'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THE FACTS OF LIFE CAN BE GROSS
Teenagers are not shocked by much nowadays. With violence and gore so commonplace in the movies and on TV, it takes an awful lot to disturb the average teen.
However, I recently discovered something my teenage daughters consider so gross, it practically makes them ill. My kids can’t stand it if I show any affection toward my wife (who also happens to be, in an odd family arrangement for this day and age, their mother).
The other day I put my hand on my wife’s shoulder, gently kissed her neck, and whispered, “I love you, darling.” Both daughters immediately screamed and jumped off the couch. “Ooooh, GROSS!! Stop it!” they shouted, while pacing around the room in distress. “That’s so disgusting!! Stop it! Stop it right now!!”
I think there would have been less of a reaction if I had performed an appendectomy on a puppy with a chainsaw right in the middle of the living room. (Don’t worry, I would never actually do that—I don’t own a chainsaw.) My daughters can sit there and calmly watch people on TV engaging in R-rated conduct, but if I so much as smile at my wife, they have a fit.
So, of course, being the kind and considerate guy that I am, as soon as I saw my kids were upset by my behavior, I grabbed my wife, spun her around, and did the classic VJ Day-Times Square-sailor-nurse-arched back-passionate kiss pose, complete with a few risqué sound effects. And I remained in this pose until tears finally began to flow. (My daughters also cried.)
It’s strange that children have such a hard time accepting the fact their parents have a love life. I have a couple of fascinating theories about it, none of which I can share at this time because a few moments ago, as I was typing away on the computer, my wife put her hand on my shoulder, gently kissed my neck, and whispered, “If you even THINK about discussing our personal life in the newspaper, I will perform an appendectomy on you with a chainsaw in the middle of the living room.”
“But honey,” I said, “we don’t even own—”
“I’ll borrow one!” she said. And so, discretion being the better part of self preservation, I will change the subject and discuss a completely different fascinating topic: my parents’ love life.
I was in the 5th grade when they taught us about the “birds and the bees” in science class. I thought the whole thing was rather weird, but from a detached, scientific point of view, I considered it, well, EXTREMELY weird.
The topic didn’t bother me one way or the other, as in the 5th grade my only interests were playing baseball and catching frogs (being steeped in “cooties,” girls obviously were gross), and I was pretty sure no one I knew had ever engaged in such weird behavior.
But then one day my friend Johnny McGillicuddy said, “Hey Dunn, you know what this means, don’tcha? Your parents had to do…that to make you.”
“Ooooh, GROSS!! Stop it!” I shouted, while pacing around the classroom in distress. “That’s so disgusting!! Stop it! Stop it right now!!”
At least three and a half decades later, just thinking about that 5th grade conversation makes me a little squeamish. I’d better finish this column before I have to change the subject again.
In the interest of getting all my facts straight, I decided to phone my mom. I explained to her what today’s topic is, and asked if I had ever brought up this particular subject back when I was in the 5th grade. For a moment she didn’t answer. Finally she said, “Why don’t you stop by for a visit, Son.”
“OK,” I replied, “I can swing by later this after— Hey, what’s that noise I hear in the background, Mom?”
“Oh, nothing,” she said. “Your father is just testing his chainsaw. Please hurry over.”
Hmm, I think I’d better change the topic before it’s too late.
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