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This is a question Family codes and rituals

Freddy Woo writes, "as a child we used to have a 'whoever cuts doesn't choose the slice' rule with cake. It worked brilliantly, but it's left me completely anal about dividing up food - my wife just takes the piss as I ritually compare all the slice sizes."

What codes and rituals does your family have?

(, Thu 20 Nov 2008, 18:05)
Pages: Latest, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Some family rituals are better cunted in the fuck
Not a funny one.

Throughout my childhood, the only male member of my father's side of the family who didn't "have a go at me" was my father. From the age of 18 months, Uncle Thomas was caught having a fiddle inside my nappy. I remember at around four years old asking, "Mammy, why does Uncle George do nasty kisses?"
"What do you mean pet?"
"I don't like his kisses, they're all wet and he puts his tongue inside my mouth."

And so it went on. Never any nakedness or penetration, just inappropriate fondling. Constantly being told how gorgeous I was by my grandad, as he slipped £5 inside my skirt.
"Didn't you get a birthday card from uncletony this year?" my mother asked.
"Er, no. Maybe it got lost in the post?" I suggested. I had received his card - a picture of a woman wearing a wet vest, complete with sticky-out raspberries. It read, "To Sexpot, from Stinky". I was 11 or 12, and far too embarassed to put this one on display with the other cards. He was by far the worst. Every Christmas he'd buy me extortionately expensive gifts. Buying my silence. Etc.

So I grew up believing that was my purpose in life. There were frequently other adults around, none of whom seemed to react or notice anything amiss. "It must be ok then", thought my innocent little mind. "I don't like it, but none of the grown-ups ever say anything."

At 8 years old I developed alopecia. My GP diagnosed me with depression. However, my mother was discouraged from seeking any treatment for me as "it would remain on my medical and school records permanently". To say she still feels guilty about that is an understatement.

I took an overdose at 10 years old (24 paracetamol washed down with 2 litres of cider) to no avail. From 14, I began drinking really heavily, getting shitfaced to the point of oblivion. When I lost my virginity to rape 2 weeks after my 16th birthday, it wasn't any big deal - it was par for the course.

I left home at 18 to begin my nurse training. Then began my promiscuity in earnest. So absent was my self esteem, and so desperate I was for affection, I'd hop in the sack with any bloke. It was worth enduring the filth of sex to get a cuddle afterwards.


Then I found DG. Or he found me. We didn't sleep together for 4 weeks. We shared a bed, just cuddling all night. He respected me. He didn't just want sex. He wanted to know me, was interested in who I was. The more he knew, he still stuck around; accepting and respecting me regardless.

Here we are, almost 6 years later. He knows every nook and cranny of my darkness, knows all the vile things I've done over the years. And he's still here; accepting, respecting and loving me regardless. He makes me feel it's ok to be me. I'm not a bad person; I'm not dirty, contaminated goods. I'm ok.

On the 8th April next year, we're getting married at Gretna Green. Then we're in Edinburgh for the weekend, attending teh b3ta bash with lovely people. I'm more than a tad chuffed about that.
(, Sun 23 Nov 2008, 19:12, 60 replies)
The Farmer Game
When I was a little bulb, brothertulip and I would play the Farmer game on all long car journeys to pass the time. It became something of a ritual.

Basically it consisted of saying the word "Farmer" followed by another word, in an attempt to invent an amusingly named fictional agricultural labourer.

So we went through all the words we knew and, as you do when you are small, you think mildly rude words are very funny so Farmers Poo, Piddle, Plop, Bogey, Fart and Willy often made appearances in the back of my dad's Renault Five, resulting in much innocent giggling, and our long-suffering parents would concentrate on eating boiled sweets and arguing about maps.

Then last year, when I was merrily driving us to a family do, and the skies were blue and the birds were tweeting and we were enjoying some quality sibling time, my brother, who does not drive and therefore does not understand the need to be attentive and observant whilst doing so, chose to revive this long-forgotten game at the top of the motorway sliproad, and at the top of his voice.

For some reason, writing "I was momentarily distracted when my brother bellowed FARMER CUNTING FUCKSOCKS" is not acceptable on insurance claim forms.
(, Sat 22 Nov 2008, 23:39, 4 replies)
Twaddle!
There's one in my family...

