Dinner, Hulk, and Prayer (written on 2/26/02)

It was the year 1979, I’m guessing. I was around 5. Another guess. Everything that my older brother did, I did. I was at the dinner table, refusing to finish my dinner. (Apparently, I showed some independence from my brother by refusing to finish my food, because he always tore it up.) My Mom and Dad were in the living room. My plan for getting the doog to eat my dinner was foiled because my Dad was aware of what I was thinking. (That wasn’t a typo. The dog was named the doog later in life. At the time, her name was Dusty. I think now that it was because she was the color of khaki pants. My brother actually told me a couple days ago that our mom named her Dustina (because she’s a girl) Garbage (pronounced gar-baaah-sh) Brookside ( the name of our neighborhood) Bones (?) This is one of my many clue-ins for some unanswered questions in my life…) When I heard my Dad tell the doog to lie down, I knew that my plan was foiled. My Dad was going off on the tv yelling about the news, etc. My brother came into the kitchen really excited, saying “Come on Rog…I have this awesome thing set up with the men in the hallway. But you have to finish your food before you can…” Then my Mom or Dad told him not to distract me. (We always called our action figures men. Later in life, we would take them apart and make them into new men, by using different arms, legs, etc. We found a headless want to be He-Man figure. My brother glued the Star Wars guy, Grieko’s head, on the headless figure. My brother named him Strong Man and he made a file card for him like they did for G.I.Joe. He wrote at the bottom, Strong Man is very strong but he’s known to be very shy. ) So my brother and the doog were out of the picture and I couldn’t get myself to eat. My Mom came into the kitchen and gave me the talk. “Roger, if you don’t eat your food, the men with the barrels can’t go home. They’ve been working all day. The man working the potato barrel has already clocked out and gone home to be with his wife and kids. These other men in charge of the meat and vegetable barrels are tired and they want to go home. They are hollering up to you, “Please send more food down. We need the barrels filled!” So you need to finish your food so they can go home. Eventually my Mom or Dad released me from the table, I don’t remember exactly how. So after seeing the set up that my brother had with the men, which was amazing, The Incredible Hulk was on and we were locked in, if you know what I mean. Our Mom informed us that it was ice cream time. Somehow I got away with getting ice cream even though I didn’t finish dinner. The freezer was always overloaded with ice cream. I was a chocolate kid and my brother played all of the bases. So we were watching The Hulk and totally absorbed. The only thing that distracted us, was our ice cream. My brother yelled out, “Milkshake!” over and over. We began violently whipping our ice cream until it was like a milkshake. Then my Mom said, “Ok Rog, it’s time for bed.” My Dad said, “Ready Freddy?” Then I would be on my Dad’s back, piggy back style, being carried down the hall to my bedroom where an hour or two before, I was being instructed by my brother the right type of voice for each action figure. He would say, “Come on, look at his face. He would never talk like that!” Then it was prayer time, which was very intense. I would pray first, then my brother, then my Mom, Dad, yada, yada, yada. My prayer was the same every night. Dear Jesus, thank you for Mom, Dad, Scott, Uncle Dave, Uncle Dick, Aunt Barbara, Aunt Susanae, and oh yeah, Dusty. And Jesus amen, is how I’d say it. Over the years, I started thanking God for “the day.” My Mom would scratch my back for the whole ordeal. By the time my Mom was praying, she would be getting really heated up telling God about all of these issues, and the scratching would be getting to be really something. My Dad said every now and then, “Ok, let’s wrap this up, honey.” Then it was my Dad’s turn and he would get really discouraged from how my Mom was praying, and he would start asking God to help him deal with that. So my Mom would be put off by the way that my Dad was praying, and let’s not even talk about the scratching on my now very tattooed back. See you in church. I’ll be making a milkshake out of my soy ice cream and desperately trying to pay attention….End

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