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He Doesn't Look Stupid, Does He?
Meet Rich… my younger brother. He doesn’t look dumb does he?
However, at age’s four to seven that question might have been debatable. Rich had a knack for getting into the oddest predicaments imaginable. They say “curiosity killed the cat," If that’s so, Rich is most fortunate to be alive. He had the “What would happen if…” syndrome. Surprisingly, our Dad didn’t have a nervous breakdown or die of heart failure, what with all the dumb things we did growing up.
I believe the first act of insanity Rich ever displayed was with Dad’s brand new watch. (Child physcologists should pay attention.) If you don’t believe excessive exposure to television has an effect on children, this is proof positive.
Most “baby boomers” can remember the popular “Timex” watch commercials back in the 60’s. Their slogan was “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” Well, future “Myth Buster” Rich, decided to test this theory. Dad had decided to take a nap on the sofa and placed his new wrist watch on the coffee table. He should have known better. Things around our house, if they weren’t tied, nailed or screwed down, automatically disappeared into “I don’t know Land". (Where did my watch go?” “I don’t know.”) I think it’s down next to lower Egypt somewhere.
To continue, Rich and the watch made a disappearing act to the upstairs bathroom where experiments and testing began. Dad was aroused from peaceful slumber by repeated flushing of the upstairs toilet. Bewildered, he went to investigate. Horrified, he found Rich holding his watch under water in the toilet and flushing it. Of course, there was a logical explanation. He was “giving the watch a bath”! Naturally, what else would you do with a new watch? (The rest of this scene has been deleted due to the nature of its’ violent content.) By the way, the watch was still ticking.
The next true life tale involved our next door neighbors’ classic 1952, dark green, Chevrolet sedan and my youngest brother Dave. He must have been about six years old. It happened in 1964 when dad was stationed at Camarillo Air Force Base, California and we lived in base housing.
It was a typical, sunny California day and Dave was wandering around trying to find something to do. Apparently he had come across several buckets of paint and a brush next to our neighbor’s trash can. The paint was an ugly light blue green, which explains why it was in the trash. Dave, however, considered it a real treasure. Now, what could an enterprising young lad of six find to do with two buckets of God awful, ugly paint?
Dave spied the green 1952 Chevy. You must have figured this one out by now. Yep. He starts painting the car! It was about this time I came home and found him about half way done with the hood. This could not end well.
I had the unfortunate duty of informing Mom of the fiasco taking place next door. She panicked, but had the presence of mind to gather up her “troops”. We spent the next few hours trying to remove the hideous color from the car before our neighbor discovered what had happened. No such luck. The owner came out and froze in his tracks, mouth agape. Dad also arrived home from work at this time and did the same. When the initial shock wore off, Dad and our neighbor held a summit meeting to decide what to do. Dad offered to buy the car, which he had no use for since we were being sent overseas to Wiesbaden, Germany in several months. It was finally decided Dad would pay for a new paint job and everybody went home satisfied.
Our neighbor was a kind man and held no hard feelings about the incident. But, for years to come, I bet he’d still be telling that story. “Hey, let me tell you about the crazy kid next door who…”!