Archive for the ‘Family Fables’ Category


Welcome back for another heaping of childhood trauma! Now where did I leave off last time? Oh that’s right. Something along the lines of…

“DDDAAAAMMMMMMMMMNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Give or take an exclamation point, of course.

My skateboard, my magnificently crafted utopia on four wheels, had careened into the infamous “Tunnel of Doom” like a pair of dentures into a mouth full of gingivitis! It was now trapped in the wild black yonder alone and scared.

Now, you could say that it was my fault for skating him in there with all the grace and poise of an inebriated rhino. Or that I never should have placed my rollable little friend in the runoff gutters in the first place. But we all know it was my little brother Brian “BD” Dickens fault. Not sure how exactly but it was. Probably had something to do with that helmet he was wearing. Thing could distract a pregnant woman while she was in labor.

“So…what’re we gonna do?!” excitedly asked BD the guilty little helmet wearer.

We’re gonna send your little butt in there after it!!” I very calmly replied.

“We are?!”

“Of course! I can’t fit in there!”

“Yea, but I don’t think I can either!

“Well you should’ve thought of that before I skated my board in there! Now get on your tiny knees and start crawling!”

Having been moved by my powerful words and perhaps a verbal threat or two, BD reluctantly removed his trusty yet ugly-ass skate helmet as he got to his knees. I think he might’ve mumbled something about “If I don’t make it, tell my mom I love her.” But I honestly wasn’t paying much attention. My skateboard was in trouble! And I wasn’t gonna let anything keep BD from getting it back for me! Not some scary tunnel with slime ridden walls, not plague carrying rats, not BD’s crippling claustrophobia, nothing!

After several minutes of cowardice, BD finally poked the upper half of his body into the terrifying tunnel.

“Do you see it?” I bravely asked from a safe distance.

“If I say yes, will you let me out of here?” asked the helmet-less BD.

“Of course, buddy!”

“Yea, it’s a little ways up. But I can’t quite reach…” I quickly grabbed BD’s little legs and started shoving him in like a pickle into a barrel.

“Grab it! Grab it!” I politely yelled at the top of my lungs.

“Ow…OWWW!!! Stop! STOPPP!!!” he exclaimed for some reason.

“Just hurry up and grab it already!”

“I can’t! it’s too far! Now pull me out! These rats are really mean!”

Realizing that my little brother was ironically too little to reach the object of my affection forced me to reassess the situation. I yanked,..I mean, gingerly pulled the little guy out of the sewer pipe and started working on another tactic while he inspected his rat bites.

“What if I grabbed you from the back and kinda threw you into…”

“I’ll tell Lindsey about that dream you had.” Said BD quickly.

“Alright, alright, fine! I won’t throw you. But what if we threw something else?”

So we quickly scrounged up some rocks and put plan “B” into place. It was fool-proof…in theory.  I’d throw rocks at the skateboard from the top end of the tunnel and try to knock the board out of the bottom end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, because the tunnel was so dark, I couldn’t see it  from the upper entrance. But the skateboard was visible from the bottom end. So BD was going to wait at the bottom and keep an eye on it. If I hit it, he’d let me know and I’d aim for that same area again. Like I said, the plan was fool-proof. Too bad we were idiots.

“Just shout out which direction I need to aim!” I yelled to my partner in buffoonery. “I probably won’t hit it the first time!”

“Ok.” Said idiot number 2.

I threw a rock into the tight, cylindered abyss like a pitcher on a tee-ball team. It hit nothing but wall. And maybe a rat or two.

“Aim it more center!” he yelled like a verbal conductor at a symphony.

I reared back and threw another rock into the rat highway.

“What’s the word?!” I asked. “Did I hit it, BD ?!” This time, I managed to avoid the walls and the rats and also the skateboard. “Hey BD did I…?!….BD? Um…” But, I did hit my little brother….hard.

When the little guy finally regained consciousness, we decided to move on to another plan.

“The rocks were a bad idea,” I professed like a world renown sage. “We’d  have to hit the board a million times to get it out of there. They’re just too small.”

BD and the softball size lump in his forehead stared at me with restrained malice as I spoke.

“Oh, and they hurt. But I’m guessing you’d know that better than me, ‘ey bud?.” I fearfully chuckled.

Plan “C” would’ve made Wile E. Coyote himself proud. Which should tell you something. We figured that if small and apparently painful objects were the problem before, we’d go the exact opposite direction. We thought a well placed basketball would surely knock the skateboard out of that constipated pipeline. So, I lined up my shot like a professional bowler with type II diabetes and let ‘er rip right into the pie hole of the tunnel. Amazingly, the ball actually made it almost half way into the tunnel before it got stuck.

