A Good Chuckle

A Good Chuckle

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Watching Jaws - A Week At The Beach Series

"No! I'm not tired! I don't want to go to bed!"

Anybody with kids is familiar with this obstacle. After a long day in the sun on the beach, playing in the water and building sand castles (or trying to if you can call it that), and then a long night walking the boardwalk, eating ice cream, and watching the bizarre nonsense that happens at night on the board walk - musicians, dancers, and pirates blowing bubbles (yes, really) we get back to the house and the kids are exhausted.

They don't want to go to bed of course because they don't believe that they're tired! They think bedtime is some sort of tyrannical plan to put a cap on the fun they can have in a day and they are determined to maximize their fun always. 

"You're not tired buddy?" I ask my son. He's laying on the couch next to me, snuggled up with his blanket and sucking his thumb, his eyes staying shut a little longer than normal with every blink. 

Then his big sister weighs in on the situation. "I'm a little tired but I'm not ready for bedtime yet."

Just then the movie Jaws returns from commercial break. "Okay, you guys want to watch a scary movie with me?" 

My son sits up and is immediately interested, "Oooh, oooh, scary movie, scary movie!" He is a Goosebumps enthusiast.

"Well, what is it about?" My daughter is always careful to make sure that she is getting the absolute best deal available to her - and she doesn't like scary movies. She doesn't want to go to bed, so now she needs more details to weigh her options and make her decision. 

I explain the premise ("These men try to stop this shark from eating everybody") and my daughter agrees to hang out and watch - she isn't afraid of sharks (it's not like they have claws), she is afraid of crabs (because of their claws). The movie is most of the way through already and the three men are on the boat, shooting whatever that thing was that they shot to attach the barrels to Jaws. 

"Are those men pirates, Daddy?" My son asks.

"No!" my daughter responds quickly, "They can't be pirates because they don't have a pirate flag on that boat."

And then - Jaws wrecks the boat! The captain slides down the sinking ship right into the mouth of Jaws! At first it looks to me like Jaws has the man by his leg and having not seen this movie for quite some time I forgot whether or not Jaws eats this man.

This immediate action breaks up the suspense and my daughter is startled, "Ahhh! Is that man dead?" She covers her eyes. 

"I don't think he's dead Honey, it looks like the shark is just eating his leg for now." Just as I say that, a better camera angle shows that Jaws has this man by the waist, not the leg like I had thought. "Oh never mind Honey, yes, it's all over for that man."

The movie plays out to the end and I ask my kids whether or not they liked it (and whether or not they understood how sharks could be scary even without claws).

My son leads out, "I liked it except for when the shark ate that man who was almost a pirate."

My daughter agrees with him and adds, "I'm glad there weren't any crabs in it though," she says as she imitates a crab pinching the air.

Jaws 2 starts up on the screen. "Okay guys, time to brush your teeth and get ready for bed. You don't want to watch too many scary stories about sharks if you are going to the beach tomorrow!"

"It's just a story Daddy," my son reminds me.

Their immediate protest of bedtime coupled with the fact that they are on vacation too forces me to the bargaining table. "You guys go brush your teeth and get your jammies on, and then we'll see where we go from there."

So they oblige, we get them ready for bed and return to the living room where Jaws 2 has continued playing undisturbed. It is at the scene with two women on the water, one is driving a boat and the other is water-skiing behind said boat. All of a sudden the woman water-skiing disappears.

"Okay guys, you can hang out and watch the shark eat one more person, but then it is bed time, deal?" This deal works in my favor because they didn't notice the water-skiing woman getting pulled under the water like I did and I am expecting Jaws to make quick work of her so I can ship the youngsters to bed.

"Okay!" They both shout merrily, happy to be given another reprieve from bedtime. They scurry over to the couch where they were sitting for the first movie. But no trace of the water-skier. 

Jaws attacks the boat (surprise, surprise)! He sticks his snout out of the water trying to get his chomp on and the woman in the boat dumps what appears to be gasoline all over him and then BOOM! The whole thing explodes! The shark's face is on fire and the boat with the woman in it (complete with said woman) is charred up and destroyed.

