Vinnie and his mom and dad are sitting at the dining room table. Vinnie’s mom takes a sip of wine and touches Vinnie’s dad’s forearm. This is the parent signal, for a parent to talk to the child. Vinnie’s dad, often confuses signals.
Vinnie’s dad says, “Can I get you more wine, Dear?”
Vinnie’s mom goes for the direct approach, “You were going to ask Vinnie about his day at school?”
Vinnie’s dad not wanting to travel down this path, says, “I was?”
Vinnie interrupts his parents, “I’m finished, Mom. Can I go to Joey’s house and play for a while?”
Vinnie’s dad, happy for the interruption, takes another ladle of soup out of the crock pot.
Vinnie’s mom says, “We are at the dinner table. You are going to tell your dad all about school and don’t leave anything out.”
“Do I have to, Mom? Do I have to tell Dad about the times I went to the boy’s restroom? I really want to go to Joey’s house. It’s important, Mom.”
Vinnie’s mom sets her wine glass down and leans in toward Vinnie, “Vincent, don’t play games with me. What is so important at Joey’s house? Tell me the truth.”
“Joey’s mom always lets me eat there. She’s a great cook. Joey said they were having lasagna tonight. Joey said he’d ask his mom to save me a plate.”
“What was wrong with my soup? Your bowl is still half full.”
“I don’t like kale, Mom. I don’t like broccoli. And, if I eat a lot of the beans you put in the soup, Dexter will leave my room. Can I go, Mom?”
“I only give you what is good for your body. You have to finish your soup. Now tell Dad about your day.”
Vinnie glances over at his dad who is trying to figure out how to play this. At the moment, he has no clue. Vinnie says, “I had the best day, Dad. I talked to Mrs. Nokowski three times. I talked to Pete the custodian. I did all my homework. And, the best part, Mrs. Navis had us tell about our vacations and I told the best story. The class was laughing out loud and Mrs. Navis, because she is really very mean, made me stop before I got to the best parts of my story. Then she sent me to the office to see Mrs. Nokowski. I thought she was going to put me in time out because I couldn’t stop laughing at my story. That’s about it, Dad.”
“That sounds like a pretty good day, Vinnie. What’s going on at school tomorrow?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Whoa, whoa. Tell Dad a little of your story about our vacation,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie smiles and says, “We left in our SUV and took Dexter and Rupert and had the best vacation ever. Can I go to Joey’s house now, Mom?”
“Vincent! Do not do this or you are going straight to your room,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Ah, Mom. This is part of our vacation story that got me sent to the office. We stopped in Amarillo and we didn’t have any money to buy gas or food since you got fired from your job, Dad. Mom said it was okay that you got fired because you are always getting fired from your jobs. She already pack some cardboard signs we could hold at the street corners saying ‘See the smartest dog in the world. Cost one dollar.’ We didn’t make any money so Mom said we should rob the gas station.’ That’s when I got sent to the office.”
Vinnie’s dad makes a poor attempt at looking serious. He says, “You know everything you said isn’t true.”
“We did stop in Amarillo, Dad. That part was true,” says Vinnie.
Vinnie’s mom intervenes, “You were not telling the truth, Vincent.”
“But, Mom. Mrs. Navis never said we had to tell the truth. If I told about our vacation it would have been boring except for the parts about the motels, the restaurants, the policeman stopping Dad and making him turnaround to get Dexter. And Dad being afraid to fight the motorcycle gang.”
“What are you talking about?” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Don’t you remember when Rupert asked you if you could take the Motorcycle guy with all the tattoos and the bandana wrapped around his head?”
Vinnie’s mom says, “It’s more than full-time job, Dear. Are you beginning to understand?” She changes the subject, “Vincent, tomorrow you have to tell Mrs. Navis about the science project you are planning. What are your plans? I’m sure Dad wants to hear all about them.”
Vinnie’s dad doesn’t want to hear about the plans, but he knows he better say he does. He says, “Maybe I can help. I’m pretty good at science. Are you going to grow bean plants in two different kinds of light?”
Vinnie breaks into a wide smile, “You’re kidding, right, Dad. Nobody does that anymore. That is so lame.”
Vinnie’s mom takes another sip of wine. and turns toward Vinnie’s dad. Vinnie’s dad says, “What are your ideas?”
“This is the best one yet, Dad. I’m going to make electricity.”
“That’s sounds good. She’ll go for that idea.”
Vinnie’s mom knows there is more to this idea than Vinnie let on. She prods, “How do you plan to make the electricity, Vinnie?”
Vinnie says, “The first thing I need is a basket of cow manure. If you can’t get that I can use Dexter’s poop. Think of it Dad …”
“I don’t want to think of it, Vinnie. Do you have a different idea?”
“You bet, Dad. The first thing I’ll need is two hundred night crawlers.”
“Oh my God,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“You talking to God again, Mom?”