It’s been about a goat’s age since I wrote about any of my minor misadventures but, in my defense, I’ve been swamped with the shiny delights of the American Dream.
Between fighting with the hot rod, fighting with the kids, fighting with the dogs, dealing with my son’s confirmation and planning for both a major family get-together and my wife’s upcoming trip, I’ve had just enough time each night to down some butterscotch schnapps, cheap beer and raspberry Zingers before crying myself to sleep.
Oh, and did I mention I’ve just started a new diet?
OK, so I’m actually re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-starting the old diet.
I tend to go in spurts: stewed spinach and yogurt for three days, Busch Light and chili dogs the rest of the week.
Then there’s the Gohs-mobile.
I’m goin’ out of order here, so bear with me.
First, the damn driver’s side door freezes up on me.
Then, I finally get the old mufflers off so I can install the really loud Cherry Bombs, and karma strikes in the form of the transmission and gas tank simultaneously springing leaks.
Seriously, did I kick puppies in a former life?
By the way, my 17-year-old brother is now living with us so he can finish high school, which basically means I now have two angst-ridden, hormonally charged, unemployed testosterone machines eating my food and squatting in the rooms upstairs.
Could somebody please tell me how five people use 12 bath towels a day?
Let’s not forget that I endured my first-ever church service recently.
It went something like this: Rise; be seated; rise; be seated; rise and sing; be seated; rise; sing; rise; hut, hut, hike!
It was like doing squat-thrusts in football practice but without the coach screaming “You still want seconds on mashed potatoes Mrs. Gohs?!” at me between whistle blasts.
But back to the church service.
What is all the scurrying about?
The kids are sitting in the pew next to us, and then they’re gone.
Then they’re there.
Then gone again.
Sing: “What a friend we have in Jesus.”
No, stand up!
Then my daughter skulks by with a seven-foot brass torch straight out of Fahrenheit 451. For God’s sake would someone hide the books!?
Actually, the people at the wife’s church were very nice and, frankly, the only thing out of ordinary was me—there, divorce averted.
For lack of a better segue I’ll say I survived the ordeal just so I could face yet another speed bump on Gohs’ Uneasy Street: Prom night.
Luckily for me my daughter is still too young for school dances.
She’s 13 now, which means I’ve only got about 27 more years before she starts dating.
The boys are another story altogether. I got Wingus and Dingus all suited up for their big night.
Shower, deodorant and even a good combing. I didn’t mind playing chauffeur while the wife was down state seeing family, but since the hot rod was up on a jack, I had to take the work truck.
I did the cool thing and dropped them off down the street from the event—no use traumatizing them in front of their friends when dad rolls up in a 20-year-old banana yellow Ford.
Eleven o’clock rolled around and the wife—back from visiting—went with me to pick up the boys and a late dinner from Taco Bell. It was the usual good cop/bad cop routine:
The wife: “How was your night?”
Gohs: “Was anybody smoking the reefer? Look at me!”
The wife: “Who did you dance with?”
Gohs: “Did anyone spike the punch? Let me smell your breath!”
The wife: “You both look so handsome.”
Gohs: “I know you were doing something you weren’t supposed to be doing. And, if you tell me right now, I won’t beat you as much!”
And then, in a move which will forever go down as the granddaddy of all shut-you-ups, the boy yells, “We didn’t have sex!”
Ah, the stink of discomfort and awkward silence wafted in from the backseat and settled into the van with all the grace of a fat man falling off stilts.
I dropped my burrito to the floor, cranked the oldies station to the highest setting and whispered to myself: “What a friend we have in Jesus.”