an age that will live in infamy

April 20, 2009

I think I’ve documented pretty well the rocky start I had with my father in law, with whom now, I think I’ve also documented, I get along great, and have for years. It’s all good.

But early on, we had some moments. I was reminded of this last night. See, my boy Holden will be 11 next month. The number 11 is important here. And last night, we were at Grandma’s house for dinner, and after dinner we all lounged on the back patio, basking in the beautiful (finally) weather, while the kids played in the backyard.

Holden wanted to play some basketball, but the only ball was a bit flat, so Grandma got out a new mini pump and needle. I screwed on the needle, spit on it, and slid it into the valve. So far so good.

I pumped up the ball and pulled out the needle. Whereupon the ball started leaking quickly from the valve.

“Did you “moisten” the needle?” asked Rick.

“Duh” I said. “And that reminds me of a story.”

The Christmas after Kim and I got married, we traveled to Chicago to spend the holidays with Kim’s family. Kim’s little brother, Daniel, got a nice football for Christmas, and I helped him inflate it. I’m pretty sure we forgot Rick’s “moisten-the-needle” part. When Daniel pulled out the needle, the valve came with it. It became my job to take Daniel to the sporting goods store to return the “defective” ball.

“Did you moisten the needle?” asked the dude at the store.

I looked at Daniel, who immediately said “No.” Which reminds me of Ghostbusters, and what you should always say when someone asks you if you’re a God.


Of course, what did I expect? He was 11 years old.

I know he was 11 years old because I’ll never forget what happened later that night.

Kim’s dad took the boys to the club to play platform tennis. I had never played platform tennis, which is an awesome game involving a mini tennis court, enclosed and raised on a heated platform, making it a great Winter game.

Kim’s Dad and I played against Kim’s other younger brother, John, and 11 year old Daniel.

At a key moment in the game, I made what I thought was a pretty great shot. I was pleased.

On the way back to serve, Kim’s dad looked at me in complete disgust.

“Nice. Way to drop-shot an 11 year old.”

11 years old. Holden’s age. An age that, like Pearl Harbor, will live in infamy.

Infamy is bad, right?


14 Responses to “an age that will live in infamy”

  1. Olivia Says:

    Is “moisten the needle” code for something? Just wondering.

  2. savvymama Says:

    Clever writeup of age 11–“an age that will live
    in infamy.” I thought it was great! Does Senior
    get your blog?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    11 is the first prime number that feels legitimate. I always like to tell 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7, “Well of COURSE you’re prime. The serious counting hasn’t even gotten started yet. Being prime because you’re in the front of the line is nothing to be proud of.”

    Puts ’em in their place.

  4. mark Says:

    Dug, you’re not alone. Years ago, when we lived in Ann Arbor, our ward was playing their annual turkey bowl. It was a lopsided affair, with the bishop’s team losing badly.

    Late in the game my friend Marty is playing QB and wants to involve the ten year old kid who’d been running tirelessly all afternoon without touching the rock. The kid’s wide open, so Marty lobs a pass up to him.

    Bishop sees the pass fly and comes running from the opposite side of the field, jumps, and bats the ball out of the kid’s hands right as he’s about to catch it.

    Not sure which is worse, that or the drop shot. Nice.

  5. Rick S. Says:

    Moisten the needle is code for getting the needle moist. But what I should have said was “make sure the needle has precipitation on it” cuz Dug isn’t a fan of the word moist.

    Age is 11 is all about building character. Drop shots are fair game.

  6. erol Says:

    when i was eleven i was “drop kicked” by my father and was smoking my first joint). so having just a “drop shot” by a brother in-law doesnt even register on my scale of childhood trauma. i agree with rick….fair game.

  7. bikemike Says:

    infamy must be near detroit or atlanta, i’m not sure.

  8. stevenbpt Says:

    How else are you supposed to learn the drop shot and how to defend it? What a great teaching moment Dug!! I’m sure senior was just jealous that he didn’t get to do it.

    bikemike- I think infamy is near New Orleans, I think it is a cajun word! Dug has a second home there.

  9. jruss Says:

    I’m not sure who Anon. at 9:26pm is, but I am pretty sure that we would get along keenly.

  10. Daniel Says:

    I’m still hurt Dug. I don’t have room to speak though, I never let little kids beat me at anything. They need to learn, just like I did.

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