Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rot The Casbah


Know that moment when you’re sat at your desk, wrestling with an unruly colonic vexatronic of punctuation, and everything wooden in a ten foot radius sprouts mushrooms, groans, and rots? When your monitor vapourizes like some laser-blasted asteroid, along with your skin, your hair? When your nostrils turn to dust, and unsightly mandibles of solid bone erupt from the sides of your cheeks to smother in a trice the exposed blowholes?

Of course you don’t.

For you, lucky reader, do not have to smell my son’s breath.*

* Unless it’s so bad, my lurker from Coventry has already choked on his own fleeing spirit.

I keep telling him, “son, you’ll never make it with the girls if you continue exuding odours that could shrivel any living creature in an instant.”

That’s when he does that doleful, doey-eyed thing kids sometimes do when they’ve figured out thanks to their history class that your 60s upbringing marks you out as a liberal softie incapable of wielding the rod. And he’ll say, “dad, why did you name me after the hottest celestial body in our solar system?”

Doey-eyes and flippancy: a lethal combination, and he knows it.

What he doesn’t know yet is how the “no rules” 60s ethic responsible for turning me into a lily-livered stick of floppy celery can overturn in an instant all the poncy new safeguards against child abuse enshrined in law by successions of governments — even those personally blessed by the bloody Queen.

Switching to Radiation Suit 2, I bundle my son into the bathroom by his ears. Whoops, no, sorry — ear. The other one tore off.

As he writhes in the basin, pinned down by a combination of brute parental anger and a soft-close toilet seat wrapped round his scrawny little neck, I hose him down with McCleans and Dettol; mouthwash, Ylang-Ylang shampoo.

Shards of grimy yellow plaque fly from his teeth like lapis lazuli prised from an ancient jewelled crown by ogres armed with tweezers. Clouds of bilious green fog hack into the air, as if the demon possessing his nasal assault anatomy is affording itself the luxury of one last fart before I break out the Toilet Duck.

Finally, the vapours subside, and with them, the foundations of four neighbouring houses and the once proud bust of the woman who regularly walks what up to a few moments ago was a dog.

I grab the mouthwash and the toothpaste, trace wild sigils in the air with the brush. “Twice a day from now on, Okay? I’ll even stand over you and do that grinning chimp thing you went crazy over when you were a toddler.”

He goes doey-eyed again, but this time no flippancy, no cheek. “Hey dad, that’s why I gave up brushing. The sight of you standing behind me, grinning like a monkey and waving your arms about was enough to put me off the whole personal hygiene thing for life. It was crazy bad and embarrassing, not crazy hey look at my crazy dad.”

Suddenly, I feel like the world’s worst parent. The world’s worst person. Ever.
All the justification I need for grounding him for a whole week...


7 comments:

Old Kitty said...

I would have made him wear your stripey socks but then again I'm generally a nice person with breath the scent of crushed roses.

:-)
p.s ever thought it may be genetic? LOL!! Oh I'm kidding!

Take care
x

writtenwyrdd said...

My brother went through that phase. Living in a toxic waste dump and being listed as one seems to be a boy thing.

jjdebenedictis said...

...before I break out the Toilet Duck.

One of your best lines yet! :D

Whirlochre said...

Old Kitty
How very Turkish Delight...

WW
We certainly get the ponky chromosome arrangement, it's true.

JJ
Why, thank you...

Robin B. said...

What used to drive me crazy was the dirty hair stage. Both girls went through it. "It's no big deal, Mommmmm," they would say. I'd be so irritated, and then one day an image came to me, of...me, sitting in class in high school with stringy dirty hair. I'd done it, too, but peer pressure quickly upended my weird notion that not washing my long, long hair (at the time) was my personal 'right' somehow. And yeah, it helped the girls move on quickly, too.

But boy breath - well, you may have a bigger problem, given that boys don't ever really have any peer pressure not to be nasty, do they? Well, until they care about girls, anyway.

Whirlochre said...

Wrobin
Such a shame we all missed out on Loreal Suck Tresses — the molasses-based tubfuls of slime due to hit the market in Autumn.

Bernita said...

~laughing myself sick ~