Revenge of the Relic
We all know what a tedious bother children can be, even if you like children. I myself have always kept them at a distance, knowing full well today’s bouncing bundle of joy is tomorrow’s inert financial burden, chronically needy of funds and the keys to the Oldsmobile.
But children are a blessing undisguised compared with grandchildren, who seem to come from the factory these days as ill-tempered and bad-mannered as we were in our youth only after years of practice. During a visit in the course of which I was referred to sequentially as “Gran’pa Tubby,” “Old Baldy,” and “Geezer,” I developed a countermeasure which I call Relic’s Revenge. (Cue evil laughter.)
The three of them present today, the absurdly-named Brent, Barton and Adelaide— whom I with good reason have mentally renamed Bent, Broken and Addled— have decided I should possess a “cellular” telephone, which these once-removed fruits of my loins consider more necessary to life than oxygen.
They play upon my assumed gullibility by assuring me that something the size and thickness of a soda cracker will not only allow me to telephone anyone on the planet for free, but is also as a camera and a reservoir for up to 30,000 of my favorite songs. They pooh-pooh my excuses that I don’t know anyone further away than Akron, have no need of a camera as I have seen everything I intend to, and have all of 5 favorite songs if you include advertising jingles.
“But, Gran’pa,” urges little Adelaide, the youngest, who missed her calling as a kobold, “you’ll be able to link to all your Facebook pages!” As if this were not only desirable, but as necessary as, say, the relief of Khartoum. I give her the Relic’s Revenge: my best doddering old fool smile, which sends her collapsing onto the divan whimpering like a punted Chihuahua. Brent, the eldest, steps up, whom I am certain is a reincarnee, as he has the posture, attitude and mannerisms of a Tasmanian Devil I once saw at the Bronx Zoo. He assures me, from around a garlic sardine pizza with extra Limburger, that I would be a cool geezer dude with a “cell.” For him I unleash the confused hard-of–hearing Relic’s Revenge face, which takes the wind out of his sails and sends him in a tailspin to the floor in a flurry of mixed metaphors.
This leaves only Barton, middle child of the three, and you know what they about middle children.¹ Barton, I am sure, has signed a pact with Satan which allows him to go everywhere on a “skateboard,” including up ladders and down drainpipes. He attempts the persuasive cute grandchild gambit, but he is as incapable of cute as I am of dancing a hornpipe. I give him both barrels and a small keg of elderly-codger-drifting-off-to-sleep. His despair is palpable.
Revenge is indeed sweet. And it cuts the taste of the Geritol.
¹”Leaves three, leave it be.”