Monday, April 25, 2016

Would You Rather...

     Dinner time conversation comes around to Pene the other night and she says she and her friends sometimes play “Would You Rather...”
     I ask, “For example: Would you rather be buried alive in an anthill or caged with a hundred mice?”
     She smiles and says, “Yeah, but it's not usually so unpleasant. Vera asked, 'Would you rather have the power of invisibility, but you have to be naked, or the power to run super fast, but you're blind while running?' Mine was: 'Would you rather have devil horns or a forked tongue like a snake?'”
     “Would I have to stick out my tongue to smell the air like a snake, too, or could I keep it in all the time” I ask.
     “You'd have to stick it out once in awhile.”
     I think about it and say, “I feel very uncomfortable. This is stressful for me.” (She's laughing—she like to see me squirm.) “I guess the forked tongue—I could at least hide it sometimes, though either would be cool for Halloween. And I'd get rich doing the talk-show circuit.”
     I later come up with my own. It's just before bedtime and we're talking: “Would you rather be President of the United States, but you can't wear a pants or dress in public—you can wear panties, though. Or, be the Pope, but you always have to wear that tall pointy hat—even to bed?”
     She chooses the latter and says, “I also asked my friends: If everyone in the world were sick of a horrible disease and were going to die, but you could cure them but it would cost you your life, would you?
     “Sure,” I said.
     “Candace said, 'No. They're doomed anyway.' So then asked, 'Well what about this: Your wishes always come true, but each time you wish something, someone you know dies. Would you still want that power?' Trudy said, 'Yeah.' Vera asked, 'But what if that person were me?' And Trudy said, 'Too bad. I want my wishes.'”
     “Man, these are kind-of sick and disturbing,” I say. “Getting back to that running real fast thing, maybe memorizing what's ahead and going for it isn't such a great idea after all. When I was about Jaren's age, I tried riding bike with my eyes closed from the top of our driveway all the way down to the Harano's house. The first time I tried, I panicked, opened my eyes, and saw that I was half-way down the driveway, fine, and could have gone more. Next time I panicked again, opened my eyes, and realized I was half-way there and perfect—no need to have stopped. Next time I kept telling myself, 'keep going, don't panic, keep going, don't look...' Then whoa! I'm falling and see the shrubs and brush below in the gulch by the Lo's! Phoom! I get up and drag the bike back out.
     Pene's in hysterics throughout all this. “Did you get hurt?” she asks.
     “No. But I was super-ashamed. Mom later asked, 'What happened?' 'I lost control of my bike,' I said. 'Mrs. Harano called and said she saw you riding straight and slow and it looked like you went over the edge on purpose. Did you?' 'No. It was the bike. Something happened. I'm fine.' 'Do you want Dad to check it?' 'I'll do it,' I said.”
     Pene's laughing hard, just as hard as when we wathced some dumb DVD together weeks ago (which is unusual for her as she's usually so serious.) I guess it's because it's odd for her to imagine me doing something so stupid as I'm usually so sensible. Or maybe she just likes to see me suffer.
     (The most sure-fire laugh for her (and Deanne) is my getting hit, knocked, or somehow pounded in the groin. Something about me doubling over and groaning sets her off. “Oh it's so funny to see Dad in pain, huh?” I ask. Though she apologizes, she laughs even harder. I guess it's like the time Deanne got livid over getting pooped on by a pigeon and the kids and I couldn't stop laughing as she tried to dab the whitish-green cream from the shoulder of her navy blue jacket. Now that was funny seeing her so upset and hearing her say, “Stop laughing! It's not funny!” I tried to sort-of help by saying, “Yeah you guys, stop laughing! It's not funny!” but that just set them off further.
     Ah, humor in the twenty-first century: high-brow indeed.

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