Saturday, November 29, 2008

Passing the Smell Test

My mother was a clever parenter. As a young kid my mom would lure me outside to play, then quickly go back in the house and lock the doors. I really couldn't ask for more though. I grew up on a full acre of land with fruit trees, swing sets, trampolines, and a tennis court. Every once in a while though I'd get thirsty and knock on the door, "Mom, I'm thirsty!" "The hose is right over there" as she pointed and smiled. Sandwiches and lemonade would be delivered via the doggy door at lunchtime and the doors would open again just in time for dinner. Now that I'm an adult with kids of my own I see her wisdom and brilliance. She gave me the opportunity to explore and have fun while giving her time to get things done in the house without the constant fighting, bickering, and destruction that typically came with me around my sisters.

As I grew older her ingenuity and tenacity evolved. I am convinced that it is completely impossible to pull a fast one on my mother. She claims her "holy ghost tells her stuff." I say no. It's a constant, unrelenting, fierce process of checking homework, reading notes, rifling through drawers, calling parents to check up on me, tailing me to school, and hiring the NSA to keep a satellite bead on me at all times. I always thought the unmarked black van parked outside all my extracuriculars was odd. Personal privacy was a foreign concept. As long as I lived under that roof, my stuff was her stuff and my life was hers.

I distanced myself as a teenager and mom had to reinvent her sleuthiness. Her personal space invasions became more discreet and never confrontational. And she invented "The Smell Test." The nose cannot be fooled. My silver tongue could lead her down many paths of ridiculousness, but a quick whiff would confirm or deny anything I said...

"So where did you go tonight Ty?"
"Oh, this dude named Travis had a party."
"Was it a good party?"
"Of course mom, we played bridge and pin the tail on the donkey and danced to the soundtrack to 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.' Then we sat around and discussed what college courses could best help us accomplish our goals in life and best prepare us for our missions." *gnarly sarcasm*
"Uh huh. Any drugs?"
"No way mom."
"Oh please."
"Gross mom, no way."
"Good boy, come give your mother a hug."

Unbeknownst to me, until a later time, this was no ordinary hug. As we embraced she was smelling my clothes for cigarette odor, my neck for lipstick or girl-scent, and breath for liquor. She'd also look intensely at my eyes for unusual redness or high-gloss. How freaking brilliant is that? Sometimes I passed, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes she'd call me on it and sometimes she'd let it go. I appreciate my mother's love and her zeal for my well-being. She let me grow up on my own terms and in my own time. And mom, I promise I'm really close to the whole "growing up" thing.

Last night I got to put The Smell Test into practice for the very first time as a parent.

My youngest boy, Eric, is trouble. He's creative, inventive, destructive, and FUN. And lately he's had some dread fascination with his own urine. He'll whiz on just about anything. Walls, rugs, floors, carpet, etc. Sherri has found urine-soaked paper towels just hanging out on the floor. There is no apparent rhyme or reason to the wayward whizzing. Eric just doesn't want to conform to "The Man's" standards and pee in the toilet when there are so many other creative and fun places to place the stream.

So Thanksgiving night I'm in my office on the piano, laying down the bass and guitar tracks to Bread's "Aubrey" when Talmage starts to holler, "Daaaaad! I neeeed you!" I run out of the office in the direction of the screaming and find my two boys in the bathroom. Eric was standing over the toilet with his manhood in his left hand and the orange cup that had held my refreshing beverage in his right. "Eric, what are you doing buddy?" "Nuttin' dad." "Uh huh, why are you holding that cup?" "I'm not, dad." Eric has a problem with telling the truth, no matter how obvious the lie. "Right...Eric, did you go peepee in dad's cup?" "Nope." The toilet was finishing its flush at this point so there was no evidenciary support that his urine ever made it INTO the bowl. "Eric, give me the cup." All that was left was the remnants of some seemingly carbonated liquid in the bottom. I'd been drinking Mt. Dew, aka "The Nectar of the Gods", which didn't really help my cause in determining just what liquid might be in the cup since Dew and urine look identical. "Eric, tell me the truth right now, did you whiz in dad's cup?" "Nuh uh."

I had three options here. A) Forget about it and just wash the cup out, holding to the idea that igorance is bliss, B) drink what was left and hope for the best, or C) give it a whiff. Clearly B was a bad idea and I quickly tossed it out. I was left with A and C. The blue pill and the red. Would I take the blue pill and go about life as usual, never knowing and never caring about what REALITY was, continuing in a dreamstate of relative happiness unaware of TRUTH? Or would I pop the red pill and see just how far down the rabbit hole goes? I'm a truth guy. I went red. I inserted my schnozz and gave it a nice, big whiff.

We had green bean casserole for Thanksgiving. I was unaware that green beans had a similar effect on urine to that of asparagus. My smell test to the orange pee cup resulted in a fragrance that quite nearly knocked me on my can. It definitely was not the Nectar of the Gods clinging to the bottom of the cup. That was Eric's man scent...and it was strong. I debated washing the cup and sterilizing it so we could use it again, but I realized that was foolhardy...there's no way I could ever see an orange cup again and smell or taste anything other than salty Eric juice. I decided instead to burn the cup to a bubbling lump of molten plastic after exercising the demons from the artifact with my mighty priesthood.

If I'd been using my brain I would have cultivated a sample of the urine and sold it to sports therapists and boxing trainers globally. I guarantee no smelling salt in the universe is as potent as those few drops of Eric pee.


Mandy said...

My dad always told me "Parents know EVERYTHING." and they did. So what did you do with Eric after the smell test? You left that part out, unless you just smelled it for fun. HA!

Snyder-mom said...

That was the funniest story! I literally laughed out loud. Eric sure sounds like a character. I also want to know what happened to Eric once you discovered it wasn't your Mtn. Dew?