A few years before she died, my grandmother moved into an old folk's home with my aunt (who is still living). Quite nice surroundings, setup and furnishings... but the atmosphere was best described as poisonous. Think back to school - there were even cliques of old ladies who used the line

"You can't sit there! That's Doris's chair!"

with complete and utter seriousness. It seems that you regress to infancy as you get old.

Now, a new gentleman had moved into the home and was welcomed, made to feel at home... and immediately accepted into the top cliques because he happened to know one of the ladies involved. And he wrote what was probably the most awful poem ever devised and posted it on the noticeboard. It wasn't the writing, it was the subject matter - praising the staff and the other members of the home, in the most... crawling, ingratiating and sunshine happy way. It was absolutely nauseating to read. I wouldn't have been surprised if the staff had stood over him and made him write it.

My grandmother, who had very little patience for bullshit and arselickers read the poem and wrote at the top in big letters the word

TWADDLE

It caused an absolute scandal! The talk of the dinner tables for quite literally the next month. The care supervisor actually went around knocking on doors for 'unrelated matters', and oh so casually dropping it into conversation and asking the poor victim if they did it. A grey-haired Spanish Inquisition with cardigans instead of robes. Fear the Granny Brigade.

My aunt found all this hilarious. And wrote the word Twaddle on the next thing to appear on the noticeboard that was of a similar tone... but she hadn't known my grandmother was responsible. Another scandal! This time there were phonecalls to the residents that got straight to the point, asking if they were the ones responsible for this terrible and malicious vandalism.

Damned senile delinquents.

A month later, my mother did it when she was visiting the home, having heard about the scandal - though she did know that my aunt had done it. She cruelly twaddled the noticeboard, in tiny letters at the bottom of a menu. There is definitely something on that side of the family - a shit-stirring gene if ever you saw one.

Cue the inquisition again, with no less fervour and much gnashing of false teeth - dental plates make such a lovely rasping noise.

When the three ladies in question found out the others had done it, there was much hilarity

And thus, it has become a family ritual to write the word "Twaddle" in random places whenever there is something crawling or pathetic.

And of course on the noticeboard at the old folk's home whenever we visit my aunt. I myself undertook my first twaddling in October, on a list of items for sale. There are no longer any scandals or inquisitions, the residents of the old folk's home seem to have accepted their terrible fate... but we can't stop now! It's a tradition!

Twaddle.
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 0:21, 5 replies)
beginnings
Every stripper scene in a movie...

Every time a woman kicked ass and took names on tv, posing afterward covered in blood and bosom heaving...

Every cheap and tawdry sex scene in some back alley, motel room or prostitute laden opium house...

My father would say "And that boys, was how I met your mother."
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 15:30, 5 replies)
Manners
I was brought up well. It's often mis-construed in the media, more so when I was a lot younger than now, that single parent families are rarely taught good manners.

With me, it was the opposite. Being brought up by just my mum, as opposed to my mum and dad (who was kicked out of the family home when I was seven and hasn't seen or spoken to me since I was nine.) meant that I have been majorly influenced by my mum. Although this manifests by me being very different in a lot of ways (quiet, shy and reflective, compared to my overly brash mum), it gave me a great start in life, as mum hated those that lied, and those that treated others badly. To this day I find lying hard to do, and if someone does it to me it can be the end of a friendship immediately.

I also grew to be polite and respectful of others. That's not to say I don't have a horrible habit of overusing the word "cunt", or that road rage passes me by. What it does mean is that I expect a certain level of politeness around me. Cut me up on the road and cause me to almost crash and you'll learn some new swear words. Immediately put your hand up by way of an apology and you'll calm me down within seconds. Yes, you fucked up, but you are big enough to realise it and say sorry.

Anyone who knows me will know that almost every day I go to my local Costa and have a large skinny latte. It doesn't matter that I can never remember if it's pronounced lar-tay or lat-tay, or that the staff in there all know me well enough that they prepeat (no idea if that's a word, but if it's not then it should be) my order to me as I reach the till. It's my local coffee shop, it's a haven from work for an hour and everyone in there has a smile on their face and the manners you'd expect from a retail place.

