4 Comments

To Whom It May Concern (pt. 2)

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Image by cindy47452 via Flickr

Novels aren’t the only place you can use a letter to tell a story. In response to this week’s Weekend Assignment, here’s an old humor clip of mine that uses the letter format.

A Clean Getaway Originally appeared: Family Circle Magazine 5/15/01
© Barbara A. Tyler

A CLEAN GETAWAY

Dear Kids:

Don’t be alarmed, the world isn’t coming to an end. I am simply taking a bath. It will take approximately 20-30 minutes and will involve soap and water. Yes, I know how to swim. Even if I didn’t, forcing myself to drown in a half-inch of lukewarm water is more work than I’ve got energy for. (Which reminds me, I’m all for science but the next time you want to see if Play Doh floats, use cold water.) Don’t panic if I’m not out right on time. I’ve heard that people don’t dissolve in water and I’d like to test the theory.

While I’m in the tub, I’d like you to remember a few things:

The large slab of wood between us is called a door. Do not bang on it to hear my voice. I promise that even though you can’t see me, I AM on the other side. I’m not digging an escape tunnel and running for the border, no matter what I said a little while ago. I didn’t mean it. Honest.

There will be plenty of time later to tell me about your day. Later means at a time when I am no longer naked and wet and contemplating bubble gum in the blow dryer. I know you have important things to tell me. Please let one of them be that you have invented a new way to blow bubbles, not a new way to add gum to your hair.

Believe it or not, shouting “Telephone!” through the closed bathroom door will not make the phone stop ringing. Answer it and take a message. Since Amazing Mind-Reading Mom has the day off, you’ll need to write that message down. Use paper and a pencil. Do not use your brother and the laundry marker. We can’t send him to school with telephone number tattoos.

Water makes me wet, not deaf. I can still tell the difference between the sound of “nothing” and the sound of a child playing the piano with a basketball. I can also hear you tattling at the top of your lungs. I’m choosing not to answer you. Don’t call your dad at work and tell him I am unconscious in the bathroom. He didn’t appreciate it last time. He won’t appreciate it this time. Trust me.

No matter how much I would like it, water does not make me forgetful. I remember who you are and why you are grounded. No, you can’t go to Shelby’s house to play.

No, you can’t go to Shelby’s house to use the bathroom. If someone is in our other bathroom, you will just have to think dry thoughts and wait. Unless you have four feet and a tail, do not think of going outside to “water” the lawn. I know the dog does it. The neighbors don’t feel the need to call me when the dog does it.

Unless the house catches fire, stay inside and keep the doors locked. Do not go outside and throw rocks at the bathroom window to get my attention. I know it works in the movies. This is reality, the place where people don’t like to sit in a tub while rocks and broken glass rain in on them.

Do not set the house on fire.

Call me if there is an emergency. Emergencies are:

1. Dad has fallen off the roof.

2. Your brother and/or sister is bleeding.

3. There’s a red fire truck in front of our house.

Emergencies are NOT:

1. Dad has fallen asleep.

2. Someone on TV is bleeding.

3. There’s a red pickup truck in front of our house.

One other thing, before I forget. Being forced to use the last roll of toilet paper for a towel does not make me happy. It makes me sticky with little white polka-dots. In the future, when the tub overflows, use a mop to clean up the water instead of every towel in the house. For my sanity’s sake let’s just pretend it was the tub, okay? No, I don’t want to hear the real story. Ever. Especially not while I’m standing in the pool of water you missed. (P.S. all Play Doh experiments are hereby cancelled.)

Be good. Entertain yourselves. Yes, you can do both things at the same time. Try coloring, playing a game, or paying that stack of bills on the coffee table. I’ll be out soon. Maybe.

Love,

Mom

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4 comments on “To Whom It May Concern (pt. 2)

  1. Dear Barb,

    Thank you for sharing your past letter to your children with me. It truly made me laugh out loud. You’re very good at doing that. Fortunately, this time, I was not in a public place, like the university library, when it happened. Forget testy librarians going “shh.” You should experience the ire of a student who just messed up their online test because the person next to them snorted a soft drink through their nose.

    Thank you for the laugh. I needed it. I apologize if this is short, but I was just on my to purchase some Play-Doh for some experiments I’ve been planning.

    Safe journeys.

    Lori A. Basiewicz
    Imaginary Friend & Writer

  2. Alas, no. That would be too much like giving him caffeine AND sugar. At the same time.

    Besides, with the tales of his truck (complete with dramatic actions), I’d face stiff competition.

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