“Hmmm. Honestly didn’t see that coming.” I remarked.

“Imagine that.” said BD with an ice pack draped over his forehead.

“Don’t worry, ice-face. I’ve got a little back-up plan.”

“You have a back-up plan and you want me not to worry?” inquired BD with full support.

I quickly scooped up all kinds of balls from our houses. Volleyballs, footballs, even tennis balls. Nothing was off-limits.

“Alright, so the first thing we gotta do is get the basketball unstuck.” I proudly pontificated. “Then we can use all the rest of the balls to get out the skateboard. It’s perfect!”

“Are you sure this is gonna work?” asked BD…again.

“You ask me that so often that it’s lost all meaning.”

And without any more pessimism or good sense from BD, I started chucking a couple of balls into the unforgiving black hole. To my genuine surprise, the basketball didn’t budge. So I threw in a few more. And it only seemed to get more stuck. I unfurled every piece of throw-able sporting equipment we had into that damn dark tube! And it didn’t care! Like an expectant mother at a buffet, what it took, it kept!

“Son-of-an ass-head!!” I casually remarked in passing. “We’re completely out of balls, ideas and time! My mom is gonna be home any minute, man! And when she sees what happened she’ll kill me! And that’s if she’s in a good mood!”

“Would your dad kill you?” wisely asked BD.

I pondered the little guy’s question as the clock to my demise ticked further down.

You see, my mom bought me the skateboard for my birthday after I begged her for it. It was expensive, dangerous and she hated doing it. But she did so because she wanted to shut me up. And it worked. My dad on the other hand, didn’t even know when my birthday was and couldn’t care less about some  skateboard I had.

“No BD, he wouldn’t!!”

Now it was time for plan “D” for “Dad.” BD and I quickly ran to our respective houses and grabbed our dads. We figured the two of them working together would be able to come up with a solution twice as fast. BD and I regaled them with our dumb-ass exploits at break neck speed and awaited their council. Without a word of debate or even acknowledgement, our dads casually gazed into the tunnel of doom and were as unimpressed at our crisis as they would be watching an infomercial starring George Foreman at 3:00 am.

Plan “D” was ingenious. It was inspired. It was basically just taking two big-ass 2 x 4’s and shoving them into one end of the tunnel until everything came vomiting out the other end Olsen Twin style.

Our dads never did say anything to our moms about the “Tunnel of Doom” incident. They never even got mad at us about what happened.  They made no threats and issued no warnings about what would happen if we ever did anything so stupid again. They never had to. Because everybody knows that a real tough guy speaks softly yet carries a big stick. And holy bacon wrapped blue jeans dipped in caramel sauce, sticks don’t come much bigger than giant, rat-proof, tunnel length 2 x 4’s!!!

The End…until next time


Tunnel of Doom

Posted: July 1, 2012 by baki3626 in Family Fables
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

When I was just a little tike, I would often times badger,…I mean, ask my parents for a little brother. And my parents would often times assure me that it wasn’t gonna happen. So I decided to turn to a higher power and ask Santa Claus for one. When he suggested I just settle for a football or candy bar, I figured I would bust out the biggest guns I knew. If my so-called parents and an out of work actor with clinical halitosis in a Santa suit couldn’t get me what I wanted, surely God could. I didn’t really understand all the mechanics of praying but I’d heard enough people in my family yell out God’s name as they asked for something crazy. So one day, I rode my busted little Huffy to the top of a hill, sat Indian style under a tree, folded my grimy little hands closed one of my eyes and asked the biggest of big guys for my own little brother. And believe it or not….NOTHING HAPPENED!! The wind didn’t move, the clouds didn’t start to whirl and the stork didn’t crash into my house!

We did however move from my hometown of Pennsylvania to North Carolina. And on the day that we moved in, the family that lived next door came over and introduced themselves to us. They called themselves “The Dickens” and were really nice people despite the fact that they talked kinda like cartoon characters. I was a seven-year old from Pennsylvania. I’d never heard a southern accent outside of Yosemite Sam or Baloo or some other random Disney animal. Any hoo, this funny sounding group of folks had a little boy of their own. And when I say little I’m talking Mario BEFORE he eats the mushroom, little. Guy was resting his chin on my knee and I barely stood at sea level. But despite his itty-bitty, little witty stature, I instantly liked him. His name was Brian(I called him BD for short) and before the end of the day we were closer than butt-cheeks. If I was Batman, he was Robin. If I was peanut-butter, he was jelly. And if I was the big brother, he was the little one. This tiny-tubby was the answer to the prayer I sloppily made on the hill a few years earlier.

