Friday, July 28, 2006

Open up and Say "Hurl!"

The old lady has had her friend A visiting, along with her two kids, over the last few days and the place has been just wacky. I've been working all week, so it hasn't been that wacky for me, but upstairs -- holy shit, it's a fucking looney bin. A's kids are very sweet and well-behaved, but having extra kids in the house has made Mr. Z go off the self-control deep-end a bit. Lots of manic energy that inevitably leads to weeping jags. They've all had a lot of fun, but I think they're all going to appreciate a little down-time when things return back to normal.

Anyway, I noticed that the old lady and her friend were looking pretty haggard yesterday and, in a moment of what I can only describe as "temporary dumb-shittedness," I said, "Hey, you two should go out to dinner tomorrow night. Don't worry about the kids -- I'll feed 'em and put them to bed." I know -- what the shit, self?! But I figured it wouldn't be that bad, so what the fuck.

And you know what -- it wasn't really that bad. Now, if I always had to take care of four kids, I'd hammer a fucking railroad spike through my cortex, but for one night, no problem. I let them play some pre-dinner video games, gave them a nice healthy din-din, and then broke out the secret weapon -- "The Tasting Game."

When I was growing up, our next door neighbors would occasionally babysit and they learned us the genius that is "The Tasting Game." A very simple game -- one person is blind-folded and the others pile a bunch of shit onto a spoon and make them eat it. Then, if they don't barf, they have to guess all of the spoon's contents. It was usually pretty tame stuff -- peanut butter, raisins, maraschino cherries, pickles, chocolate syrup, olives -- it was just the combinations that made it interesting.

I kept it really tame for the kids tonight, only using breakfast cereals, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, raisins and blueberries. We did a few rounds for each kid and then I figured it was time to head up and get them ready for bed. But they insisted that I be the taster for a round.

Now think about that -- sitting at a table, blind-folded, while four kids, aged nine, seven, five and four, pile a bunch of shit onto a spoon and then make you eat it without looking. You won't see that test on "Fear Factor" because no one in their right mind would submit to such torture. Eating grubs and scorpions? No problem. Eating shit off a spoon from four kids under ten? Fuck you.

So, they're laughing their asses off for about 10 minutes and then I hear them approaching, while chanting "Eat it, eat it, eat it!" Well, I'm in it to win it, so I tell them to bring it on and I open my mouth. First off, they switched the regular spoon with a giant serving spoon. There was about 1/3 of a jar of Jif peanut butter as a base, then I tasted some Orange-Mint Icebreakers breath fresheners, along with some Cheetos, Life cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios, Marshmallow fluff, raisins, a jelly bean, and a couple other soft things that I couldn't quite identify. Could've been dried cranberries, could've been turds -- wasn't quite sure.

I panicked only for a moment, when the giant bolus of peanut butter completely sealed off my trachea and acted as a barrier to any intake of oxygen, but after working on it for a few seconds, my respiratory system kicked back in. It was really a foul concoction -- the breath mints really put it over the edge and I was pretty unsettled by the mystery chewy bits. But I finished it without gagging and managed to earn a bit of respect from my tormentors.

The rest of the night went off pretty much without a hitch. It's the Tasting Game, man. So simple, yet so powerful.

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