Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Special:
Show Ya Love By Effing Wit Their Heads

Psst. Come here. Ain't nothing more fun than effing with your kids. Wanna do something special to them this Thanksgiving? Plan now, so you'll be ready.

Got no kids? Fine. You got someone. Why spare their minds of your mischief or wait until April Fools Day? This is what I did last year this time. You can do the same thing or something similar. Follow my lead and have a few laughs along the way.


Last November, I rolled my cart down the Snacks aisle at my grocery store and spotted a bag of Simply Enjoy Pina Colada Pecans.

What the heck, I thought. I'll try them.

This is why I try not to shop when hungry. I'm not picky and I'll eat almost any thing. I use this approach to cooking, and quite often, my food tastes weird.

I decided to bake sweet potatoes. Boiled them, sliced them, covered them with warmed butter, brown sugar, and hmmm, wonder how those Pina Colada pecans would taste on them?

I'm a generous person. I generously sprinkled on the nuts, then the marshmallows. Popped it and either a little ham or chicken in oven with it. An hour later me and Cassie, in the 8th grade at the time, sat down to this. My son Xavier was out and that was a good thing.

She took the first bite.

"Hmmm. This is good, Mom," she said.

I glowed with pride.

Then her face changed from sunny to cloudy.

"What is this?", she demanded.

"Uh, um, what is what?"


"This?! What are these crunchy things in it?!"

"It's good, ain't it?"

"No! It's awful! What's this weird taste?"

"Um, I added Pina Colada pecans to it..."

"You ruined them! Who wants crunchy, nutty sweet potatoes? Now I'll have to pick through it! Ugg!"

That's when my wounded pride kicked in... along with my secret, invisible friend, Mischief.

I threw that snotty tone in my voice and said, "You don't what you're talking about. This is a famous recipe and a world class dish. You're just too young to appreciate it. I shoulda served you a hot dog. This is too good for you."

Cassie loves those cooking shows and has oddly been watching them since she was a wee thing, after discovering The Food Channel.

She tried another bite and spit it out. "No," she said, "you just threw these in on a whim. Why? You messed up our dinner!"

I liked the dish myself. Looked my girl dead in the eye and lied my azz off.

"No, it's the truth. I learned how to make this when I worked at a restaurant in New York City."


"That's right. Back in the early 80s..."

"You have never lived in New York City!"

"Oh, you think you know everything about me," I said real snotty. "I lived there the summer before I started college for my master's degree. It was great..."

"You're pulling my leg! You have never..."

"Oh yes I did! I learned how to cook all sorts of wonderful potato dishes."

"And what was the name of restaurant?" she asked skeptically.

Since she nibbled the bait, I didn't bat an eye.

I answered, "La Dancing Potato."

"La Dancing Potato? That's the silliest thing I've heard."

She kept nibbling the bait which is how I knew she was uncertain. I took another big mouthful and was lovin' it.

"It's true," I lied. "Potatoes were their specialty. It was a great place to work..."

She went into her interrogation mode.

"What did this place look like?"

In my mind, I pictured the diner in the old Jerry Seinfield show and described it to her.

Cassie kept trying to trip me up. "What was your boss's name?"

"Max," I said, "he was the owner."

I then went on to describe Max as an older version of Seinfield.

"Mom," she said with exasperation, "you are not a good cook and you fix the same basic two potato dishes. Mashed, or home fried. No way you had a job as a cook at some place called La Dancing Potato."

I shrugged nonchalantly. "Think you what you want. I did and it was a great summer. I'll see if I can get in touch with Max. You'll see."

Heh-heh. I even got my son Xavier in on it, so when she asked him, he had my back.

Cassie still wasn't quite buying the story. I got her lil' azz good when she was four years old and she never forgot it. At that age, she was going through her I'm scared of the dark stage and used to sleep with me.

One night, she said, "Mommy. I can't fall asleep. Can you read me a story?"

"Sure," I replied.

