|Banks County Opinions...||
JUNE 19, 2002
By: Angela Gary
A new culinary experience
My column is late. But I have an excuse. Ive just finished driving over 3,400 miles to the coast of Maine and back with my wife and three small children in a tiny camper. Thats my excuse for missing my column deadline I dont have any brain cells left.
Its not the distance or the destination that did me in. Instead, its the fact that I used up all of my threatening clichés in a futile effort to convince my children that their continued fussing and bickering was ruining any chance they had for a continued existence on this planet. In response, my kids totally ignored every implied and explicit threat hurled in their direction.
The worst part of the whole thing is the fact that we didnt see it coming. And thats because my wife and I were completely out of our minds when we conceived this trip in the first place. Is it any wonder that we would fail to recognize the inherent danger of traveling without an adequate supply of effective Car Behavior Warnings?
Thats not to say that we didnt put any thought into our little adventure. We planned extensively, we just never spent any time thinking about the challenges of taking a long trip in extremely tight quarters with three kids who have enough bottled-up energy to avert the next oil crisis.
In our own defense, all we had to go on was the average amount of cliché usage expended on our normal trips around home. Even under the most egregious of circumstances, there were always enough meaty clichés to scare the peedoodle out of the girls when they were misbehaving. We never even carried around any spares.
But lets face it, folks, when you leave on a 3,400 mile trip with your kids, you can chuck all the parenting magazines out the window. No matter how clever you try to be, its a death sentence that starts with the fraying of the nerve endings and works its way all the way up to blunt trauma of the cerebral cortex. By the time we got to Virginia, my wife and I were both flatliners.
On a trip to the northernmost reaches of the country, you need at least a years supply of time-honored oaths and affirmations. You gotta have clichés that mean businessthe kind of stuff used during the Spanish Inquisition comes to mind.
As it turned out, we werent even to the county line before we lost control of the situation. In the middle of a three-way quarrel over a bag of Cheetoes, we panicked and went through everything we had in thirty seconds. After that, the kids had the upper hand.
We tried to recycle what we could, but they werent buying it. In desperation, I even bundled together a colorful collection of my best clichés and I launched them like a ballistic missile toward the backseat. There was enough heat blowing off my vocal cords to singe their eyebrows, but the entire verbal projectile just bounced off their helmet-like heads and fell to the ground.
I not only used up all my clichés, but my wifes, my parents, and even a few clichés I borrowed from truck drivers along the route. More than once, I fully expected someone to find our dried up little carcasses somewhere along I-95. And when they did, I figured the kids would still be trying to poke each others eyes out in the backseat.
So maybe now you can understand why I missed my deadline and how hard it is to concentrate. And before you say anything else, I dont particularly care what all the other writers do. If I have to stop this column and get out, youre going to be sorry. Just try me and see what happens.
I mean it this time.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.
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