October 12, 2006

A Play A Day #182

Don't Do What I Done


Setting: Sofa. End table. Living room.

Dad: Well, son, you're almost twenty now...

Son: I'm eleven.

Dad: ... yep, you'll be leaving the house soon...

Son: No, I can't... mom says it's time for bed.

Dad: Venturing out into this big ol' world...

Son: I am sleepin' over at Nick's house on Saturday!

Dad: ... you're a man now.

Son: I'm in sixth grade.

Dad: Now, I need to talk to you... man-to-man.

Son: (long pause) Should I get mom?

Dad: No, son... just us guys here tonight. Now, on the face of it, you might think your old man is some sort of superhero dad guy...

Son: Well...... I....

Dad: Find me infallible? I appreciate the kind words, son, but the truth is somewhat removed from that rose-tinted reality.

Son: Oh... uhh... I...

Dad: Find that hard to believe? Yes, me too. But, don't worry, it's not that far removed, more like... in the sights, but not in the crosshairs. Do you get it?

Son: Ummm...

Dad: I knew you would. Now, I've made my fair share of mistakes, and before you wander off by yourself in this world, I want to share some with you... sort of so you don't have to go through all the same crap I did. You can learn from my mistakes; save you the trouble.

Son: Okay... I guess...

Dad: The first one is a no-brainer... you're out drinking with buddies... make sure you always drink your beer out of bottles, preferably long necks. You might ask me "why?"

Son: (pause) Ohhh... why?

Dad: Glad you asked. Two reasons: Because an empty bottle is a helluva lot more effective in a bar fight than an empty can, and because they provide at least one other way to enjoy yourself or others during the boring hours of any bar-fight-related hostage stand-off.

Son: Uhhh... like what?

Dad: (adjusts his seating position with a grimace) You'll figure it out when you get there, but, ummm, don't be too enthusiastic about it when that special moment comes along.

Son: Okay... was that it, dad? 'Cuz I'm supposed to be...

Dad: No, no... no, there's more, son... super glue.

Son: Super glue?

Dad: Super glue. As in: always carry a tube of...

Son: Why?

Dad: Again, two reason: First; it's very handy for temporary repairs of almost anything. Second; most large stab wounds can be glued shut for long enough to get to the emergency room.

Son: Really... with super glue!? That's awesome!

Dad: Yes, it is awesome, son... I hope you get a chance to see it in action. Ohhh! Almost forgot... special corollary to the stab wounds rule... if you ever do get too enthusiastic with the long neck, DO NOT use super glue to mend that gash!

Son: Uhhh... okay...

Dad: Now, regarding money... never, ever stand on principle in the face of a large cash payoff.

Son: What?

Dad: Well, it's like this... in your stable are three prize-winning horses... these horses are beautiful... all the jockeys want to ride these horses... these horses are really, really fun to ride... then along comes a new jockey, he has heard of these three horses, and he also wants to ride them... he says he will pay you as much money as all the other jockeys combined to ride these three horses. Are you with me so far?

Son: Yeah... horses.

Dad: Now, the problem is this new jockey ain't so good to the horses he rides, sometimes no one ever sees those horses again after he rides them... all the other jockeys know this, you know this... but it's a lot of money... what do you do?

Son: You save your horses otherwise you won't win any more prizes.

Dad: (hanging head in shame, then gives him an affectionate ruffling of his hair, speaks in a condescending tone) Sure, kid, I'm sure that's what you would have done, if you were me. You young bucks, crazy with idealism... well, you do forget one important fact, son... you can always buy younger, better-looking horses with the money the rough jockey gives you.

Son: Oh...

Dad: Well, you'll learn....

Son: Okay... goodnight, dad.

Dad: Just hold on a moment, there's one more thing I'd like you to learn before you make your own way... marriage.

Son: Marriage.

Dad: Whatever you do, son, don't do what I done!

Son: Marry too young?

Dad: No, nothing wrong with that, you find the right girl...

Son: Marry because she's good-looking?

Dad: No, that's pretty much the only reason to get married...

Son: Marry for money?

Dad: Hell, no, that's cool with me too.

Son: What then?

Dad: Don't marry your mother.

Son: Ohhh... (looking nervous) Do you hate mom?

Dad: No! What're you talking about?

Son: You said I shouldn't marry mom... don't do what you did.

Dad: Exactly, I'm already married to her, plus she's your mother!

Son: Ohhh...

Dad: You some sorta pervert or something?

Son: No... sorry...

Dad: (picks up a bottle of beer, starts drinking, says threateningly) You better get to bed, kid. You don't wanna be around when I'm finished with this.

(Son exits quickly)

Dad: Marry his own mother! Shheeeesh, hope I don't got some sorta sicko on my hands...

(takes another swig from the bottle, lights fade as he strokes the bottle repeatedly from top to bottom)


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