I grabbed one of her books on the table next to the bed, and began telling the story - without turning on the light.

"Mommy! You're reading in the dark!"

"Yeah, so?"

"You can't do that!"

"Sure I can. I'm doing it, ain't I?"

"But you can't see in the dark!"


I watched her in the low glow of light from the window. She went back and forth, struggling with how this could be possible and she was totally perplexed. I nearly died trying not to laugh as she thought out loud.

She mumbled, "No way! For real? No, no one can do that. But you are. How? No. That's cool. But you can't, can you?"


Knowing the same old story nearly by heart and ad libbing when I didn't, I continued "reading".

She continued talking to herself wondering how her mommy could defy the law of physics and biology, even though she didn't know these words. Finally, poor lil' thing turned on the light so she could see my face. Maybe she wanted to look at my eyes.

I couldn't hold back. I cracked up laughing.

"You fooled me!", she said with shock and delight. "But I figured it out!"

"No you didn't. I really can."

"Prove it."

"Nope," I said. "You'll just have to take my word."

She shook her head and laughed. "Nuh uh. You remembered the story."

I laughed again. "You're so sharp. I love it!"

It's one of our fun family memories, a tradition passed onto to me by both parents, but particularly my father who did similar pranks. One of his best was when I was three or four years old. I was pouting over something, and he ran into the bathroom and pretended to flush himself down the toilet, saying I didn't love him anymore, and then hid behind the shower curtain laughing silently while I looked into swirling waters, saying, "Oh Daddy, I do love you! Please come back!"

Seriously, why have kids and not eff with their heads a little bit? is our motto.

So, on Thanksgiving Day last year, we were to have a big family dinner at David's, one of my relatives. He loves to cook and had just bought his first condo. I told him the plan, and whispered it to other relatives.

Cassie wandered into his kitchen and spotted the bag of Pina Colada Pecans, deliberately left next to his baked sweet potatoes.

"David," she said in her you're a suspect voice, "Why do you have these?"

"Oh," he answered, "I had planned to use your mother's recipe and add them to my sweet potatoes, but at the last minute, forgot. It's very good."

"Mom put you up to this, right?"

"No," he said with a straight face. "I learned it from her though, from when she worked as a cook in New York."

Cassie shot a look at me and rolled her eyes.

"You two are in on this joke," she said, but her statement was more like a question.

"Nuh uh," I said. "This may surprise you, but I had a life before you came along that I never mentioned to you."

Thus, the bait had been laid out well, and at dinner I caught the lil' fish.

We were all enjoying the meal, Cassie blurted out, "Did Mom ever work in New York City?"

David's mother answered, "Yes! I had forgotten about that. It was a diner that specialized in potato dishes... what was the name of that place?"

The whole family went down a memory lane that never existed, on my adventures in New York City at La Dancing Potato. Cassie was utterly dumbfounded.

A few days later, she challenged me again. "Why don't you have photos in your album from this?"

"Lost the pics when I moved back."

She bit her lower lip, uncertain.

"You're smiling!", she said. "That's how I know you're lying!"


I milked that prank almost to Christmas. The next time she brought it up, I was ready for her.

"Oh, I'm glad you mentioned this," I said. "My old boss Max returned my email. He's happily retired in Florida. Here's an old photo of him with a dancing potato."

Cassie's mouth dropped open. Once again I heard her internal dialog. Baby girl was talking to herself.

"Oh my God! It's true. No it's not. But there it is. Nuh-uh..."

My lil' fish has been trained well to not believe everything someone tells her when her gut warns her not to. She jumped on the Internet and started googling for images. Took her a couple minutes to find the same pic.

"Busted!", she yelled with glee.

I cracked up laughing.

She was dancing with joy that she solved the mystery of Mama's New York City Adventures at La Dancing Potato.

"I knew it! I knew it!", she exclaimed. "You were lying! But I gotcha!"

She put one hand on her hip, looking like a little mama demanding an explanation. "Now what do you have to say for yourself? Huh? Huh? Go ahead! I wanna hear this."