But going in there today, not only is there a massive queue, but there's also a brash, loud and arrogant guy behind the counter who isn't normally there. This guy, who I'll call A, is serving the customers, just asking their order, enquiring if they want any extra cakes or whipped cream on their hot chocolate and generally being quite smarmy, before immediately turning to guy B, a yard to his left and taking payments on the till, and repeating the order and then shouting to guy C, about five yards away making all of the coffees, the same order.

This process normally runs quite smoothly without guy A involved, as guy B can take orders and process payments whilst retaining the ability to not make me want to jean over and give him a slap. I've no idea why it was changed today but guy A, I'm guessing, is higher up the food chain and seems to have a point to prove.

As I ponder this in the queue, having just given my order "large skinny latte to drink in please" to guy A, I hear guy C ask a customer if they wanted whipped cream on their hot chocolate. They said that they did, so that's what they got, but not before Guy A had shouted -louder than he shouted the orders - "I've already told you to put cream on them. Listen! Ok? I need you to listen to what I'm saying in future!". All delivered with an over the top look-at-me flourish. The noise in the shop dropped momentarily, guy C caught my eye for a split second, and I'm sure he rolled his eyes slightly before turning away in embarrasment,

Point made, knob jockey A, we know who's in charge, and it's just a shame that you haven't fucked up as I'd like to see you respond to embarrasment like that.

I reflected on what had just happened. Should I say anything? Should I just be short and curt? Or should I ignore it? My train of thought was interrupted by guy A.

"So that was a small skinny lat-"

"LARGE skinny latte." i interrupted.

No apology: "LARGE skinny latte," he repeated, "to go.". His voice was raised slightly again, as he was once more directing his orders to guy C. Guy B has already rung the correct product at the correct price for me, and seemed as though he was about to turn to guy C to tell him that it was actually to drink in, not to go.

Too late.

"To drink IN," I corrected, raising my voice as I did, hoping to God that I sounded authoritative rather than pissed off.

The shop's volume fell again, "Listen, ok," I started, and with a huge grin on my face - visible only to the three guys behind the counter, and not to any customers - I continued, slowing my words so that the pronunciation was clear: "I need you to listen to what I'm saying in future..."

And that has cheered me up no end today :)
(, Tue 25 Nov 2008, 20:30, 9 replies)
That's the Power of Glove...
It’s 1985. Rakky and Daddy Rakky are out in the car, almost inevitably to buy some kind of tools / DIY equipment / auto parts, anything my Mother wouldn’t be interested in shopping for and we’re having a jolly old time listening to the radio. The DJ announces “and coming up after the adverts we’ll have Huey Lewis and the News…” I started chatting to Dad about something to cover the incessant drone of local radio commercials. As the ads drew to a close, Dad turned to me and said “hush now love, I want to listen to the news…” At which point the opening power chord of the latest Huey Lewis single kicked in and a look of utter confusion descended over Dad’s face. “I thought it was going to be the news?” he muttered. Laughing at my Dad while he was behind the wheel of a car was never a smart move, so I kept in the rising hysteria until we finally got home and I could bear it no longer. I ran in and told my Mum about Dad’s mistake. She immediately barked with laughter and spent the rest of the afternoon ripping the piss out of him. Every time the BBC announcer would utter the words “and next we’ll have the news,” both mum and I would chorus “read by Huey Lewis…”

Now I appreciate that that’s not exactly a great story, but the inimitable Daddy Rakky would have been 67 on Saturday; it’s 19 years since he died, and Mum and I still say, to this day, “read by Huey Lewis” every time we’re together and we hear someone announce that the news is coming up after the break. And it never fails to make me smile.
(, Mon 24 Nov 2008, 11:10, 4 replies)
traditions
I’ll try to be brief and there is a positive ending to this

Growing up the daily ritual would be my dad (I find ‘dad’ hard to say or write) would come home hammered every night. Although not physically violent towards us he was extremely aggressive. Torrents of verbal abuse, the place smashed up, my mum crying hysterically. He would say the most foul disgusting things about my mum – she met him as a 19-year-old virgin in 1968 – they had sex once and bosh there I was. So they married - common tale.

