Monday, April 30, 2007

Down In The Drain

Parenting seems difficult, though it’s actually pretty simple stuff. I make it sound harder than it is here for comic effect. The truth is you only need a few things to be a parent. Now, these are important, so any of you who might be expecting should write these down and stick them in whatever book you're reading that purports to teach you how to raise your child. For basic child rearing, you’re going to need an infinite amount of compassion and patience, a TV, cookies, a stern voice, grandparents, a bedroom door that locks and a drain snake. That’s it. That’s all you’ll need to take care of your child until he or she is at least nine-and-a-half. That’s as high as my experience goes.

Upon arriving home this evening, I took my post-work shower. I needed one doubly bad tonight because I spent an hour and a half at 201 Poplar paying a ticket for expired car tags. You local Memphians know just what I’m talking about and why that bar of soap and loofah were so important to me tonight. The shower wasn’t as refreshing as it should have been, though, because I was standing in water up to my ankles. Afterwards, I got my trusty drain snake and worked that drain until it gave up its obstruction. I can’t think about that obstruction now without throwing up a little, so I won’t describe it to you. Those of you who know me will enjoy the image, however, of me crouched down in the still-damp tub, my hands sliding all over that porcelain, trying to get who-knows-what out of the drain. I used 60-grit sandpaper to clean up afterwards.

Our drain clogs because we now have six people using one tub. Not all at once, of course, there’s a two-person maximum. Someday soon we hope to have a larger house, or at least an extra tub. And a bedroom door that locks. And possibly more patience as I watch what little I still have run down the drain with nothing to stop it but a wiry, wet nest of hair which falls out due, ironically, to the stress of raising all these kids.