I lit a cigarette, leaned back in my chair, and smiled.

"But I can still read in the dark."


  1. Aw! You sound like such a fun mom. And a good one too. Your love for your kids somehow shines right through this post. And I think it's great how you openly give her credit for being "sharp." Seems like you're also helping her develop one of the same skills you have, which is to not believe every story that comes along without checking out some other sources.

  2. what a nice story to wake up to. i was laughing the entire time.

  3. Emeritus, Thanks, glad it started off you day with laughter.

    Macon, Thanks too. Like my dad did with me, I also read a lot of Aesop's Fables to the kids when they were little. I can't recommend those stories highly enough.

  4. Your daughter is gonna grow up to be the police...LOL.

  5. This is funny. My family plays tricks too. We call ourselves "tricksters". But, you really had Cassie going there. I love the last word about still being able to read in the dark. You are a true trickster.

  6. This was too cute! I love the photo of the man with Mr. Potato head!

  7. That's a cool story, Kit! It must be really fun to sustain a tale like that for so long, and to have others in on it as well. Cassie's skepticism and persistence for the whole-truth-and-nothing-but is rich as well; teach 'em how to question and think.

    BTW, I've heard a lot of positive buzz about the Twilight novels, and the teen audience is going gaga over this new film. Although it's not quite my cup of Lipton, I'll wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray (unless I can get someone to pay for a ticket :) ).

  8. V-Knowledge, Yeah, it's fun. She's still talking about that movie, too. For those of you who don't aren't familiar with V's blog, he does great movie reviews. Check him out.

    Dom, Thanks and agreed, that photo is priceless.

    Jackie, Maybe we're related? ;)

    Rippa, Both of my kids could probably be bangin' good feds!

    Torrance, Lol, thanks.

  9. Yea, kids are good for messin with. My son and I got into a big fight one time when we were driving through the outback of northern Ontario when he was about 12 years old. I pulled the truck over and told him to get the fuck out!
    He yell something at me, jumped out and slammed the door really hard. . . I mean we were in the middle of nowhere. . . I made sure he was well clear of the truck and took off. We were on one sinde of a small hill so I went as far as the other side of the hill and then slammed it into reverse and went back for him.
    8 years later in a creative writing class in college he wrote about the trauma of watching me disappear over that hill and looking around at where he was.
    He concluded with "maybe I'll visit him in the nursing home he's going to live in."
    Another time when he was about 14 or 15 I was up-town with some friends while he was at the movies with some of his friends. One of my friends' boss had let her use his Porche convertible for the weekend. when it was time to pick him up we jumped in the convertible (he had never met this woman) and drove around to the front of the theater where he was tanding with his friends. We pulled up in the convertible and I said, "beautiful woman, porche convertible, I'm afraid you'll have to find you own way home, as she ran her fingers through my hair (we lived 20 miles from town) and drove off. . . to where my truck was parked. I was back there within 5 or 10 minutes and he was waiting for me alone.
    Said his friends offered to take him home with them but he was pretty sure I'd be back.
    I got a million stories like those and some he pulled on me. . . like wispering to the Wal-Mart cashier I was kidnapping him or telling the guard at the airport his g'mother had a gun in her purse.

  10. Sorry, I don't have much intelligence to present.

    I am just mesmerized by the Mr. Potato Head.

  11. The story of your father pretending to flush himself down is way way funny. I couldn't stop laughing!

    You have a great family. its wonderful to be happy with them.

  12. Sagacious, Man, I hope you blog about those stories. I kicked Xavier out of my car many a time for sassing and being disrespectful when he was middle school - always next to a bus stop though. Their testosterone kicks in and they swear they're the alpha dog. Thank God most 'em settle down.

