chinese food? Oh, yeah, that was "his bad" he admitted.
That's the way it is with my dear son, people just offer him things and whatever isn't offered is angled ever so subtly. When he was little and I would take him to the office, he would invariably walk out with an armload of toys and candy that people felt compelled to give him. We often refer to him as the mayor or counsellor (as in lawyer) because in our craziest parental fantasies, he uses his powers of persuasion for good. In more realistic moments we realize that he would probably make a better sports agent, and one probably more like Arliss than Jerry Maguire.