Monday, February 18, 2008

Lester is a hobo that lives in our attic

Lester is a hobo that lives in our attic. We’ve never seen him but we think he is fairly educated, keeps himself clean, doesn’t smoke, and loves junk food. Let me explain.

“It wasn’t me.” is not something my 12-year old son Billy (not his real name) gets to say very often in our house. He is an only child and I am a single parent. So if something has been moved, broken, eaten, frozen in a Ziploc bag of water, nailed to the tree in the backyard or cleverly placed behind the wheel of the car ready to be steamrolled when I back out - and I know it wasn’t me – he is immediately implicated. He never gets to say “I didn’t break the tips of your good knives trying to open the tiny screws on the Bop It battery pack…Joey did!”. This has gone on his whole life. Sometimes I feel sorry for him because every kid should get the opportunity to see how devious he can be without getting caught. It’s as much a natural part of childhood as eating dirt.

I’m not sure of the exact date we discovered Lester, but I’m pretty sure it happened where most of our great ideas are born….in the bathtub. When my son was still young enough for baths, I’d sit outside the tub on the floor and we’d make up games. Our favorite game was one with Big Red, a plastic, masked, Power Rangers action figure. Though full-grown with Schwarzenegger biceps and a tricked-out superhero suit, Big Red was just a kid, about the same age as Billy (funny how that goes). Every morning, Big Red would wake up to find that he was the only person around on the planet. No parents, no teachers, no policemen. After dancing around in glee, Big Red went about his fantasy day eating skittles for breakfast and wearing the same clothes he did the day before. He didn’t brush his teeth, say “please” or “thank you” or look both ways before crossing the street. He ate cake with his hands, didn’t do his homework, shouted all the curse words he knew and flipped the bird to invisible passers-by. Then he’d return home and fall asleep, exhausted from his day of freedom.

Another favorite bathtub game is where Billy tucks coins in the cracks of his aircraft models and tests how fast they sink. This one is fun but a pain in the butt to clean up. Model glue doesn’t hold up too well in water, which means I get to dig gray plastic machine guns and ammunition rounds out of the drain and scrape WWII decals off the bottom of the tub.

So it was during one bath that we created Lester. We both wanted a break from being the only ones in the house who ever got blamed for anything. There was something in it for me, too. It’d be kind of nice if someone else took the fall for burning dinner, forgetting to add Izzies to the grocery list, or leaving the wet clothes in the washer until they stunk so bad they needed to be rewashed. Not sure just how Lester got his name but the big Listerine bottle that sits in full view from the tub might offer a clue.

So Lester is a now a welcome stow-away in our house. We’re convinced he watches movies with us, pilfers snacks while we are at school and work, and surfs the net in my home office. He sometimes leaves candy wrappers on the floor, crumbs on the furniture, and his clothes often fall a foot or two shy of the laundry basket, but we like having him around. He often leaves his bike in the driveway and his Lego pieces are always getting caught in the vacuum, but he doesn’t seem to mind taking the wrap. He’s very gracious that way. He has become such a regular part of our family that Billy suggested maybe he should share in the chores, too ☺

1 comment:

Mercedes said...

Hey Holly,

Thanks for the laugh. I was on Twitter and thought I'd look you up. I have known many Lesters myself! Just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your writing and that I'm so glad your brother is ok. And that Asia rocks, am listening to Only Time Will Tell right now in fact, although I sometimes get them mixed up with Toto...

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