Every Christmas was ruined. No hugs or fatherly love. No expression of love at all. I was told around age 7 I was ‘all the man I was ever going to be’. He terrorised me daily and I was petrified of him all my childhood. The problem was not just drink – he was foul sober too – usually because he needed another drink but it ran deeper than that, he was bitter paranoid all the time, convinced the world was sneering at him. He was insecure and a massive underachiever. I was a bright kind, creative inquisitive. He resented this, put me down at every turn and told me that because I was interested in drawing and being creative I was a poof. He had and still has classic small man syndrome.

When I met my now wife I was 19, we will have been together 20 years this Christmas we have been married three years and have a beautiful son aged 2. When we met it didn’t take long for her to find out about my upbringing – as soon as she met my dad things became pretty apparent. She heard him one night, drunk calling my mum the most horrible things you could imagine.

My wife tried to get me to understand him, his alcoholism and his other issues (his father was by all account the same).

After years of this and him still treating me my home and my partner like shit I snapped. I wrote him a letter detailing the damage done.

I never got a reply. That was 10 years ago, I did not see him during that time. He missed my wedding, the birth of my son a decade of my life.

My sister got married 3 weeks ago. She was terrified what might happen on the day. She insisted I meet him before the wedding. I flew back to Scotland early on her request/demand that we go for a ‘family lunch’. He got hammered and stood us up.

My sisters wedding was the first I saw him. This was also the first time he saw my son. For my sister’s sake I was on my best behavior when really I would have preferred to kick him to death. I was pleasant and spoke to him. He made no attempt to apologise for all he has done. A simple acknowledgement and the words “I’m sorry” would make the world of difference to me.

During the ceremony my wife was tearful but not in a good way. I realised something was wrong. Badly wrong.

The following morning she told me that over the last 10 years I had become more bitter, aggressive and my drinking had increased. She told me that at times I had become so aggressive and abusive towards her she was often frightened of me. Basically I was turning into my dad. I should stress my behavior compared to his was a fraction of the severity and that my wife was keen to stress that I was a kind gentle caring and affectionate husband and father but unfortunately on occasion I was abusive, aggressive and frankly, at times – terrifying.

I have never felt such shame.

Over the last few weeks I have read as much as I can on emotional abuse and my wife and I have talked at length.

As a result we have found a way forward. (I also massively cut back my drinking 3 or 4 months ago on my wife’s request, I’ve have also been at the gym religiously, so I’ve lost a lot of weight and got somewhere near fit again). Sadly it took the potential flashpoint of my sisters wedding to make me realise I was in danger of becoming my father and losing my own family as a result.

My wonderful wife and beautiful boy join me out here in the dustbowl in January (I’ve been in Dubai for 4 months). I’m going home for Christmas then they come back with me. Without seeming overly dramatic it feels like the start of a new life.

I speak to my wife at least 5 times a day - the phone bills are HORRIFIC. We are both convinced we have reached a massive turning point in our lives.

Sometimes family traditions need to be dropped.
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 19:25, 19 replies)
The family chant
Forgive me if I may be serious, but our only meaningful family ritual pays tribute to a gentleman who means an awful lot to me.

My family have produced a glittering array of male relatives whom I find mildly embarrassing or annoying (and I have no doubt they feel the same way about me). However, every March 1st we all gather together to recite:

"Come quaff off your Sherry, and let us be merry
All you that look to be saved
Then toss of your bowls, and be merry souls
For this is the day of St. David.

This is a good week, when we wear a Leek
And carouse in Bacchus' fountains
We had better be here, thou in pour small beer,
Or in our Country Mountains."

For a long time we thought that Ode To The Welsh Leek was a slightly crazy invention of my grandfather, but as time went by we discovered it has a rich history (see www.povertystudies.org/Links/Rhwymbooks/Ode/Ode-TitleStory.htm) and the family genealogists believe we might well stem back to the battlefield origins of this noble poem.

In any case, this annual recitation is a sincere and heartfelt tribute to my grandfather, Ken...

Ken was a man of few words but incredible courage. He served the Royal Navy during two wars and was the Service heavyweight boxing champion on two occasions. He returned in 1945 with barely a penny to his name, adopted a smallholding in his native Taff valley for a pittance of pay, and began raising sheep.

