A Twist of Humor

This is a column with a twist of humor. A new column will be posted every Monday.

Location: Newfoundland

I was born, raised, educated, and married in Toronto. I moved to Newfoundland twenty some years ago with my wife. So far nobody has asked me to leave. My wife asking me to leave doesn't count.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Bonding Ritual

So there I was, thinking it was time to bond with my fifteen year old son again, and perhaps to also pass on some of life’s lessons to him. The wise parent will do these things in moderation, as the child usually wants no part of these rituals.

Before these rituals can start the parent has to have in his or her possession the child. It is in this fact the first obstacle is found. I was no exception in having to overcome this obstacle. My son is particularly wily at evading these rites of passage and it took me all of one morning to hunt him down.

I eventually tracked him to his closet, where he was scrunched into a ball at the bottom of his laundry hamper, cleverly camouflaged with his dirty socks and underwear. It is at moments such as these that a father allows himself to feel pride in his offspring and think the years of sacrifice have not been wasted.

Soon after I extricated him from the hamper, we found ourselves in the car on our way to a father and son bonding experience in the form of a hike along the coastline and then through some woods.

When we arrived at our destination I released my son from the trunk of the car. And there we stood, father and son, in the warm summer sunshine under a clear blue sky, staring out at the sparkling ocean watching a pod of whales breach and spout offshore. I exclaimed to my son how beautiful all this was and how lucky we were to be able to share it. I looked at him expectantly to see if he was sharing my feelings. He turned his youthful innocent face to mine and said, "You’ve seen one whale you’ve seen them all. Can we go home now?”

I wondered then if it might not be arranged for him to see a whale from the inside. Remembering why we were there I banished such uncharitable thoughts from my mind, for the moment.

With my son in tow and my compass in hand off we went to bond and explore.

Except for the day turning cooler and cloudy all was going well when I noticed my compass wasn’t working properly. I observed this malfunction around the time I realized I didn’t know where we were. Two hours previous to this, we had turned inland away from the coastline and had been walking ever since.

I shook the treacherous compass vigorously. That didn’t work. We were still lost. My son said maybe it wasn’t the compass that was the problem but rather the compass reader. With his impudence ringing in my ears I shook the compass even harder and when I looked at it again we were still lost. Obviously the compass was at fault.

I decided to make the best of the situation and pass on some outdoor lessons to my son. I said we should stay put and build a fire until we figured out a course of action. I then showed him how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. After that experiment I showed him how to start a fire with a match. We soon had a good blaze going. Admittedly it did get a little out of hand but luckily for us some heavy rains came along and doused the forest fire in no time.

The smoke that resulted from the fire wasn’t an altogether bad thing as it led a troop of girl guides to us and they led us out of the woods back to my car.

At the car I showed the faulty compass to the leader of the guides and explained how it was the reason we got lost. She took the compass from me and examined it. She then produced a map from somewhere and took some readings with the faulty compass. She looked at me and pronounced the compass to be in perfect working order.

“How odd” I said, “that a compass should give accurate readings out here in the open but erroneous ones in the woods. I’ve a good mind to write a stern letter to the manufacturer about this.”

The leader of the troop looked at me for a long moment and said, “Yes, odd would be a good description.”

At this point while I was nodding in agreement with the guide leader my son took my arm, “It’s time to go home dad,” he said. “Mom must be getting worried by now.”

While in the car driving home I told my son how happy I was to be able to share this time with him and also to share my accumulated knowledge with him.

“Dad” he said, “there is one thing you could teach me that I would find very useful. In fact it would have come in handy today. You could teach me how to hide so that no one would find me. You know, like you hide from mom when she wants you to do something that you don’t want to do - she never finds you.”

It is special moments like these that a father lives for. I absolutely glowed with pride.

© Mike Cook 2006


Blogger Katie said...

From the mouths of babes.....
I'd like to learn that one, too!
BTW we have the same problem with the compass in our car...and we refuse to get that computer thing....I've heard it can get quite bitchy when you point out the occasional error in directions..

1:07 PM  
Anonymous jan said...

This was hilarious. I didn't think anything about teenagers could be funny having lived with them. But now I know: other people's teenagers are really funny as the parents try to cope.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Rav`N said...

*lol* great story. sounds like your son has his priorities straight when it comes to elarning important life lessons

8:02 AM  
Blogger laura said...

I like to find your blog as I go through BlogMad, I always enjoy your writing. Very funny!

1:31 AM  
Blogger Leon said...

Quite interesting. Few fathers try to bond with their kids nowadays. Hats off to ya!

5:02 PM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Hiding from you seems to me to be both safe and sane. Your son shows amazing common sense for a boy if only 15.

10:47 PM  

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