Random Acts of Toughness…

September 12, 2008


Knock off that Jibber Jabber, I pity the fool who stings me repeatedly...

Knock off that Jibber Jabber, I pity the fool who stings me repeatedly...


Both of my boys are extremely “boy-like” meaning that they both exhibit a degree of ruggedness that is characteristic of our gender.  They like to be dirty, they don’t necessarily enjoy having their nails trimmed, and they prefer the back of their hand to a tissue any day of the week.  However, having observed them their entire lives, I have identified one of them to be tougher than the other and it is not who you may think.


Cayden, my 32lb, bone muscle waif is harder than a woodpecker’s lips.  If the kid was a substance, he would be tungsten; if a movie star, Vin Diesel; if a food, the salmon filet Connie made for dinner two nights ago.  Simply put: the kid is a machine.


So, what I decided to do was start a series of posts aimed at highlighting some of Cayden’s more notable displays of “bad-assedness”.  I decided to name this series “Random acts of Toughness”, sort of like “Random acts of Kindness”, only more gladiator-esque.  This is my first installment.


The Jelly….


So the family and I are out on Connie’s new obsession, a.k.a. the boat with no name, for a relaxing cruise out on the bay.  It’s a pretty hot day so we decide to forego fishing and jump in for a leisurely swim (“leisurely swim” is defined as “boys propelling themselves off the back of the boat as many times as possible until Connie or I succumb to uncontrollable fits of rage”).  Leisurely swim has nothing to do with the act of swimming, it has everything to do with jumping from the boat and climbing back in- compulsive behavior which tends to unhinge any grownup within eyesight of the leaping children.  


The kids are on about their 7,000th jump when a sudden commotion interrupts their obsessive-compulsive behavior.  Our friend, Scott, quickly pulls a bewildered Cayden from the murky depths and sets him on the back deck of the “USS Can’t-Afford-To-Retire-This Year” (one of my potential boat name recommendations).  I give Cayden the once over- (4) limbs, (2) eyes, no gushing internal fluid, but wait what is that gelatinous glob stuck to his life jacket?


The gelatinous glob was the “Queen Mother” of all Maryland jelly fish and it had affixed itself squarely to the center of my youngest son.  The tentacles on this beastly abomination were pencil thick and long enough to reach under his arms and between his bone white thighs.  The apex (not sure the right term for the center of a jelly fish) was as large as a cantaloupe, possibly a honeydew.  The creature was simply grotesque.


Cayden looked at me defiantly; he was unmoved and unafraid.  I, on the other hand, had no desire to touch the thing, it reminded of a scene from Alien when the space monster grabbed hold of the dude’s face and sucked out his brain. Friggin’ nasty.  But I am “Dad”, responsible for setting the right example and rescuing my children from mutant aquatic creatures, so I quickly started to pull the giant sea booger from my boy’s torso. 


Once I had the major chunks removed, I washed him down with bottled water and rinsed out his life jacket in the bay.  Cayden did not make a peep during the entire de-jellification.  However, when he was all cleaned off, he did move off to the side of the “USS Maintenance-Intensive” (also my suggestion), flexed his bone muscles, gritted his teeth, and hulked out a bit.  Note: not a single tear rolled down his cheek.  For Cayden, pain is weakness leaving the body and there was no way he was going to show weakness in front of his foe.  To be honest, I think he was more upset with the fact that the jelly had beaten him to the punch and taken the offensive.  If Cayden had known that there were sea creatures in his area of operation that he was allowed to openly attack, he would have done so with extreme prejudice (I think he may be a Republican like his old man).   


Later that night, in the tub, I examined all of his jelly fish stings (which were many). Cayden was pretty nonchalant about the whole ordeal, it was as if he wrestled pumpkin-sized jellyfish for a living and did not want to be bothered with it at home.  Ten years from now, he’ll probably walk in the house and spit out, “Hey Dad, today I beat down a Kodiak bear. Do we have any marshmallow rice crispy treats. I’m starving.”   It’s hard to say what the future holds for him. All I know is I have a new found respect for my youngest son; he is a certifiable Bad-Ass.


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