Over the 1950s, he and my grandmother became completely self-made and self-sufficient, raising two children and being able to scrimp enough money to buy the farmhouse and small patches of land thereabouts. Yet he remained infinitely modest, dry-witted and an inspiration for his sons, their sons' generation (including myself), and - through his inexhaustible fund of his anecdotes which have been passed down - the next generation today.

He was a wizard with his hands, always ready to make wooden toys for children, and right up to his 80th (and final birthday), a firm devotee of his Welsh heritage, Christianity and real ale. He was - in short - the perfect grandfather.

'Ode To A Welsh Leek' was his personal signature tune, from lord-knows-where. He used to usher us all into the front room to raise glasses of homemade mead and recite this ancient poem. His face remained solemn, and often a trickle of a tear would course down his cheek as we chanted away. It was odd as kids, but we grew used to it, year upon year, and it was finally how we knew him best.

It was finally adopted as our family memory of him in a freezing cold late-winter in about 1996. Grandad was well over seventy at the time, but he still kept a small flock and several hives, and tended them with the same love as he would his own family.

March 1st rolled around, we had a smashing roast dinner and congregated with our glasses to chant our paean to St David. No sooner had we finished, then a white-faced farmhand appeared at the patio doors. Several of us were scared out of our merry little skulls by this flat-capped apparition, but Grandpa calmly strolled across the room and a muttered conversation ensued. Before too long, Grandad gasped in shock, quaffed his mead and dashed out; nine other family members all followed with concerned yet helpless looks on our faces: we were no sheep-farmers.

One of the flock was having terrible difficulties giving birth. She was thrashing around on the barn floor, in grave danger of killing her lamb. The vet was on call, but we'd all sensed it was just too late.

What Grandad did then seemed nothing short of miraculous...

The adults, expecting a grisly birth, had protectively shielded the children, but Grandad - with terrifying strength - wrestled the sheep to stillness, and then take the terrified head, lay it in his lap, and mutter gently in Welsh. For twenty...thirty...forty minutes, we stood there dumbfounded, watching a septugenarian man on his knees in a freezing cold barn, treating a pregnant ewe with as much love and tenderness as he would a member of his own family. The sheep lay terrifyingly still: we could have sworn it was dead.

Eventually, the miraculous happened. A slight twitch, and a bloody ball of skin and bones was deposited onto the cold concrete floor. Matter-of-factly, Grandad hauled himself to his knees, slapped the lamb on the rump, checked its breathing and watched the little mite meticulously until it began to suckle. We all exhaled for the first time in nearly an hour and a half.

Grandad was suddenly, uncharacteristically sharp: "Inside! Now!" he ordered. It was difficult to argue. We all trooped inside silently.

Inside, he recharged our glasses without a word, his eyes glazed over and he chanted again:

"Come quaff off your Sherry, and let us be merry
All you that look to be saved..."

Falteringly, but with increasing strength, we joined in with this charming, strong and granite-muscled pinwheel of our family. It was a wonderful, touching moment, albeit a primitive one, and something I am sure that no-one who was present that day will ever forget. The song had always been once, and once only. To repeat it, in honour of a member of Grandad's flock was something quite unique.

Since then, every March 1st, this poem has been our own, as we remember that great day. The day that we heard...


Farmer leek odes sandwich ewe ills.


(Ah, sod it. I've already been to Hull...)
(, Thu 20 Nov 2008, 21:40, 11 replies)
A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet
For reasons which escape me now, my mother has a maternal need when in public to humilate me in front of others.

Naturally over the 21 years of my being this has slowly eroded all traces of self confidence, but in recent years I realised this isn't typical motherly ridicule. Oh no, dearest Mumsie will make eye contact with people passing by, point at me and randomly exclaim such classics as 'well it's not much fault you've put so much weight on'(I'm a foot taller than her, weigh a stone less and am suprisingly under the recommended BMI bollocks)

Every time I'd ask why she does it, I'd get the guilt trip of 'why, are you ashamed of your own mother?' and so on until I feel even worse about myself.

