Photo by Karol Mazur – Fotolia
It was Valentine’s Day, a time to celebrate those we love with gifts and flowers. As a dutiful husband, I walked to the back door of our house carrying a bouquet of fresh flowers for my wife, Sarah. I heard sounds from the basement of an electronic hootenanny: Our 9-year-old son, Murphy, had his friend Silas over, and the boys were riotously playing video games (oblivious, of course, to the romantic expectations of the day).
After Silas went home, I walked into our sanctuary of a living room to deposit the flowers in a vase. Over the last couple of years, my wife and her father, a straight man’s Tim Gunn, have turned the room into a vision of an arty and elegant, picture-perfect magazine layout. On this day, as always, everything was in its right place. Well, except one thing: A red object stood out oddly from underneath a chic blue chair in the corner. I reached down and discovered that it was a pair of boy’s red underwear. This was a problem because: 1) The underwear was not my son’s and 2) They were unmistakably filled with poop.
I recoiled, put the undies back, and gathered Sarah. Her perfect living room was now a crime scene. We both bent down by the chair like a pair of CSI detectives and examined the offending object.
“These are not Murphy’s underwear,” Sarah said unequivocally. “They have to be Silas’s. You need to call his parents.”
I immediately rejected the suggestion. The phone call to Silas’s parents was going to be an extremely delicate conversation. Sarah needed to make the call, because she possesses a sweet edelweiss hum to her voice, sort of like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. On the other hand, I have a dad-tone that is as blunt as Ron Swanson’s mustache on Parks and Recreation. After a round of debate, though, Sarah deftly played her hand.
“Todd, you have to do this,” Sarah said, caressing her words. “It is Valentine’s Day.”
So it came to pass that, on a day set aside for romantic tidings, I called a married couple to ask them if their son had used our living room as a toilet.
“Hey, Jenny, it’s Todd,” I said.
“Thanks for having Silas over today,” Jenny responded cheerily.
“Our pleasure. So, Jenny, weird question: Does Silas wear red Hanes underwear?”
“Yes. Why?” Jenny replied, her words now pointy.
“Because he left them at our house today. In our living room. Under a chair. Full of poop.”
“What! Really?” Jenny squealed in protest. “Let me check with Silas.”
A few minutes later, Jenny called back aghast: Silas had confessed to the crime. He was sent over to our house and I met him at the front door. I assumed he’d be mortified. But he wasn’t. Silas strolled into our living room as cocksure as a rock star, picked up the undies, shoved them in a plastic bag, and nonchalantly walked home without a word. It was Valentine’s Day, a time to celebrate those we love with gifts and flowers (and Silas didn’t give a crap, even though he literally did).