In the process of recounting childhood stories, I've touched many times on the various methods of punishment my parents used to discipline us. They were pretty innovative, and rarely used physical force. We got sent to The Dog House, or to my parent's room, or sometimes we were forced to do something really horrible like clean stuff.
I was reminded of another punishment the other day. No Thing.
This particular punishment affected The Snitch more than it affected me or Houdini, mostly because as the human vacuum cleaner among us, he was the one who looked forward to it most.
Let me take a moment to explain about The Thing. Any given night at our house, about an hour or so before The Snitch, Houdini and I were shuffled off to bed, you might hear any of the following:
(1) "What do you want for your Thing?"
(2) "Can I have my Thing now?"
(3) "No. I told you no Thing tonight and I meant it."
Our bedtimes were staggered, however The Thing usually happened all at once. We'd all line up and get our Things, then go watch another ten minutes of TV. I know that sounds like some bizarre Scientology ritual, but it wasn't.
Here's the story. Once, when our minds were young and impressionable, my mother said, "You can each have one thing to eat before you go to bed, and that's it."
"I want a Popsicle for my Thing," I replied. "Green."
"I want a cookie for my Thing. With some ice cream," The Snitch said.
"No fair! That's two Things! Cookies and ice cream is two Things," Houdini said. "You're only supposta get one Thing."
Eventually this word rubbed off on my mother and she started saying it too. "What do you want for your Thing?" she would ask us, without batting an eye.
Even dinner guests didn't interfere with the this nightly ritual. When we all started clamoring for our "Thing" it completely mystified the guests and embarrassed my parents, who very quickly explained exactly what it was we were asking for.
Logically, you'd think it would have morphed into "What do you want for your snack?" but sadly, that didn't happen.
"Thing" it was, and "Thing" it ever shall be.
What was it that prompted me to tell you this story? Well, I happened to stumble upon this a couple of days ago and it made me laugh:
It MUST happen. IT MUST....IT MUST!
I'll have the coffee ice cream and Kahlúa. Oh, and a vote. Or is that one too many Things?
What do you guys want for your Thing?