Saturday, March 8, 2008

For Whom the Bell Tolls

When I was little, I was terrified by those enormous grandfather clocks. They were not only massive but the chimes could wake the dead. My grandparents had one that sat in the foyer of their huge house. I would sleep on the second floor, miles from where this clock sat and would inevitably be awakened at midnight by the chiming of this monster clock. I would cover my head with my pillow and pull up the covers to insulate myself from the ghastly clanging. It never really worked, so after I mentioned it, my grandmother rigged the chimes so they wouldn't chime. However, I still didn't like the big, scary clock in the foyer. It literally wrecked one of my afternoons.
My grandfather was a doctor. He was likely to write a prescription for a highball rather than an antibiotic. He was happy to give me cream soda and let me ride standing in the front seat of his big boat of a car while he went on a beer run. Eventually, I begged for a sip of his beer and he relented. Whatever beer he drank really hit the spot for this 4 year old! Fast forward a few days, my dad and I are getting some sun in my grandmother's gigantic garden. It seems a block away from the house. My dad asks me to get him a beer. I can do that. Off to the house I go to get the beer and a cream soda for myself. I get the beer and open it and drink about half. I take the half full beer, or half empty, however, you look at it, to my dad. He doesn't say anything. Later he asks if I will get him another. Ok, no big deal. I run the half block to the kitchen and return with another half full beer for him. He is starting to get a little suspicious of his 4 year old daughter. By now, I am getting a little antsy. Not in a falling down drunk stupor, more of, "I need to pee and I need to pee NOW." I ask my dad to take me to the bathroom because even at 4, I wasn't into peeing outside. He tells me just to go. I don't budge. See, the bathroom in the front hall sits directly across from the biggest, loudest grandfather clock in the world. Whether it is chiming or not, I am terribly afraid of this clock. What to do?
After mulling this journey of probable doom, in which I encounter the clock from hell, I decide that it is impossible to wait any longer, lest I have my young kidneys explode. I run as fast as my 4 year old legs will carry me, right past the evil clock to the bathroom with the ugly lanoleum floor. I lift up my dress and proceeded to pee all over the floor! Everyone got a laugh at the girl who peed on the bathroom floor after drinking too much of her dad's beer. Oddly enough, this story still comes up, 35 years later. Damn, clock...

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