As a kid, my brother was constantly trying new things. It seemed like he had a new interest or hobby every week. I blame my parents for buying him such diverse Christmas gifts. So he would be a power ranger one week and a Satanist the next week.
My mom took us to the public library quite often, this is where he found a book for children on how to speak French. I recall seeing the book, listening to him practice for all of five minutes. Then, like a typical moody teenager, retreating to my room to listen to Smashing Pumpkins and be melon collie with infinite sadness. Seriously, I’ll bet family members felt like they were the billy goats approaching the troll under the bridge rather than another loved one. I digress, that’s another topic. I will say girls, specifically teenage girls, are monsters and I have apologized to my parents, as all of us should upon adulthood realization.
My father came to pick my brother and I up to go to his house for the weekend. I get in the car with of course my headphones because I shall not be disturbed. My brother was still in the house. After a fairly long time, my dad asks me, “Where in tha hell is that boy?” I shrug. Suddenly the backdoor swings open and my brother is wearing knee socks and the shortest shorts he owns. He has made a feeble attempt to look like a French school boy.
My father, I swear, Mike Judge has met him when he created his “Hank Hill” character. Upon seeing my brother my dad’s jaw drops and I hear a gasp of disgust, shock, utter dismay. My brother stops at the steps and raises an arm in the air “Bonjour papa!” and he does a little twinkle action with his fingers. He skipped down the stairs, merrily ya’ll, very merrily.
“What…in…the….hell….*gah*…that boy ain’t right” was all my father could muster. This is a man who is opinionated and is usually not at a loss for words. My brother left him flabbergasted. I of course laughed, laughed until my innards felt they would rupture and I would have laughed as I died of sepsis. I had no idea my brother was going to become a french school boy overnight.
My dad then collected himself and asked if we wanted to get a bite to eat. My brother suggested crepes. My father responded with a swift “No”. He took us to Wang’s China (yes, really it’s called that HA!) and asked that my brother pull his socks down so as not to embarrass him. My brother tried to explain he was learning French to which my dad said, “Shit hell what for son? You don’t need to learn French (oh the face when he said French) or at least don’t wear them socks!” I think my brother was signed up for baseball the next week.
I must admit my brother did look pretty funny. I think my dad’s point of view was a male perspective: he would have beat up a kid like that on the playground. Good looking out dad, you sure have a special way with words!