Hump Day: Uncle Brian turns tables on favourite godson

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

My godson is a cool kid. This year, he turned 16, got his first summer job and even earned Rookie of the Year from his high school hockey team. Next up: getting his driver’s licence and learning how to shave properly.

I hope the summer job goes well. Like his mother and I have discussed, he’s got expensive tastes. Put five shirts in front of him and he’ll like the $100 one best every time. Ah, weren’t we all like that until we actually had to pay for that stuff ourselves? Yeah, that $12 shirt from the discount bin will do just fine now, thanks.

I ran into him the other day at the bank. For a change, there wasn’t a long lineup and I was able to walk right up to a teller. He saw me first and called out to me from across the bank, “Hey Brian!” (Side note: Why he hasn’t figured out that calling me “Uncle Brian” instead of just “Brian” would pretty much just cause my heart to melt and incite me to throw $20 bills at him, I’ll never know.)

We chatted for a bit and I discovered that he’d ridden his bike over. It’s quite a long haul, so I was surprised. I offered to drive him home after warning him that he’d be dead meat if he scratched my new vehicle while putting his bike in the hatch. Such a kind and loving godfather, eh?

This was after having a chuckle with one of the bank employees over my godson asking to have an appointment with a French account manager because “Je comprends better en français.” Oyyy… His grandfather — a longtime French teacher — must be spinning in his grave.

My godson’s been fodder for a couple of columns already — one after I brought him to a Moncton Wildcats game when he was about 10 years old and he knew more people than me; and one last year when I decided to show off by speeding with him in the car and my gas pedal got stuck under the floor mat and I couldn’t stop.

We survived the stuck gas pedal thanks to my drill sergeant order to him to reach under the pedal and get it unstuck. We both laughed nervously afterwards as I told him that I’d rather tell his parents the story than him. You know, maybe soften the dangerous situation by telling a few exaggerations – errrr… I mean facts – to ensure they knew I was in full control all the time. Sure I was. Yup. Knew what to do the entire time. (Waiting for lightning to strike!)

As I drove him home from the bank, I said something about a car in front of us driving too slowly and that they should speed up. He reminded me of the pedal incident and said snarkily that perhaps we should just drive the limit, grinning from ear to ear. Touché, kiddo. Touché!

Since I’ve known him his entire life and also live in the same neighbourhood, he’s perfectly comfortable with me. Sometimes he’ll knock on my door if he’s across the street in the park and needs the bathroom. Saves time instead of walking home. Makes for a faster return to the tennis game. Since I work from home, I’m usually around.

The other day, I heard a knock at the back door and the dog went completely ballistic, as she usually does. I swear, sometimes I wonder if Satan is knocking at the door the way that little dog goes on and on. I’m concerned that her pretty little head is going to pop like a balloon filled with red paint one of these days.

My godson was there along with a friend of his. I thought maybe it was a park bathroom break again, but then he plunked down a duffel bag on the kitchen floor and sheepishly asked me if I was using my stereo – a small portable one that I keep in the living room for playing music from time to time, albeit more rarely than I’d like it to be.

“You want to borrow my stereo?” I asked, a bit surprised. “Yeah, my friend and I want to listen to music at my house in the basement.” I shook my head and asked again if I understood. “So, you want to take my stereo apart and put it in the duffel bag and bring it home so you can hang out in your basement and blast music with your friend?”

Yup, that was the plan, he confirmed. Now, I’ve been around kids long enough to know when something’s up. My eyes got all squinty and I stared at him again suspiciously. I really didn’t want to send him down the street with my stereo. What if he broke it? When would I get it back?

Then, like the Grinch does every year in that iconic Christmas television special, I had a wonderfully evil idea. I asked the question that he didn’t want to hear. “Does your mother know about this?” I wondered. “Yeah,” he replied.

Now, I know his mother well enough to know the chances of her actually approving of his request were pretty much zero. “She’s not really for it,” he offered. “Oh well, then I guess we can’t do it.” He understood and left empty-handed.

The minute he shut the door, I called his mother. No “Hello?” on her end. All I heard was, “He’s not my kid!” We had a good laugh. He was determined to try, I guess. I learned a long time ago to never contradict a mother. We’re both just darn lucky he didn’t call me “Uncle Brian” when he asked for the stereo, otherwise he would have broken the secret emotional code and won the battle. Do us a favour and don’t tell him, eh?

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