Just like the good old days




††††††††††† The problem didnít start when I burned the pot roast. But thatís when everything got out of hand.

††††††††††† My wife had left precise instructions taped to the refrigerator door.

††††††††††† I just hadnít followed them.

††††††††††† When did life get so complicated that we needed instructions for everything we did, I figured.

††††††††††† Things were better when I was young, when I could wing things and hope for the best.

††††††††††† My ten year old daughter took one look at the roast and said ďthe gunkĒ would get caught up in her braces.

††††††††††† My Twelve year old son asked if you could feed the roast to his science experiment in the basement.

††††††††††† Both said I should call mom so she could tell me what to do next.

††††††††††† I threw the platter at the sink, missed, and raised a howl from our dog as the chunk of meat thumped on the floor and shards of platter stuck in his fur.

††††††††††† Then, I tore the note off the refrigerator door, ripped it up into tiny pieces and let them flutter down onto the rest of the mess.

††††††††††† How did I get to feel so helpless? I used to get places and do things without so much going wrong.

††††††††††† My daughter accused me of being in a bad mood.

††††††††††† My son said as much and fled the other way.

††††††††††† By the time my wife got home from her nursing gig at the hospital, I had finished four cans of a six pack and was well through the fifth.

††††††††††† She saw the mess in the kitchen and had a fit.

††††††††††† Then she found the kids doing an experiment that involved ink, the cat and our precious white living room rug Ė at which point she blamed me for not watching them.

††††††††††† I finished the fifth can and opened the sixth, then suggested that we chuck the house, buy a van and go cross country in an extended camping trip.

††††††††††† She said I was drunk.

††††††††††† By that time, she was right.

††††††††††† I said it was a good idea and if she didnít want to go, I would go by myself.

††††††††††† With my wife shouted after me that I was crazy, I staggered out to the garage.

††††††††††† The Volvo was not a van, but it had a half a tank of gas and I was soon out on the inter state going as fast as the curves would let me.

††††††††††† I thought I could out run the bad feelings inside me. If I went fast enough and far enough, I would no longer feel like I had become my father, and his father before him, locked into a mental state from which there was no escape.

††††††††††† I wanted the car to become a time machine Ė though I did not want to go back to my motherís teenage years, merely my own, to pick up the road where I had somehow turned off in order to become a responsible citizen.

††††††††††† Things were better back then, I told myself as my drunk mind lost track of what my sober toes were doing, and the car moved ahead at speeds the Air Force would have envied, mileage posts whipping my on the passenger side like spokes.

††††††††††† I didnít notice the cop behind me until he flicked on the siren and overhead lights.

††††††††††† I thought for a moment I might outrun him, and then envisioned the two of us crashed into some remote part of the state, and pulled over to the curb.

††††††††††† I told him I wasnít drunk when he strolled up to the window and asked for my paper work.

††††††††††† I told him I had left my wallet at home, and asked if I was under arrest.

††††††††††† He said he would hold me until someone sober came to pick me up.

††††††††††† I called my wife from the police station and told her where I was.

††††††††††† She sighed and said, ďNot again,Ē then promised to come and get me.

††††††††††† Then, I realized my wish had come true. This was just like the good old days.


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