When I was little, and cash for Slurpees was running low, my sister and I would run to my father and beg for an allowance. An allowance is when my dad would reach deep into his pockets, fish out a tissue, a rainbow array of credit cards and some loose change. First he’d try to pawn his old Kleenex off on us. We’d squeal and insist he behave. So he’d put on a solemn face and ask how much we’d like him to charge on his black card. When that failed, he’d break into his generous smile and tell us that if we were good we could have a quarter each. Gasp.
But then there were those times, when he had time to kill, that he’d get a kick out of making us earn it. There was this game he loved to make us play, and it’s my belief that he enjoyed it far more than we. But then again we were in dire need of blue and red sugar in a cup so we were more than okay with amusing him for pay.
So he’d sit there, in his favorite armchair, take off his glasses and close his eyes. We’d bring him one of his many books and he’d have to guess which one it was. He’d feel them, flip through the pages and…um, sniff them. If he got the title wrong, we’d get a dime but if he got it right, we were down 10 cents. You’d think after our exhausting efforts, we’d at least leave with a Slurpee at the end. Truth is, on a good day we left with about a dollar fifty in debts.
And all along I thought my father was, I’ll admit, kinda freaky. I mean, he had hundreds of these books. They all looked like they were made from the same paper, about the same size and I was roughly certain they all smelled the same. So, for lack of a better explanation, I had come to the conclusion that my father was…an alien.
Of three things I was absolutely certain.
First, my father was not human.
Second, there was a part of him- and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be- that would resort to cheating to keep our sugar addiction at bay.
And third, I needed expose his tricks so I could make my dollar and fifty cents back and be on my way to 7/11.
I never did make my money back that day, nor did I expose his odd gift, but ten years later, I’ve discovered something kind of important. And it’s called, my dad is human after all. Yay.
Of course, that fact is no where near as fun as it would be to have a father from a distant planet but, it’s also pretty reassuring at the same time. Not only is my dad an earthly creature, but it appears we have more in common than I thought. Okay, so I can’t sniff the title out of a book, true. Because I don’t read those books. I don’t learn them and I’m pretty sure I can’t read Hebrew. But tell me to close my eyes, put my ipod on shuffle and I’ll tell you the name of the song playing, the album its from and the remainder of the lyrics.
Sure it’s pretty useless and it probably means I need to get a life but, hey, here’s to potential. Here’s to knowing that if I ever really needed to close my eyes and tell you the name of a book, I probably could. Here’s to the idea that if any of us put forth half as much effort to the significant things in life as we do for cars and dresses we’d be halfway to sitting in a chair and keeping a few nine year olds from their Slurpee money.