|Syrian Arab Republic|
|Trinidad and Tobago|
|Republic of Korea|
This is Paul Brashier.
Paul Brashier has been my friend since I was a very young child and he is one of a small, select group of people who can actually make me laugh so hard that I will eventually end up peeing my pants if I do not run away from him immediately.
It is a quality that I both love and hate in him.
Love? Because it really is fun to have friends that can make you laugh that hard.
Hate? Because he can make you laugh even when you don’t want to… even when you are so entirely angry with him as a human being… so much so… that you truly want to kill him… he can still make you laugh.
You could be standing behind him, with a ball ping hammer in your hand, ready to knock his block off, and he would just turn around, make a face…strike an exaggerated pose… or inhale off of his asthma intake loudly before saying something like “Hey Tappy Tapperson and the Tappets… how about you take that fucking hammer and move along” and you’d be falling out again and unable to get in a good swing.
Paul moved away from my neighborhood for many years but now is back… with his lovely wife and family… and when I recently saw this photo of him on his Facebook wall… it reminded me of a minor moment from years earlier at the neighborhood Albertson’s.
In fact… it was the first time in my life that I have ever seen Paul Brashier totally embarrassed. So much so, that he couldn’t look me in the eye for several hours after the incident.
We were riding together in my mini-van with my good friend, Christy Godfrey. Christy is a teacher and has that look and attitude about her that seems very proper and very strict. However, once you get to know her, you find out that she is actually quite a lot of fun.
Paul did not know this yet about Christy, so as we all drove towards the Albertson’s: Christy riding shotgun, Paul in the back… he was, in his opinion, loosening her up with his comedy routine and doing a pretty good job of keeping us both from breathing during the entire short ride to the store.
He was really on a roll.
When we got there…. I wanted to stay in the car with Christy and chat and so… I handed Paul some money and asked him if he wouldn’t mind going into the store for me.
He pretended to fuss… to roll his eyes and make a scene… but then he cracked a joke, jumped out of the car, pretended to jab at me through the open window, before he walked in front of the mini-van, undid his pants, and mooned me.
Now, I knew immediately that it was just his way of teasing me… a kind of “fuck you” for making him go into the Albertson’s on his own… and that he planned to show just a bit of crack before pulling up his pants and moving along.
Unfortunately for Paul… he lost his grip on his clothing… and I watched as Mr. Skinny Ass dropped his pants completely to the ground.
One minute… he was fully clothed in the Albertson’s parking lot and the next minute… he was buck-ass naked, free-balling it and pants-less in the middle of Middle Class America.
I watched as he panicked.
Even from behind I could tell.
His head did a triple-take in all directions.
He stopped… stunned… and stared at the large middle-aged woman who was now standing in front of him. She stopped… stunned… her shopping cart a shield against the punk rock pervert she was watching. Her eyes grew large… her knuckles grew white as she clutched the handle of the basket… unsure if she should move forward to her car, which we soon found out was parked next to us, or make a run for the light of the supermarket door and the safety of the rent-a-cop who was napping on the bench next to the magazine rack.
Paul reached down as quickly as possible to pick up his pants… without thinking about the view Christy and I were privy to from behind. He bent over completely, balls dangling, ass cheeks spread wide, and winked his brown-eye in Christy’s face.
I heard her gasp…. Paul heard it too. I watched as he froze… the realization of what Christy had just seen… hitting him full force.
I couldn’t take any more: I threw my head back and howled with glee.
When I looked up again… Paul was scurrying towards the store, not sure what to do: too embarrassed to come back to the van and obviously afraid that the woman he had accidentally flashed was about to call the police and report him.
Luckily for Paul… he had nothing to worry about.
She walked up next to the van, saw that Christy’s window was open, turned to speak to Christy… giant smile on her face… and said, “God bless the youth of America.”
She was still beaming as she emptied her cart, got into her car, and waved excitedly as she drove off: Paul Brashier’s nudity the highlight of her mundane evening and maybe even the highlight of her entire mundane life.
Christy sat quietly for a moment… head down… not sure what to think.
Having never been around a “Punk Rock” group in her life, until she had the unfortunate luck of running into me, she didn’t really know what to do.
“Should I say something when he gets back in the car?” She asked.
I was still in the throws of laughter but managed to get out the words, “If he even comes back to the car.”
It was a really long wait.
I could only imagine what was going through Paul’s mind. It must have been agonizing for him.
I knew Paul well… and though he can come off as quite wild from time-to-time he was raised to have some semblance of middle-class manners and I knew that he was really struggling with this moment.
Finally, we saw him come out of the store… baseball hat low over his eyes… Dickie’s jacket buttoned up to the neck… pants cinched tightly… head down… grocery bag swinging… as he made for a quick clip across the lot and hurriedly got back into the car.
I tried not to look at him… I swear I tried not to laugh… but I just couldn’t do it.
Christy and I both lost all control.
I caught his face in the rear view mirror and watched as he looked out the window… first a bit angry and miffed but then… comforted by our laughter… a bit of a smirk returning to his face.
He was still too embarrassed to chime in… recap the events…. and that was alright by me.
It was actually great to finally see him the one totally caught off guard…
FINALLY the person who for once did NOT get the last laugh.
