My father has a weak stomach.
Several years ago, I was cleaning out his refrigerator on one of my visits and found a package of hotdogs that had been there a while. Dad, hesitant to get too close, but supervising my “toss or no-toss” operation, stops me mid throw – “Don’t throw those away!! I give them to the dog for a treat every now and then.” Flipping the package of hotdogs over in my hand, displaying a mossy green coating, I ask my dad, “You give the dog green hotdogs?!” Gagging, my dad ran to the bathroom.
Ever since then, even the mention of green hotdogs will kick off a series of gags and retching in the Old Man. It is comical to me, and I throw the words out every so often just to see if I get the same reaction. After all these years, I do. I do. <muwhahahaha>
The fish bait started out as a nice enough gesture. Last Christmas, I decided to bring a little heart back into the season and made several gifts for family members. I found a DIY Fish Bait recipe that was “sure to reel in the catfish”, using cornmeal and molasses.
The globular little balls of catfish goo in a mason jar with a bow tied around it, didn’t have quite the desired outcome from my dad, when presented Christmas morning. Actually, he ended up “forgetting” the bait in my outside fridge. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right?
Come Memorial Day, and our first camping trip of the season, however, I tucked the mason jar full of bait into the cooler to bring along. <Count: five months this jar of bait had been taking up valuable space in our fridge.>
The day was unseasonably warm and perfect for a few beers and a little fishing. I parked my lawn chair, Dad’s homemade fish bait, cooler, and pole by the water’s edge, set my hook and bobber, and threw my line in. Not wanting to open and use Dad’s Christmas present without him, I waited for him to arrive at the lake.
A few hours later, Dad shows up, with his fishing pole and tackle box in hand. I was so excited – this was going to be like old times. Just me and the Old Man, fishing. We could sit there for hours, exchanging only a few words, but it always felt like we had the most meaningful visits while we were fishing.
While Dad scoped the bank for the “perfect fishing spot”, I spun the lid off the fish bait mason jar, and peered in; the sun, while warm and inviting on my face, had been detrimental to the little balls of bait. They were a melted, gooey mess! Disgusted, and a little embarrassed by my gift to my father, I dumped the contents of the jar next to my lawn chair.
I don’t know if it was the beers or my evil, alter-ego “Carl” that likes to rear it’s ugly head every now and then, but the most hilarious, green hotdog-topping prank crept into my mind. It became more and more difficult to stifle my giggles, just anticipating my dad’s reaction.
Several minutes later, the Old Man comes sauntering back up towards me on the bank. Now was the time to put my plan in motion….
“Eww, gross, what the hell is that,” I asked, standing up and pointing to the pile of fish bait next to my chair.
Dad crept forward, his hands on his hips, the simple word of “eww” throwing him into a cautionary state.
“Looks like poop,” he exclaimed, his nose wrinkling at the thought.
“Yeah, I don’t know. That’s quite the large pile. What kind of animal would make that? It almost looks…. human.” I was setting the scene perfectly. I could see Dad’s gears spinning. He shuddered at the thought. He was primed…
I leaned down and stuck my finger, right in the middle of the pile of what my father thought was poop. I plucked a piece out, gave it a good whiff, then slowly, with added dramatic effect, tasted the “poop”.
“Oh my gawd, NOOOOOOO!!” screamed Dad, already wretching and gagging at the disgusting behavior his first-born was portraying.
Unable to control my laughter any longer I finally came clean and explained exactly what the “poop” was; it didn’t matter, the scene was already imprinted in my father’s mind, right next to the green hotdog memory.