By Doug Morgan

Got back to Boise about 6 PM from the trip to Nampa, Idaho after grabbing my eldest daughter, and then popped into the daycare for a quick pick-up of my younger two children.

Welcome: Instant. Noise.

I’ve created monsters, clones of myself, who take great pride in making sure I’m always aware they’re in the vehicle with me. What was once sadistic fun trying to make the inside of the car as obnoxiously loud as possible by getting them all to shout random phrases infinitely & simultaneously, is now an ongoing struggle to maintain any amount of volume control… or make it stop all together. They’ve cloned the sick little practical jokes I’ve used on them for years, re-stampeding ’em with a unique remix of humor & sarcasm & zero-to-60 MPH hullabaloo whenever they feel fit. When all four surround me I’m completely outnumbered and have to resort to light fits, or send myself to my room without desert.

Started the boxed dinner regiment, i.e  Kraft Mac-n-Cheese.

Wooden spoon in the pot. Stir the rolling waters. Prepare the bread. Teenage daughter comes in with my digital camera asking if she can film herself making funny faces in the bathroom mirror. The wooden spoon stops mid-stir. I smile at her. Of course… get some good ones!. “Sure, dad.”

About 7 minutes pass. The elbow noodles fall with hot steaming water into a colander in the sink. A few shakes to drain the water and they’re back into the pot.

Butter. Milk. Mechanically processed imitation cheese powder. Check. Check. Check. Teenage daughter back in kitchen with a Family-Trademarked suspicious crook in her eyebrow and an awkward grin I’d never really seen before… Something was off here. The cheese power was turning into mud and caking against the back of the wooden spoon.

What’s up?

“Well, I saw those pictures on your camera…”

Quick, Brain, gimmie a full summary on recent pictures taken, starting from three days ago when I last flashed the camera’s SD card memory.

Brain scans as directed… colored images shuffle past quickly… Cat. Sunset. Tablerock. Kids. Cheesy smiles from various people.

Shuffle. Shuffle. Shuffle. A blur of New Year’s eve party pictures. Dick Clark. Ball drop. Beer spilt. Beer pong table. Japanese lights. Breasts. Weird guy with bright orange Hawaiian shirt from the 70’s and a mammoth bottle of fruity bubbly. Hugs. Waves. Thumbs up. Breasts. Smiles. Laughs. My black T-shirt with two giant letter P’s imprinted on the front.

“Who’s boobs were those?” Her eyebrow speaks suddenly.

Rewind. I’m sorry… boobs? I knocked some stuck noodles off the back of the spoon back into the pot.

“Yeah, someone’s boobs are on a picture in there… you don’t know about it?”

Well… um… how could I? What in the world would I be doing with boobs on my camera? I’m certainly going to get to the bottom of this… someone at that silly party must be trying to play a sick joke here…

“Um, dad. Are you SURE you don’t know who did that?”

Well… uh… of course not! (I lied) I’m… just as shocked as you (I fibbed). Are you hungry? (I shifted gears but she wasn’t letting it go…)

“Also, how come you have a big PP on the front of your shirt? That doesn’t make any sense!”

Holy… shit… So this is when it all happens. This is when I scar her for life. This will be the moment she clings to, forever recalling the eye-popping discoveries of hidden perversions from her own father’s closet. If I explain what it all means, I’d face the possibility of being looked at as a freak from here on out. If I lie – well, then I’m at least saved for this moment… but she’ll eventually find out on her own, realize I’m lying, and then label me as a lying freak! What do I do?? The macaroni was getting colder!

Who knows how that picture got there…really…yeah… well, I set the camera down on the mantel at one point, so someone must have grabbed it. Shoot, who knows? Did you want to talk about it? …. (yeah, that should about do it).

“Nah. I don’t really care. I was just wondering.” She started scooping dinner onto small plates for her siblings. The subject was successfully diverted! We could go back to playing Yahtzee later with hot chocolate and neutral topics of conversation regarding episodes from The Suite Life of Zach and Cody! “But what about the other picture with that shirt you were wearing, dad. Why is there a big PP on your shirt??”

Please, wooden spoon and crappy cheese bi-products, take me far, far away from this horrid karma-laden irony. Deliver me from having to face this particular reality for at least another year or more. Show mercy.

No? Fine…

So, I informed her it didn’t matter and she shouldn’t of been snooping around with my camera anyway….
“Hey! But you told me…” I don’t care what you might have heard me say… Um… yeah. So leave it alone now! …And please, don’t tell you mother. Now go eat your dinner or feed it to the dogs. You know they love this stuff!

“You’re weird!”

Can you please hold this spoon while I bury myself neck-deep in sand now…

Doug Morgan is a lead contributor to zenruption. His articles on life reflect a way of viewing the world that always makes for a good story. We are always happy to plan beer drinking sessions with Doug just to hear more.