The Wife handed me a nice, big chunk of my ass again today.
Yes, again. I have a bad habit of forgetting what the rugrats should and shouldn’t be watching, and I have yet to live down a two-week streak of nightmares the Midget had when he was two. Nightmares caused by a viewing of the climax of Aliens. My thinking at the time was something like “It’s edited for TV, how bad can it be?” My defense was “But he said he wasn’t scared! He wanted to watch it!”
My first lesson in Fatherhood. Well, among the first.
See, the Wife and I had two very different upbringings. I was a kid when John Carpenter’s The Thing hit an old cable network called ONTV, and my old man recorded it. By the time I was a teenager, we had literally worn that tape out, as well as another with recordings of First Blood and Robocop. Conan the Barbarian? No problem. Aliens? I could quote it on command. By the time Predator came out, we just had to see it in the theater.
The Wife’s family, meanwhile, stuck to Disney flicks. The Wife was weaned on a steady diet of musicals, Shirley Temple, and The Wizard of Oz. The closest she came to any kind of violence was Doctor Who (when it still ran on PBS Channel 11 out of Chicago) and James Bond flicks. James Bond is nothing to sneeze at, but he doesn’t hold a candle to An American Werewolf in London.
As such we’re operating on two different gages of appropriateness. Hers is set to Metric, mine Imperial. Hers is well maintained, always oiled, and calibrated regularly. Mine’s rusting, jams, and has a tolerance of a yard, give or take a cubit.
And the moment the Midget started quoting Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, my gage got thrown out in the street. I was pretty good about referencing hers for a while, too, but somehow it made its sorry way back into the house. I felt bad and made it a sandwich rather than telling it to stay out there where it belonged. Then we shared a couple beers and reminisced about the good ol’ days.
Which leads me, at last, to the ass-whoopin’.
The Midget got on the subject of kidneys. The Wife explained their form and function, and of course the word “pee” entered the conversation.
“Some people have thorny bugs with big, sharp teeth living in their pee!” the Midget informed his mother.
Oh shit, thought I. I’m toast. Because yes, I knew exactly where this was coming from.
“Why do you say that?” the Wife asked, already shooting a glare in my direction.
“I saw it on TV! The guy was peeing in the river, and the bugs climbed up his pee and into his kidneys!”
“Yeah,” the Squirt chimed in. “And they said ‘I don’t want to see your ass!’”
“And what exactly were they watching, Daddy?” She rose from the couch like the Kraken from the sea.
“Metalocalypse!” the Midget supplied.
“What?” I asked, feigning innocence. “Haven’t you ever heard the stories about the parasites in the Amazon? Murderface was peeing in the river, and the parasites climbed into his kidneys! It’s a survival lesson!”
“Yeah, and he was naked!” the Midget said.
“Ix-nay on the Etalocalypse-may.” I shot a nudge into his ribs.
“And then their jaws melted off!” the Squirt added.
It was completely unrelated. See, these Amazon warriors blew some kind of hallucinogenic dust into the characters’ faces, and they started seeing some crazy-violent stuff, right? A continuation of the life lesson, to be sure. When you go into the Amazon, you best back some heat, Son! But the Wife took a step in my direction, so I bolted for the door.
Her nostrils flared. Furniture flew through the air. Fire rained down from the heavens. The children plead for her to spare Daddy’s life. But the little Roman emperor in her head said “Thumbs down, Byotch!”
Thus began the ass-handing.
Good thing they didn’t tell her about The Venture Brothers…
About Mike Oliveri
Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. His Bram Stoker Award-winning first novel, Deadliest of the Species, was just reprinted by Evileye Books.