Hook, Line and Sinker? Not quite…

March 20, 2009

I returned home from work last Friday and was greeted at the door by an extremely red faced 8-year old. At first glance it appeared that Mack had contracted some strange rash which covered both cheeks, his chin and his temples. Connie told me that Mack had been into some wild berries in the woods behind our home- and his red swollen face was the result. Our first concern was that if the berries were all over his face then it was likely they got there as he shoveled them into his gaping maw. But Mack was adamant that he hadn’t eaten any. Connie and I were perplexed so we made Mack explain what had happened.

According to Mack while he was working on his god-awful empire (the eyesore of a fort that he is building) he stepped on some wild berries and they exploded upward spraying his face with berry innards. Because he is so conscientious about his appearance and overall hygiene he felt propelled to immediately jump in the tub and scour his face until all of the offending substance, to include several layers of skin, was removed. The red swollen splotches covering my boy’s face were the fruit of his efforts. It honestly looked like he used an SOS pad in lieu of a wash cloth.

Strange things happen in the Groah household- weird, mystical things that defy logic, but Mack’s explanation went beyond the Bermuda Triangle type shit that Connie and I have come to accept as the norm. Here are a few clues that brought Mack‘s story into question.

I’ve been a Marine for 21-years and have blown up many, many things but I have yet to come in contact with an exploding piece of vegetation. That being said without the benefit of explosives it would take considerable force to validate Mack‘s claims. By my calculations for Mack’s account to be even remotely accurate he would have had to fall from the height of a medium sized sky scraper landing directly on a pile of ripe berries roughly the size of a Volkswagen. Clue number two, Mack voluntarily took a bath. This is more unlikely than exploding fruit. I argue every night to get him in the shower- to think that he would stop destroying stuff on his own accord and bathe is inconceivable. I knew when he delivered this piece of his intricate tale that he was full of shit- exploding fruit maybe- Mack washing without having to be dragged to the bathroom, ha! never gonna happen. The third and final clue- Mack avoided eye contact and when pressed for details he answered with outlandish claims. It was obvious that his plan depended upon us falling for it hook, line and sinker- he never put any thought into what he should say if we expressed doubt. For instance when Connie asked Mack why he didn’t come to us so we could help him with the mess he said “Oh I didn’t want to bother you- you were busy so I figured I would do it on my own.” Mack not wanting to bother us? Whoa! the shit is getting deep in our living room- the kid lives for the opportunity to make us do stuff. That confirmed our suspicions- Connie and I knew that we were being fibbed to.

Most times when I catch Mack in one of his fibs I end up pulling him to the side so we can discuss what really happened. I like to give my boys an opportunity to come clean (irony) on their own, without having their mother standing over them. She uses the same tactic. I guess it‘s a “good cop bad cop” thing, but it works. For the guys it’s easier to unravel a fib when only having to face one of us. If both of us approach the offending party at the same time they’ll clam up and it may take hours to finally get to the truth. I think this is a very important thing to consider. In my experience little boy fibs can be dangerous or benign- you just really never know until you get to the bottom of it. For instance, Mack could have eaten a handful of berries and decided that if he told us he would get in trouble- I like to refer to lies told to avoid punishment as self preservation fibs. In cases such as these, time could be of the essence- poison control takes a while to make house calls. Fibs can also be used to deflect discussions on other issues like school, failing relationships, friends who want to hurt themselves, etcetera. At eight Mack doesn’t have the tools to deal with serious issues- nor the rationale to know when mom and dad should be brought into the picture, so we try not to dismiss his claims, instead we investigate. Punishment for lying comes after we’ve had an opportunity to praise them for coming clean. We want them to learn that maintaining one’s integrity is more valuable than avoiding whatever punishment may await them- preach on my brother- soar to the heavens on the wings of a dove my son for the truth will set you free!

So I’m sure there is at least one reader interested in finding out what happened to Mack’s face so in a few words or less here it is. Mack’s an inquisitive dude and on that particular day he was interested in determining how a spray paint can functions. He examined the can and was dismayed when he discovered that the top doesn’t screw off revealing the guts that lie within. So being more caveman than technician he decided to beat the can vigorously with a large rock until it submitted. The result being a blast of red paint straight to the face. Luckily Mack didn’t blow up. We did explain the theory of pressurized air and how potential for serious injury exist- hopefully he was listening.

Well that’s it for now, I gotta run Mack is hanging around the grill checking out the propane tank. Holy shit, Connie have you seen my hammer?


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