"Okay guys, that's a wrap. Bed time," and I get up to lead them to their rooms. I was banking on the water-skier but settling for the driver.

My daughter speaks up quickly. "No Daddy, you said we can watch the shark eat one more person. He didn't eat that woman, she blowed up."

She got me on a technicality. So I sat back down. They both fell asleep on the couch shortly after.

Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Plant Fingers

Another beautiful day in the mountains of Pennsylvania so naturally I have my oldest two kids outside playing, my oldest daughter and my son. They are running through the wooded parts of the yard going on an imaginary adventure and looking for "roley-poley" bugs underneath rocks. They point all of their findings out to me - ant colonies under the rocks, butterflies fluttering around, caterpillars eating leaves.

All of a sudden my daughter comes completely unglued. She yells, huffs and puffs, and then runs straight over to where I am sitting on the front deck. "Daddy, daddy, some buggy was bothering me when I was picking these flowers!" She cries and she tosses a handful of ferns on the deck beside me. My two oldest always liked to pick plants and flowers.

"What kind of bug? Where is it?" I ask her.

She calms down immediately, takes a look back at the place in the woods she was just picking ferns at and shakes her head, as though she caught a chill and was shaking it out. "Actually Dad, I don't think it was a buggy now, I think it was the plants brushing against me."

"You're probably right, Sweety. But let me check anyway." I check her out, no bugs on her anywhere. I tell her so and she smiles. "You know Honey, plants are alive just like you and me."

"Plants are alive? For real?" She asks in amazement at this new concept.

"Yes, for real Sweety."

"Can they be my friends?" she asks me.

"They sure can! They might be boring friends, but they'll always be down to hang out with you," I tell her with a smile. My inner hippy is so proud of her for wanting to befriend the plants.

She smiles wide and giggles, then scoots back out into the woods to continue playing. A little time passes by, maybe a half an hour or so and the kids are still exploring the woods in front of our house. They walk across a "secret passage" and into a clearing dead center in front of my line of vision before they split ways and my son ducks back into the woods.

My daughter stays in the clearing in front of me, examining a particular plant she found interesting, a short but wide bush that is presently no taller than the waist of a normal sized adult. She reaches out and touches a leaf on the plant, and gently strokes it as though it were a pet cat. All of a sudden she plucks a leaf from the branch it was on!

As she plucks the leaf I squeal out, "Ouch!" in a cartoon sort of voice.

My daughter stands straight up and yells once, so loud that I consider calling the police on myself! Then she looks at the plant and yells, then the leaf and yells, and back to the plant again, panic really setting in, and then she looks at me and goes completely insane. She runs at me as fast as she possible can, which is not that fast at all (my daughter sort of flutters when she runs) "Waaaaaaah!" Inconsolable, she reaches me and jumps into my outstretched arms.

"Honey, Honey, calm down! It's okay!" I say to her.

"That plant said 'Ouch!' That plant said 'Ouch!'  IT'S ALIVE! WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

"That was me Sweety, the plant doesn't talk. I'm the one who said 'Ouch', relax."

Her face contorts in the most accusing look she can give me while still maintaining a tear flow consistent with the great waterfalls of our world. "Why would you do that?!"

At this I couldn't help but laugh. She looked so offended and upset - a consequence I had not considered when I pulled my little prank. "You plucked one of that plant's leaves. What if one of your friends came up to you and pulled one of your fingers off? Wouldn't it hurt?"

My point set in and she slowly came to a calmer state, her choppy and upset breathing winding down back to normal. She was really pondering this concept that I posed to her. "So leaves are fingers on plants?"

Unsure of the science behind the whole thing at this point, I reply slowly, "Kind of."

She screams right in my face. Like, I can smell her breath as she wails directly into my gaze, that is how close she is to me. This outburst caught me off guard and I shook, startled.

"Whoa whoa, what is wrong Honey?!"


Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods 

Got Fiction? Got Funny? Got Blog? Send all submissions to ManagerInTheWoods@gmail.com for publishing consideration.