Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Driving Diversions

Now that the toll on the Coquihalla highway is gone, I’m sure you’ll agree there isn’t much thrill in driving it naked anymore is there?

I did experience one last bit of fun at the toll booths the other day. I drove forward and backward through one of the toll stations several times, not just to relive the naughty joy of it all, but to revel in the fact I could do so now without paying.

To a skinflint such as myself this is high living let me assure you.

Anyway, it lead me to think of other entertaining activities undertaken while driving.

When I was growing up we usually drove in a Volkswagen bus with the middle seat removed. We’d lay on foam mattresses and amuse ourselves endlessly – ‘steering’ Dad’s ears, holding up ‘I’m being kidnapped!’ signs to passing motorists, bashing our heads on the sharp corners of the overhead air conditioner – you know, the usual stuff.

We didn’t even consider wearing seatbelts – even if they were available. Parents then were either oblivious to the danger or simply didn’t care. Our bus was so slow it would get bug splats on the rear windshield so it didn’t really matter anyway.

Our drives were also unbearably lengthy, sometimes as long as 3 hours if you can imagine the torture. Desperate parents would resort to idiotic things like pointing out interesting mileage numbers approaching, with a live play by play commentary and some family photographs of the great event for good measure.

It was on one of these long, boring journeys that a family legend was born. Why yes, it did involve me and how thoughtful of you to guess!

We refer to it simply as the “Help Me! Help Me!” episode.

You’ll be pleased to know that what follows is extremely gross and may be unsuitable for more mature readers. Kids will love it though.

We were having a “Who can make their face the reddest” contest. You’ll recall these events – hold your breath, grunt like you’re giving birth, and see how red/purple you can make your face. Simple really. Good training for fighter pilots. Or future hemorrhoid sufferers. Something like that.

So it came to my turn, and until the Great Blast, I was doing pretty well. My face was hot with the red iridescence pluming up my cheeks, my form was good, and the judges were nodding in approval.

I was on my way to another championship I thought.

Then it happened. Someone made me laugh, and instead of exhaling out my mouth like a normal person, I let fly with enormous pressure entirely through my nose for some disgusting reason.

The collective mucus of my pre-pubescent body, from my ankles on up, came exploding out of each nostril in massive snakes of grayish green uh, material.

Head bowed and not knowing what to do, but knowing I was probably in trouble, I started yelling “Help me! Help me!”

Of course this came out something like “Hep knee! Hep knee!” since I had enormous tubes of snot dangling from my face down to the floor of the bus.

I’m not kidding about enormous. These things were about an inch in diameter and over two feet long. Kleenex alone was not going to work here – I needed a bucket.

Of course my siblings did nothing to assist me in my plight – they were too busy pointing at me in a mixture of revulsion and awe and crying with laughter.

Here I had the entire contents of both lungs and most of my head hanging out of my proboscis and no one lifted a finger to help. In hindsight I must have looked like some sort of freckled walrus with hideous green tusks quivering in the air in front of my bowed head.

My charming family always sees fit to remind me of this episode anytime we get together. Heads bowed they chant “Hep knee! Hep knee!”, and my wife learns still more about her charming, mature husband and his upbringing.

I just smile quietly at their collective mirth and then sneak off and maturely piddle in their suitcases.

“Hep knee” indeed.

Enjoy your breakfast!

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