My kids woke up the other day in “a mood”, by which I mean they were hyperactive beyond description. My youngest son is five and still has occasional issues dressing himself, so in order to ensure that we get out the door before the current presidential administration leaves office, I help him get dressed. But when he’s in “a mood”, it’s like trying to dress a hummingbird on fucking speed. Flit! Flit! Flit! He’s all over the room, and the only way that I can get him to settle down is to offer him sugar-water from a plastic red flower.
But on this particular morning, even that didn’t work. I knew I was in trouble when he pointed to his junk, shouted “Jello right here! Jello right here!” and then fled the room with his hands on his head, mock-screaming. His brother, having some dressing issues of his own, promptly fell to the floor, racked by giggles. And of course this was the entire point: My five year old is a burgeoning comedian. (I know that you’re probably thinking, “Gee, I wonder where he gets that from?” but his sense of humor isn’t anything like mine. It’s way more mature. Poop. Booger.)
Approximately 6 hours later, after numerous pratfalls, butt references, and toilet jokes, I finally got the children dressed, loaded them into the car and left for school. This is when my boys decided to mess with my general sense of reality by speaking completely in gibberish. This is an actual snippet of conversation they had:
Five Year Old: Who is fat, has a mustache, and is in jail?
Seven Year Old: El Macho?
Now, I spent the better part of my twenties treating my body like a DEA evidence locker: If there was even the slightest chance that something contained drugs, in it went. So I go through my days aware of the fact that at any given time I might be on the very edge of a flashback of titanic proportions, and let me tell you something: Surreal gibberish like this does nothing to enhance my tenuous grasp of reality. El Macho? What the fucking fuck?
At least when I get weird with my kids I know that it’s a gag, and don’t have to worry that a large portion of my brain just condemned itself, leaving me with the IQ of a hammock. For instance, when my daughter was very young, she decided that she didn’t like her name and began coming up with new names for herself.
Me: Listen, until you’re an adult, I determine what your name is. If you don’t like your current name we’ll call you… Oh, I don’t know… Motor Oil.
Me: That’s right. Now, Motor Oil, do daddy a favor and pass me the potatoes.
Daughter: DON’T CALL ME MOTOR OIL!
Me: Ok, shall we go back to your real name?
That conversation may be a few psychotropic meds short of a Lohan family reunion, but at least I was involved in it. I know the context, I know who said what, and most importantly I know that I didn’t hallucinate it. But when my boys start referencing a mysterious El Macho, who apparently whiles away his time behind bars growing facial hair and eating the food of other, less manly prisoners, I start seriously questioning whether or not I should pull a Vanilla Sky and start running around yelling “Tech support! Tech support!” (Although this seems like a good idea in theory, experience has shown me that while tech support invariably fails to appear, large men dressed in white carrying butterfly nets do, and they’re not much fun unless you’re into being forcibly injected with incapacitating drugs while orderlies take turns putting you in a full nelson and punching you in the kidneys.)
So instead of wigging out, I’ll tentatively interact with my sons to see if I can determine whether I’ve finally lost my mind, or if they’re just acting like Gary Busey to fuck with me.
Me: Hey, guys?
Me: Who can tell me what four plus three is?
Five Year Old: It’s poopie-two hundred and poopteen! HAHAHAHAHA!!!
Seven Year Old: HAHAHAHA!!! Poop! Poop! Poop! (fart noises) HAHAHAHA!!!
Five Year Old: HAHAHAHA!!! (fart noises) Poo plus poo equals POO-POO! HAHAHAHAHA!!!
Seven Year Old: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! POO-POO! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Thus assured that my sons are acting normally, I can begin my day. This is how Mondays start for me. Not even a DEA drug locker can prepare you for it.