Since I was the bigger brother, we both ASSUMED I was the smarter of the two. Which means any bonehead, dumb-ass, sure-to fail scheme or plan I concocted, BD followed like Sancho Panza on a quest with Don Quixote. One such “Windmill” adventure was when I thought it would be a high quality idea to ride our skateboards down the runoff gutters next to the street. They were kinda these long running half-pipe thingies that went down at a slope from BD’s house to mine. Oddly enough, our skateboards fit in them perfectly. The only hiccup was that at the end of this canal of fun resided a very long, tight and dark tunnel that ran under my driveway. Plus there were some rats that lived in the tunnel. But I was a professional skateboarder. I’d seen Tony Hawk on television at least three times and had all his moves down pact.

And if Tony could do it, I could. And if I could, BD could. Or he’d at least severely injure himself trying to try. Besides, that big, scary tunnel was all the way at the end of our kick-ass skate path. And the rats usually only bit girls. So what could possibly go wrong!?! Other than damn near everything.

As I clumsily positioned myself at the top of the canal, BD carefully put on his skate helmet and tried to figure out exactly what we were doing and why we were doing it. “Are you sure you saw Tony Hawk do this?” he asked.

I laughed at my little brother’s stupid innocence. “Have I ever NOT been sure of anything?!”

“That time at the pool when you dove in off the lifeguard tower and landed on….”

“Yeah, I know who I landed on, BD. I was there, remember? And she’s mostly fine now.” I then assured my little bro, who I now realize SHOULD have been the brains of our outfit, that his goofy looking skate helmet was cutting off the thinking to his brain and that this was gonna be more fun than anything else we’d ever done before…ever!

And without another sensible thought, I got a running start and blazed off down the canal. I easily made it 7 feet before I flew off the board like ribs from a grill during a cookout at a family reunion. But sweet lord of Haagen-Dazs extra chunky rocky road ice cream, was it fun!

“Can I try?!” asked my plucky young sidekick.

“You’re wearing that stupid-ass helmet, aren’t ya!?!?”

And like Jumping Jack Flash, BD took off down the canal like bacon grease on a hungry tongue! And he made it even further than I did before he flew one way and the board flew in every other way.

We indulged in our little sewer made carnival for another hour or so. And although it was even more fun than I had planned, we had yet to skate the entire length of the canal. We’d either fall off before we got to the end or REALLY fall off. So I decided that I was gonna make it to the end. No matter what, I was gonna do it. I was gonna skate right up to the very tip of the tunnel and then I’d zoom out of the canal at the last-minute before entering it. Just like Tony Hawk would do! And who’d know more about doing what Tony Hawk would do than me?!

“Hey BD?!” I yelled. “Stop bleeding for a sec and watch this!!” I took off down the skate canal with all the grace and skill of Jackie Chan in a bar room brawl! Me and the board were one. I was doing it! I was skating the canal like Blackbeard skated the high seas. I was making Tony Hawk proud! Nothing was going to go wrong! I had made it! I was all the way at the end of the skate canal and….and I couldn’t stop!! Not sure why this surprised me. I had no control of myself when I was going slow at the top of the hill and crashing. Now that I was at the bottom and actually had some real speed, I was in a whole new rainbow of screwed!!

“Jump!!” yelled BD. And for the first time, I decided to listen to him. Not hours ago like I should’ve! But now! I mustered every last striation of muscle tendon I had and ejected from my board. And by some random act of the cosmos, I made it off safely. Apparently God really does love babies and fools! As I got up and used my hands to carefully place my heart back in its chest, I realized that my trusty, kick-ass skateboard wasn’t around. I also remembered that my skateboard was very expensive and my mama told me not to lose, damage, scratch, or even hurt it. And that if I did lose, damage, scratch or hurt my skateboard she would do all the above to me….A LOT!

“Where’s the skateboard, BD?! You see it?!”

Brian slowly raised a single finger and pointed at the deep, dark, dingy, dank tunnel of doom. “There.” he said. “It’s in there.”

“DDDDAAAAAAMMMMMMMMNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I casually remarked.