    I think the story where your son whispered to the Wal-Mart cashier that you were kidnapping him made me laugh the hardest! And the airport story, well, on the last family vacation with my mother, she joked with the guard that she had a bomb. 2002 was not the year to be doing that sort of thing, and the lady said if she weren't so old she'd do a total search on her. Family is a trip; love 'em so much.

    Kofi, Um, you can probably still find a Mr. Potato Head on Ebay, right in time for the holidays! ;)

    Miriam, The toilet flushing story is one of my favorite funny memories. Thanks!

  13. LOL. That's something the Professor would do. Must be a social worker thing, lol. Me, I hardly ever try to fool my kid. I don't know why. But I always help him debunk myths and tell him all about false advertising. I do tease him about his girl-crushes though. He hates when I do that.

    That was funny though. Thanks.

  14. LOL! That was a riot! Kids can be so gullable especially if you act indignant...LOL

  15. That makes me want to have kids.

  16. Great stories!! I thought it was just my weird family that did those kinds of things.

    Expressions for Cassie: "I know you're lying; your lips are moving," Dad to me. And me to Dad, "Now I know why your eyes are brown! Because you're full of it up to the top."

    Just last fall we got each other pretty good. We joke about money all the time, each claiming the other is worth a small fortunate. (We're both employed, but beyond that we're certainly not wealthy.) Dad claimed to be charging me for the tailgate: $50 per person admission, and a $250 cover charge for the privilege of tailgating with Mountain Daddy. I took careful note of the cost.

    When I got there, he demanded his money. I counted out $400 dollars (for me, Ruppie and my cousin that I brought)and paid in Monopoly money (that you can print out on the Parker Brothers web page.)

    Fair warning, Kit: the kids WILL turn it around at some point! ;-)

  17. Mountain Laurel, "I counted out $400 dollars... and paid in Monopoly money...


    ABrownGirlGoneGay, They do bring a lot of sunshine into your life, but like the weather, parenting has it's storms.

    Lovebabz, Good training for them for this wicked world. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Bear Maiden, Nah, ain't no social worker thing. My folks did it and they weren't.

  18. You are a master storyteller.

    And I mess with my little boy's head all the time.

    It is so much fun.

  19. This is just mean. Mean I tell ya!! Lol...just kidding.

    Very cute story.

    Happy Turkey Day to you and yours Kit!!

  20. Monk, Thanks, and Happy Turkey Day to you too hon!

    Big Man, It's so much fun, ain't it? Heh-heh! And thanks for that wonderful compliment.

  21. This reminded me of the time my mom tried to convince me that the strange looking bread on my grilled cheese sandwich was a "New kind" of white bread.

    "What about these seeds? It looks like rye bread."

    "It's not. It's white bread."

    Yeah, real fucking funny.

  22. Hey there!!

    Now that is soooo funny!!

    Reading in the dark!!*LOL*

    It reminds me of a story that family members tell me that I don't actually remember...they tell me that when I was 2 or 3 that I woke up to see snow on the ground for the first time when I looked out of my window. I ran to my parent's bedroom screaming, "daddy! daddy! how did you do THAT?"

    Every where we went in the car, I saw "daddy's snow" on other people's lawns... "because daddy likes to share" he said. I was sooo proud that he shared his snow with EVERYONE!

  23. I just found your blog through Google Reader and I have to say that I love it.
    While I didn't vote for Mr. Obama, due to the fact that he and I have different views on abortion, I am thrilled that my children are going to get to witness history when he takes his oath of office next month. I hold out hope that he can deliver his vision and turn this country around.
    Your great love for your children shines through your words, and I really wish my kids where small enough so that I could convince them that I flushed myself down the toilet. That was just awesome and reading that was a great way to start my day.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Goodness, what a heavy comment for such a light-hearted post. My apologies.

  24. Good post. Good writing. Speaking of good writing, I selected you for the Superior Scribbler Award. It's an award given to blogers who consistently write quality posts and convey concepts and perspective clearly. I know your awards are piling up, but I think this is an important award, an award you so richly deserve.

    Check my blog for the details. Congrats!


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