So business continued as normal until a hospital visit the other day to see some family. We're patrolling the echoing result of a cash-starved NHS avoiding the Mrs.A when mother notices a sullen looking old fella shuffling towards her in the opposite direction. Concluding that he needs cheering up in the best way she knows (at my expense), she decides to look him in the face, laugh and proclaim:

'Foxy, you really need to go on a diet, don't you? Doesn't he love?'

Aforementioned old fella, cool as a cucumber and without so much as a blink of hesitation lets out with:

'Leave him alone you chubby tart; he should be ashamed of you'

I was. And she did. The bigest shit eating grin exposed his few remaining teeth as he walked on by proudly.

Well done to you, good sir.

Apologies for lack of funny. My parents were mean to me.
(, Thu 27 Nov 2008, 13:27, 7 replies)
Douglas.
My dad grew up as an only child with a single mum. His father had died of TB when he was 3 months old, and his mum was of questionable sanity. As a young man he seemed to gravitate towards wise men, and one day while out walking he met the late and great Douglas Carter.

Douglas was a man of the cloth. Jilted in love, he'd become a Roman Catholic priest and lived a life of celibacy. Dad and he hit it off as mates. Drinking in pubs, walking the hills of Yorkshire and setting the world to rights. It was Douglas who pointed my dad in the direction of my mum, Douglas who married them, and Douglas who baby-sat my brother while I was born.

Douglas taught us chess, draughts, patience and other ways to pass the time. He even tolerated our noise and constant unplanned interruptions when he was performing his own private mass in the dining room when he stayed.

However.. Douglas wasn't a normal man of the cloth. He had a beautifully sharp sense of humour and a deeply mischievous mind. It was he who offered up a bottle of my parent's elderflower wine to the local wine snob, (who thought it was a very expensive something-or-other, and even suggested which slope of which valley it came from), and it was he who sent my parents a novelty condom for a joke wedding anniversary present.

Take that in for a moment... A seriously devout RC priest, buying and posting a novelty condom... I can imagine his infectious cackling laugh even now :o) Dad inflated the thing like a balloon, and it turned out to be defective... So he put a puncture repair patch on it and sent it back... :D

I digress.

Amongst the Many bad habits Douglas tried to deviously instil in my brother and I, was the ritual of the butter-knife. My mum - the only religious one in the family and the only one who cared about manners - insisted upon a butter knife. Douglas would ALWAYS take some butter, then stab the knife into the pat of butter in a flourish that could described as a "Reverse King-Arthur" :) Mum hated this, but couldn't tell a priest off....

My brother and I - to this very day - regularly stab the knife into any pack of butter, be it StIvel, Lurpack , or (welcome to Sweden) Bregott or Lätta. When visiting our parents We make a point of doing it. It's allowed, because "Douglas taught us to"

Over a decade ago, Douglas finally succumbed to old age, and we went to help clear out his tiny old flat. Framed in pride of place on the wall next to his chair was a novelty Condom - Dunlop repair-patch and all.

I'm not a religious guy by any mark - Infact, being an engineer I consider myself to be completely the opposite. However, I believe that if I fail to take any given opportunity to execute a "Reverse King-Arthur", that Douglas - Father-figure to my dad and Grandfather to my brother and I - would turn in his grave. Given the vast respect I hold for that man, I'll never take the chance.
(, Sat 22 Nov 2008, 0:00, 2 replies)
“Daddy Tax”…

Whenever I give my kids food or drink, be it dinnertime, or just sweets / snacks etc…as soon as I hand over the goodies, I always ‘nom’ a percentage of it from under their (increasingly annoyed) noses by using the hilarious jape of ‘Daddy Tax’.

Example:

Me: “Here you go kids…here’s a bag of sweets”
Me: *hands over sweets*
Me: *puts hand in bag*
Me: *grabs handful of sweets*
Me: *Noms said sweets*
Kids: “Awww Daaaad!”
Me (attempting rubbish Alan Partridge impression): “Ah HA! – Daddy Tax!”

I’m sure I heard my 5 year old whisper ‘cunt' under his breath once.

Also, this does tend to explain why my kids stay slim and healthy, yet I bear more than a passing resemblance to Jupiter (The planet, not the Roman God)
(, Mon 24 Nov 2008, 12:37, 15 replies)
Simple games
my wife tells me of a game she and her siblings used to play whilst being driven across france regulaly during the 70s.