To be continued…**CLICK HERE FOR PART 2**

Welcome to part two of “The Lawnmower Man: Old Man vs. Wild.” (Still not affiliated with that movie!) When we left off, my pops was marching to the insect infested “Ditch of Doom” like a senile Indiana Jones. Once he made his way to the ditch, the mower was lying right where I left it…I guess. To be honest, I had no idea since I was already repressing the entire day. The old man on the other hand, was assessing the damage with his trademark efficiency. “It’ll still run,” he said. “And it’s got plenty of gas left.” What the hell!?! Had this man not heard a word I screamed!? The mower ain’t the problem! The carnivorous insects are!


“No dad,” I said. “The mower is fine. But the bees…!”

“…Are a part of cutting grass. Nothing to worry about.” And just like that, my dad started hot-wiring the mower. Soon he would yank on the ripcord and the apocalypse would officially begin.

“Dad, I really REALLY don’t think you should do that. Let’s just drop a buncha napalm on them and  condemn the backyard for a few years.”

“Calm down,” he said as placed his delusional hand around the mower’s ripcord. “They’re more afraid of us than we are of them.”

DYK #3: Did you know that bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other insects capable of stinging human flesh are NOT more afraid of us than we are of them?

So, my pops casually yanked the ripcord on the Clydesdale. Within about 0.95 seconds, 468 insects from all walks of life with razor sharp stingers emerged from the ditch. Wait, did I say emerge? I meant exploded!! They swarmed my pops like L.A. Cops on Rodney King! There were so many flying monsters that I literally lost sight of my dad. But I could still hear him. And what I heard was the wailing of a banshee set to ultra soprano. The windows on my house were trembling from the pitch. And so were my neighbors windows. And so were the windows of my neighbors, neighbors!!


I had to do something. Sure this mustached dumb-ass had it coming to him but he was still my dad. And I was still his son. So I quickly looked for something, ANYTHING to fend the bite-size bastards off with. I ran into the garage and saw a bucket of fertilizer my dad had been using. Perfect! Insects hate fertilizer! I picked up said bucket and scrambled back into the grassy arena of death. My pops was still fighting courageously. Losing horribly but fighting none the less. “Don’t worry, dad!” I confidently yelled. “I got fertilizer!” I threw the entire bucket of fertilizer on my pops and his enemies.

DYK #4: Did you know that bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other insects capable of stinging human flesh do NOT hate fertilizer? Or maybe they do but just hate old guys that try to Wolverine their house with a military grade push-mower more.

Kill the old man!!

The fertilizer was completely useless. It only made them attack my dad more. In fact, I think it somehow helped them. Like it had stinger steroids in it or something. It wasn’t that helpful to my dad though. It turns out that when fertilizer is placed on sweaty, porous skin it can be very VERY itchy. Or at least that’s what I observed on that fateful day. So within no time, the old man was scratching himself uncontrollably like a professional crack-head while still being assaulted by an army of winged warriors as his son flailed about from the sidelines like a cheerleader on ecstasy at a rave. And between his cries, I mean battle-cries, of anguish, I’m fairly certain I heard the occasional “When I get my hands on you, boy..!!” Or “Not even your mother will be able to stop me from…!!” And my favorite “You’re never getting Christmas again!!”

As the war between the stinging and the stung continued to wage I got more and more desperate. I tried hitting the pointy insects with base and footballs. But those little critters are um… little! So, I’d end up pelting my pops in the chest or groin or face or groin or groin. Until finally my dad moaned the word “Hose!”

DYK #5: Did you know my dad and I never played charades or any other type of guessing game? Did you know that I suck at charades and any other type of guessing game.

I thought he was making his last request. So I started on my quest to grant him his final wish “Sure thing, dad! I’ll get you the nicest, prettiest, cleanest ladies I can…”  Then he said another word. “Water!” After what felt like eternity, for my dad, it dawned on me what he wanted.


Wait, what if I re-arrange the words…


That’s it, ya dumb ass! Grab the damn water hose! I ran around to the side of the house and unraveled the untold miles of coiled green rubber, picked up the sprayer-head-thingy, and ran for my dad’s dear life. “Don’t worry dad!” I said like Superman with my hands held at my waist and my imaginary cape blowing in the wind. “I’ll save you!” I aimed the sprayer-head-thingy right at the flying herd of insects and gave them my best 80’s action hero line. “Hope you’re thirsty!” Not sure which was worse: my banter or their buzzers. Actually, having just re-read what I said, I know which was worse.

I fired the hose. I fired it like a cannon blasting Evil Knivel after he got life insurance. I fired it like John McClane on the 67th floor of the Nakatomi building at a bunch of Europeans. And when I did, the bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other insects capable of stinging human flesh flew off my dad just long enough for him to safely run screaming into the garage.

