Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Sack of Potatoes

I wrote this story some 16 years ago about my stepson, Jaron. He had an interesting few years early on, and I sometimes wondered if his mom's predictions about clown college were going to come to fruition (notwithstanding his dislike of clownfolk). He just recently turned 21, and I have to say that I'm very proud of him. He's currently in his second semester on exchange in Spain, has bankrolled most of his college education, and has a far clearer goal in life than I did at his age.

Shhhewwwww! Pwuchhhhh! That’ll teach ya, Skeletor!” Skeletor backflips into the empty space behind him and crashes to the brownish pile carpet. “Oops. Sertaman lost his cape!” Jaron squeezes the small red cloth square around the overdeveloped neck of Superman.
“Skeletor’s dead, Jaron. He can’t get back up.” My lifeless animator, still weakly grasping an inert hunk of blue and violet plastic, remains pile ridden.
“But you gotta be the bad guy,” says Jaron with a hint of impatience in his voice. SuprJaron, a two and a half foot imitation of the chunk of plastic he calls “Sertaman.” His little red Jockeys are pulled over his blue and red pajamas. “Make Skeletor get up.”
“Doesn’t work that way. Dead is dead. Skeletor can’t get up anymore.” Jaron’s uncomprehending blue-eyed stare betrays his five-year-old conception of mortality. The little man of steel flies off leaving Skeletor’s inanimate non-biodegradeable mass on the living-room floor.
The boy/man of steel changes back into his mild-mannered alter ego, trading his pajamas for jeans, a sweatshirt, and burgundy penny loafers, pennied of course. He slides up to my side with one hand grasping an old cloth diaper and his other hand seeking some unidentifiable nasal objective. He notices me niticing him and ends his excavation. “Are you… are you… gonna go bowling with Mommy and me?”
“I can’t go bowling, but I’m going to try to meet you a little later. Hopefully, I’ll get there before you turn into a sack of potatoes.”
“A sack a’ p’tatoes?”
“Yeah. You turn into a sack of potatoes around 10:30.”
“I do not,” says Jaron, emphasizing each word with a giggle.
“Oh, yes, you do. I saw you turn into a sack of potatoes last week.”
“No way. I didn’t turn into p’tatoes.”
“Oh yeah. At 10:30 you turned into a sack of potatoes. Do you know how hard it is to put jammies on a sack of potatoes?”
“You’re funny!” Jaron’s laugh slips through a tiny space between his teeth and tongue. “P’tatoes.”
10:30 at B’n’B, Mommy holds a blissful sack of potatoes with its head resting on her shoulder. I help her wrestle a coat around its arms without disturbing its rest. Sleepily, the little sack of potatoes stirs. “My hat,” it calls as it once again takes on the stature of a little boy, then fades back into the overwhelming heaviness of youthful slumber.
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