The other night my television cable service stopped. Unfortunately, my cable provider is also responsible for my internet. Radio reception is poor in my condominium building and I didn’t have any books to read so I was starved for entertainment. I sat back in my comfortable chair and stretched out. My eyes focused upon a curio cabinet with a photograph of my late father. It wasn’t long before my mind took a stroll down memory lane as I recalled certain events with a wistful smile. My mother was a teacher and specialized in mathematics. My mother also taught me in public school and it was a delicate balancing act for the both of us. Specifically, it was an unwritten rule that any math homework I needed help with fell upon the shoulders of my father. I remembered one particular evening sitting at the dining room table with pop as he assisted me with my numbers. I was just a tot at the time and my mathematical acumen left much to be desired. Dad was pretty sharp when it came to math and my sister was a whiz too.
Even our cat had a better grasp of numbers than I. How embarrassing would it be for my mother if I turned out to be a simpleton when it came to the abstract study of the quantity of numbers? And that is exactly what mathematics has always been to me, abstract. My father knew I was more of a creative kid and he figured if he used a visual demonstration my thick head would clear and I’d become another Einstein. Dear ol’ dad said that if there were twenty apples on the table and he put eleven of them under the table, how many apples would be left? I sat there swinging my little legs on the chair and my left brain took command. I frowned, looked at my father quizzically and asked him why he would put apples under the table. I could see the frustration building in his face as he stood and muttered an expletive. Mom came in and helped me with the rest of my homework but to this day I still question the choice of locating the eleven apples under the table. Next is what we in our family call `The Police Scanner Incident’. It was years after the math fiasco and my mother had taken a huge interest in all things law enforcement. She had even considered leaving education to become a police officer but a few cop friends had talked her out of such a vocation. However, mom wanted to be close to the action and bought a police scanner so she could listen to the goings-on of the Hamilton Police Department.
Our house didn’t have air conditioning and it was a brutally hot night. My mother was listening to the scanner while dad and I sat in the television room watching a ball game. My father had rigged the scanner to their bedroom so she could listen but the wires stretched the length of the hallway and crossed in front of the TV room. I went to get a drink and my father reminded me to step over the wires. Being a smart-mouthed teen I shrugged off his concern with a grunt and he summarily warned me to watch my step both figuratively and literally. I dramatically high-stepped over the wires, retrieved my drink and highstepped over the wires again as my father looked at me with eyes that could make you shiver. Mom’s police scanner squawked and there was a commercial on television so pop decided he wanted a sandwich. I barely glanced at him as he left the room before I heard a thunderous crash. I quickly stood and saw that the scanner had been yanked out of my parent’s bedroom.
I slowly peered around the corner and there was my father in a crumpled heap with the wiring tangled about his feet. Our eyes met and even though I do not believe in ESP I sensed that one word or a curl of my lips or even a twinkle in my eye would result in a missing person’s report on said scanner. I helped him up, excused myself and went to my bedroom where I laughed into my pillow. You may be wondering why I haven’t divulged any gems about my mother. The reason is she is thankfully still with us and can still kick my ass. The cable came back on but I didn’t care. There’s no greater entertainment than the memories of loved ones.
By: Ben Guyatt
Ben Guyatt is a stand-up comedian and a published author- visit www.amazon.com. He also hosts The Ben Guyatt Show every Sunday at 9 pm on AM 900 CHML.