Friday, April 6, 2018

How the F*ck Did They Do That?

Today I was walking out of a building at work and happened to glance up.  What I saw brought an immediate smile to my face.  There on the ceiling, 12 feet up, right next to the light fixture was a piece of chewed gum stuck to the ceiling.   I understand that your average person would not react with a smile.  In fact I believe a normal reaction would most likely be disgust because....well, ewww.  Chewed gum.  Or probably irritation at how nasty people can be; but for me it brought out a happy memory.

Many years ago- and I do mean MANY- when my two children were about three and five years old, we lived in an apartment with 9 foot ceilings.  This particular night was the same as many and it was bedtime.  I am proud to say that bedtime with my little guys was never an issue.  Visitors were often impressed with how easily my kids would go to bed.  The trick, by the way, was quite simple.

First: Always, and I mean ALWAYS, give them a 15 to 20 minute warning.  Never, ever, interrupt a toddler and/or kindergarten aged kid mid-play and tell them the devastating bedtime news.  Guaranteed melt down right there. You do not know what highly vital activity they might be in the midst of that you have just abruptly ended.

Second: If possible, never vary.  Bedtime is bedtime is bedtime. Give in to the whining just once and you have opened the door for future negotiation attempts and temper tantrums.

This night as I was putting the boys to bed, I glance upward and -much like today at the library- see stuck to the ceiling, not gum, but several gummy worms.  That's right, I said it; gummy worms.  Stuck to a nine foot ceiling.  By two little people that can't possibly top three feet.  I remember just standing there, head cocked to the side puzzling.  How the f*ck??  I left the room without saying anything because frankly, I just wanted my little turds to go to sleep and tomorrow is another day.  I confess, I was also feeling a just little bit impressed.

Later that night, my friend John was visiting.  This guy could make me laugh like no one else I knew.  I was getting divorced at that time so he would just show up and sit and chat and make me laugh.  No pressure.  No serious talk.  He was just there.  So there we were sitting on the couch watching TV, chatting, when I tell him about the gummy worms on the ceiling.  I confess to him I just can't figure out how they managed this trick.

John, being John, grabs the bag of gummy worms and with a "well let's see," flings a gummy worm upward as hard as he can. It bounces back and smacks me on the head.  Okay.  That didn't work.  I'm laughing and brushing sugar out of my hair.  We decide, perhaps you need to streeeeetch them to get the sugar off.... bounce. Bonk . Nope.  Wait!  What if we lick them? Bounce.  Slobbery bonk. Nope.  How about dipping them in water?  Nope. In short time the living room has a good scattering of gummy worms in a variety of disgusting conditions, we are laughing like idiots, and still not a single worm has stuck to the ceiling.

At this point I have to go back to the kids' room and check the floor.  Nope.  Not covered in gummy worms.  Check the ceiling. Yup.  Still has four or five worms well and truly plastered up there.  Of course, they could have been eating the failed attempts, but there really are only just so many worms in a bag, right?  So how..... hmmm.....

Ok.  I'm determined.  If two tiny goblins who can't even ride a bike or do basic math can stick a damn candy worm to the ceiling, then I sure as hell can too!  I'm a friggin' adult who is at least two and half feet closer to the ceiling than they are, plus I can drive a damn car! I am sticking a worm to that ceiling if it kills me.  Back out to the living room where John and I are now collecting up our previous attempts to make another go round.

To make a long story almost as short as the jerks who started the whole thing-  Two HOURS later we figured it out.  You have to suck on the gummy worm and get it... well, gummy.  One good fling and that worm is stuck like nobody's business.  So much satisfaction!  After the fifth worm I felt confident we had figured it out.  Of course, once the mystery was solved, I was left with a new one.  How the hell am I supposed to get those down now? 

But that's a story for another day. For today, I'm just glad to have a memory I can smile at of two curious and creative little guys.  I wish every child could have a childhood that allows for those kinds of hijinks.

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