That night as I watched my dad carefully tweeze out the countless stingers from his swollen flesh, I couldn’t help but wonder about next Saturday. Maybe I would get to ride Bucky. Maybe I should start calling myself “Super Sprayer” and get a cape. Or maybe, just maybe, the next time I tell my dad that there is swarm of blood-thirsty bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other insects capable of stinging human flesh he’ll do the efficient thing and listen to me!!

Me and My Pops

When I was young, I use to look at my relationship with my dad like Luke Skywalker’s relationship with Darth Vader. My pops was always traveling the galaxy because of work, he usually wore a lot of black, and when he talked to me it usually sounded like an asthmatic James Earl Jones. But as I got older, I realized that my old man was like Vader in other ways. Under his big, shiny, plastic helmet there lied a bald, pasty geriatric with prosthetic limbs and a real heart. Um… instead of breaking down this runaway metaphor any more, how bout I just tell you a little story that kinda sorta illustrates my point. I call it…”The Lawnmower Man.” (NOT to be affiliated in any way with that train wreck of a movie)

For my tenth birthday, my pops started letting me cut the grass with him. I have absolutely no memory of asking for that as a present but it’s the thought that counts…I guess.


And it was actually kinda cool. Every Saturday morning, I would go out after watching cartoons, attempt to make small talk with the old guy and then bond with Mother Nature through diesel fuel and motorized machetes. Having the sun cook my skin while sweat glued my t-shirt to my  pre-pubescent body made me feel like a man. A man’s man! Unfortunately, you don’t officially get your “man-license” until you’ve had a “right of passage.”

DYK #1: Did you know that my father is a master of efficiency? Man once stayed up to 3 in the morning studying road maps just to find a route that would save us 10 minutes on a trip to my aunt’s house in Atlanta. How do I know this? Because I was the little dumb-ass holding the road maps for him.


So in order to make our Saturday morning lawn care that much more efficient, I would cut all the grass in the backyard with a medieval push-mower while my pops cut the grass in the front on his riding mower named “Bucky.” I always wanted to ride Bucky. He was bright red, his grille made him look like he was smiling and it was much better than using a safety-free push mower on uneven, unstable soil. I literally had to wear work gloves when I held the thing to keep from getting tetanus. And I basically had to hot-wire it while yanking on the ripcord in order to get it started. Not to mention that this Clydesdale of cutting was built during WWII and was made out of the finest steel plated iron the U.S. of A had ever produced. Which meant it weighed twice as much as me. And I was a husky kid! But I digress. The point I’m trying to make is that the push-mower definitely ran things. And me. If he wanted to go left, we went left. If he wanted to take off and go blazing down a hill into a tree, that tree didn’t stand a chance. And if he wanted to go into a ditch that looked like something Gollum lived in, well then I would end up having my “right of passage.”

DYK #2: Did you know that bees, wasps, yellow jackets and any other insects with the ability to sting human flesh hate the vibration of a push-mower? Did you know that medieval push-mowers are very aware of this and like to piss off bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other insects with the ability to sting human flesh? I do….now!!

Hellacious Hive

The aforementioned ditch was situated right next to the back of my house. And it was in said ditch that the Juggernaut of hives lay. I believe it was originally attached to my house but got so big that it fell off. This mammoth hive was easily comprised of about 95% of the world’s species of insects. How do I know my math is correct? Because when my WWII push-mower careened into the ditch, every insect I ever saw in National Geographic attacked me! Luckily, I was a skittish little thing. The second the first bee started shaking it’s pointy ass at me, I let go of the mower and ran. I ran like Forrest Gump on a football field. I ran until I saw purple and tasted onions. And then…I ran some more.

Getting the Gump Out of There

When I finally stopped running, I decided to tell my pops about the war going on in our backyard between the tetanus tank and the Wu-Tang Killer Bees. This greatly troubled my dear father. Not because his son had third degree bee stings or because I had managed to wet myself multiple times. No, no, this troubled him because it was inefficient. The time I spent preserving my life was time not spent cutting grass. So my pops stroked his mustache, hopped off Bucky and boldly strutted to the backyard like Don Cornelius into Studio 54. I tried to warn the fool! I said,”Fool,” I mean, “Dad, it’s not worth it! The bees own the mower now! Tomorrow they’ll own the house! Let’s just ride Bucky off into the sunset and see where we end up!” But the old man wasn’t haven’t it. That grass was getting cut, damn it, and not even God Himself could stop him! But what about bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other insects that enjoy stinging human flesh?

Please come back next week for part two of this recently un-repressed memory of mine entitled “Old Man vs. Wild.”

Killer Bees on the Swarm