Dylan James Wood is my son.
Those that know him know that he is like a giant bear: large and fuzzy, hands as big as grizzly paws.
He stands about six-foot-one and even on my BEST day I can no longer take him.
Well actually, I might get away with running him over in the mini-van but he’s quick for a big guy so I would have to catch him by surprise which… is exactly what I did the day I slapped the holy shit out of him.
Now, feel free to judge, I really don’t care.
If I want to slap the shit out of my 22-year-old, 250 pound bubba of a baby, who is completely out of line with his mother then I will damn well do it.
I don’t believe in the “no beating” policy.
To quote M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs: “Tell Graham to swing away.”
I like to live by the laws of nature: swift, painful, parental punishments.
And probably right now, someone out there is mumbling, “I hope one day he hits her back. Abusive old bitch.”
And I would say to you: he better start running after he takes a swing.
It would be a good show though and actually it was.
I don’t know what started the incident.
Who knows how he incited me into violence but he did.
We were in the middle of the kitchen, standing toe-to-toe.
I was screeching at him about something that I deemed incredibly important at the time, when he mouthed off and I went to slap him.
I watched as his giant paw of a hand reached out and grabbed my wrist.
My arm stopped mid-swing as my face registered shock.
I looked up at him, this furry Baby Huey of a man, and stared, stunned that he quit my vigilantly justice with one grasp.
I actually heard the sound track from Clint Eastwood’s, A Few Dollars More, reverberate inside of my head as I raised my other hand, furious in my inability to control him, and took another swing.
No way in hell was “Indio” gonna get the better of Clint aka “Monco” I was gonna wind this little jackass’s pocket watch and good.
I swung at him with all my might and watched as he easily bested my shot and now had both of my wrists pinned within the grip of just one of his giant hands.
I was beyond furious: I was enraged.
It was as if I lost my mind: I literally could not control myself. I bent towards him and tried to bite him repeatedly.
He laughed as he used his strength to manipulate me into various positions by changing the degree of bend on my trapped wrists.
I began to growl and snarl like a wild animal as I kicked at him, all the while, Dylan laughing at my idiocy and the fact that I no longer had any control over him.
I exhausted myself with the effort and like Santiago in the, Old Man and the Sea, crumpled to the floor, worn and beaten, yet still refusing to admit defeat.
“You promise not to hit me if I let you go?” Dylan said, lauding his youth and new found bravery and power over me.
I said nothing.
I glared at him.
A beast ready to snap.
I watched as he walked towards the backdoor, before I shouted, “You will pay for this!”
He chortled with glee as he kicked open the door, kicked it closed behind him, and strutted off to the garage, whistling a little tune of satisfaction that soon faded off into the distance.
That little shit. I thought to myself. I am going to make that mother fucker pay.
And as I sat on the dirty linoleum floor, I quieted my mind and came up with a plan.
A three day plan.
I would lead him to believe I had forgotten all about the upsetting incident.
I would act “as if” and bide my time until I could slap that little bastard but good.
I regained my footing and stood tall; I had lost the first battle but I was certain that I would win this war.
The next few days passed by just as I expected:
Dylan flinched each time I walked by him: sure that I was about to retaliate at any moment positive that I had not given up within the first 24 hours.
I ignored him… busied myself with the tasks at hand.
48 hours later, he was eying me pensively from the corner of the living room: trying to figure out if I had truly forgotten the incident or if this was some type of new defensive tactic.
I folded laundry and once again pretended I hadn’t even noticed him in the room.
He fell for the ploy.
By the third day, I was beyond excited. I couldn’t wait to get home from school and make my son pay.
My anticipation was rabid by the time I pulled up to the curb.
I could hardly contain myself as I ran up the porch and opened the front door.
There he was.
My baby Sasquatch.
My furry Yeti.
He was in the kitchen, large bowl of cereal cupped in one hand, spoon midway to his mouth, crumbs of a cheerio hanging tentatively off of his beard.
“Hey mom,” he said.
His sweetest voice.
His best cherubic face.
But I did not falter in my anger: revenge had gotten the better of me and my “higher spiritual self” had exited our home days ago.
I laid on like I have never laid on before.
My slap hit his chubby pink cheek so hard that his whole giant meat pie of a head sharply snapped at an angle before his eyes rolled back and his mouth fell open.
But still my blow barely made a dent of pain.
He centered his head, and looked at me: his bowl still set neatly in his hand, his spoon still resting mid-air, shocked but for a moment, before he laughed, this beautiful genuine boy of a laugh, and then said, “Good one” as he walked past me and climbed the stairs to his bedroom.
I stood in the kitchen and watched as his giant Fred Flintstone feet disappeared up the stairs.
The moment was bitter sweet.
I felt the relief, the joy of revenge washing over me, the sense that all was right in my world and then the horrible realization that my son was now completely immune to any physical punishment I would ever try to dispense in the future.
Suddenly, I felt old, truly old, until I heard from the top of the stairs, “Damn mom, that really hurt.”
And I smiled, knowing that my son was indeed a good man, I had raised him well.
I knew he wasn’t hurt at all, he was letting me “save face” unwilling to swing away at his mother’s pride.