I know that the last couple of my posts haven’t exactly been a barrel of laughs so in recognition of that, I’m going to lighten the mood considerably, and I find nothing lightens my mood half as much as LMS!
We were all in the dining room the other day, Marge, Joe, LMS and I, when Marge asked LMS which of her friends would she like to chat with on Zoom. LMS is, for reasons known only to her, remarkably resistant to this idea, but in practice less so. Anyway Marge asked again to which LMS replied by singing ‘I think we both know the answer to that one!’ which made me think of a lovechild between Ethel Merman and a barbershop quartet. That isn’t an insult, in case you think it is. LMS then – and I found this incredibly funny – proceeded to repeat this by putting the stress on a different word every time, so ‘both’ for example, became ‘bohohoth’.
Then when Marge tried to join in, LMS sang her displeasure thusly ‘Her voice is pathetic and she has a throat as crooked as witches nose.’ She then combined the two in a bizarre freestyle mash-up, the sort of thing Andrew Lloyd-Webber has made a career out of. Not just the once either, oh no, she belted it out, repeatedly. I laughed, despite myself because the worse thing is, for me at any rate, that LMS has decided that me giving any indication whatsoever that what she’s doing I find in any way amusing is worth pointing out – and that if I’m not finding it amusing, doing it until I do. That by implicating me in whatever she’s doing, it somehow renders her less culpable, ‘Mooky’s laughing, Mooky’s laughing,’ she’ll triumphantly add to whatever mischief she’s up. ‘Mooky’ being her nickname for me and never having had one before, find, to my surprise, that I quite like it.
Speaking of mischief, later that same day LMS jumped into a paddling pool full of cold water. Those who saw her do it laughed heartily at her reaction – understandable shock – and even more when she took requests, ‘get your shoulders under,’ that sort of thing. She eventually emerged shivering but delighted at the response she’d got, that she was once again the centre of everybody’s attention. Then she asked me, in the sweetest, most innocently curious way, ‘Have you ever had a bucket of cold water thrown over you?’
There are moments when you realise instantly that there are only two possible answers; wrong and wronger. This was one of them but I was reprieved by Joe’s laughter and him noting ‘Now that’s what I call a loaded question’ A while later I was sitting in the garden reading, having quite forgotten the earlier entertainment but LMS clearly hadn’t. She snuck into the garden and crept up behind my chair. Startled by her sudden appearance, I was unprepared for her swift move to turn the garden tap on, and then to hose me with cold water, first only the spray setting, but then the full on jet.
As I tried to hurriedly get out of the garden, insisting that she stop, I realised my protestations were rather undone by me laughing as I shrieked them. It was later than I realised that yes, of course I could’ve reacted like a grown-up, shouted and possibly added in some expletives, of course I could, but that would risk undoing all the trust that she has in me. That’s the thing with trust. It takes time to slowly build it yet can be undone in an instant and when it’s gone, well a child’s world is that much colder as a result.
The main reason though is that I want my ten year-old self to think well of me, to be proud that I haven’t taken the easy path, the path that he was used so often by other people treading in his childhood. It’s so instinctive a response, that some of the time I’m not even consciously aware of why I’m behaving the way I do and that’s a good thing.
I know that won’t make a lot of sense to most reading this, but do I care? Not really. I know Marge and Joe think I give LMS too much…too much, but I’ve always had moments as an adult where I think, ‘What would the ten year-old me think if I did this?’ and I always do what I think he’d want me to do. I know this is transferrance – kind of – but I think if one good thing comes out of all that..that, well that’s me choosing to turn a negative into a positive.