How Did My Parents Survive My Childhood ? — #01

My parents bought this living room set when I was still a youngin’. The red couches were almost Persian-looking and had these weird spherical headpieces whose only real purpose was to pinch the nerves in anybody’s kneecaps that obliviously ran into them at their almost-intentionally perfect knee-height position. And when contrasted to the green La-Z-Boy recliner and forest-green carpet that ran throughout the bottom floor of our house, it almost felt like Christmas time all year round in the Weber homestead.

That La-Z-Boy was my dad’s prized possession for a while. He would get off work, dart toward the shower, and would make this primal growl as he finally sank into it come 5:05 PM. This was an every day experience for what felt like an eternity.

Anyway, on a random summer day of no particular importance, dad was at work and mom was resting in the bedroom. My brother and I were following the same routine that we always did and chose to waste our morning by messing with one another. I was trying to watch MTV and he kept coming up behind the recliner like a cat and would methodically jump over it to make sure that I couldn’t actually see the scantily-clad women in those beautiful 90's-era hip-hop videos. This went on for an hour or more and the fight between us grew and grew and grew. We’d perfected the art of fighting silently, though, as to not get yelled at by the sleeping bear that was our mother in the bedroom. So it was this weird silent-film style fight, quietly throwing punches and giving one another indian rug burns (I know that term is racist, by the way, but I truly don’t know what else to call it).

My childhood home.

My brother got a little brave and instead of hopping OVER the La-Z-Boy, on his final jump, he decided to springboard on top of it. SNAP. The thing literally broke in half like a Wheat Thin. Oh shit! Look what you did, dude! Dad is going to kill us! Shiiiiiiiiiiit.

The two of us concocted this idea to merely put it back together and leave the house. We would call grandma Weber and have her pick us up for the afternoon. At some point, dad would come home and re-break it himself and just think he’d sat down in it one too many times. It was genius! And, best of all, the idea totally worked…kind of. We were able to reassemble the chair and from a safe distance it was almost impossible to tell that we’d broken it at all. If nobody ever sat down in it again, we figured, nobody would ever know.

So my grandma comes and picks us up and we spend the day over at her house. Around 5:30 or so, she decided she’d had enough of us for the day and drove us back home. From the truck’s rear-view window, I could see my dad’s angry scowl from almost three entire blocks away as he sat on the porch. I mimed a, “What are you mad about?!” expression and totally gave myself away before I’d ever gotten out of the car. I’m sure my brother did the same thing. We were toast.

My mom and I.

We took a step inside and saw a bowl of chili spilled all over the floor and the La-Z-Boy was broken in half once again. He asked us what happened in the most, “I’m trying to repress my anger so I don’t end up in prison for killing one of my kids” tones that I had ever heard in my life. As my dad explained it, he had got off work and noticed that my mom had made her famous chili for us. My dad was stoked and decided to grab a bowl after his shower. He tried to sit in the chair the same way that he always did, only this time with a piping hot bowl of chili in his hands, and fell backwards out of it. The chili spilled all over him, the carpet, and somehow even the ceiling. It was a massacre of beans and tomato paste in there.

Neither of us would own up to it, but both of us would blame the other in private conversations later that night. My parents didn’t know what the real story was, so neither of us really got in much trouble for it. My dad would never replace the chair and chose the couch for the rest of our childhood.

My brother, dad, and me — outside of my grandma Weber’s house in 2012.