Simple stuff, you scored one point for spotting a frenchman having a piss at the side of the road.

Apparently this amused the three of them for most of a decade until my wifes younger sister won the game outright.

For spotting a frenchwoman having a shit.

On a round-about.
(, Sun 23 Nov 2008, 13:32, 3 replies)
Ritual de Famille
When driving, my Uncle would always take his hands off the steering wheel, put them in the air and scream every time we went over a cattle grid.

I almost soiled myself the first time he did it.
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 9:23, 8 replies)
The Toastmaster General
One oddball custom from my family was the ceremony of toast.

Toast was and still is, an exceedingly important part of my family’s life. It has leaped with my into my own dwelling and it will probably live on.

My father, like his father before him (before he went mad) and me (when I am in my own house), is the ‘Toastmaster General’.

This is what happened on a typical Saturday morning.

My father would be first up, put his dressing gown on, and go downstairs loudly exclaiming that ‘The Toastmaster General is up and about his business’.

We all had to run downstairs in our jim jams, dressing gowns and slippers.

‘The Toastmaster General is preparing the wheat slices’.

We all then had to sit down at our breakfast bar and not say anything lest we interrupt the toast ceremony whilst my father took the four slice toaster out of its cupboard, plug it in whilst arranging it on its little custom made toaster tray. He would then take out four slices of Hovis white thick sliced (it had to be this exact type of bread – my mum once bought medium sliced and it got chucked in the bin), check them for consistency, and reverently place them into the toaster width ways (this was to ensure an even brownness). He would then make sure the dial was at setting 8.

‘The Toastmaster General will now prepare the ancillaries’. (We didn’t really know what this meant but we correctly guessed it meant knives and stuff)

Whilst the bread was toasting, he would then take out the breadboard, plates, cutlery, and jam from the fridge and prepare them on the breakfast bar. He would then check the butter was soft enough (it was always left in a covered butter dish overnight) and placed it before us.

‘The wheat slices are now toasted and have become toast.’

This meant that the toast had popped up. Inadequately or unevenly browned bread was binned. He would take these hot slices of brown and put them onto the breadboard and would urge us to quickly butter up or the toast would cool down and wouldn’t melt the butter adequately and the toast would be ruined. He would then quickly put four more slices of bread into the toaster.

We had to rapidly eat our buttered toast (mains) before the next slice arrived so we could jam it and eat it as pudding.

‘The Toastmaster General’s job is completed for another day’.

Then he went back to bed leaving us sated and free to watch cartoons.


I wouldn’t say I was totally surprised when he has his first breakdown, but the second and third did come as a bit of a shock.
(, Mon 24 Nov 2008, 17:08, 3 replies)
Dentists
Evil bastards though they may be, I can see now, as a fully paid up adult (the checks in the post), that they perform a decent service.

I used to lay down in the CHAIR OF TERROR (tm) where our friendly Dr. De'Ath would say "Aaaaaah, Weetabix/Frosties/Alpen this morning young Prescott". I was regularly amazed that he knew what brand of cereal I had even though I had brushed hard and it was 4pm.

Fast forward. Same dentist, my kids. He asks me what they had. And I tell him.
(, Sat 22 Nov 2008, 14:41, 1 reply)
Dull car journey's...
...were always 'brightened up' by playing some of the old faithful car games: I Spy, car colour counting etc. Our dad usually drove and mum ended up trying to keep us entertained, thus avoiding the near fatal 'Are we there yet...?' scenario. One particular journey she had the genius idea of teaching us a new game where we had to pick a letter of the alphabet and using it to start the name of anything you saw: T - tridge (bridge) - toor (door) - tub (pub) - tree (tree duh!)

Pretty good fun on the whole, the crowning finale of this game came when she chose the letter F and we pulled into an old English farm yard for a vist: Fow, Foat, Seep, Fonkey, Fickens were among the first we saw, then parking by the pond our youngest brother screamed FUCK! This was followed by silence and three kids trying desperately not to piss themselves with laughter and give away the fact that they knew more swear words than they should.

First post for ages from a long time lurker, please be gentle.
(, Mon 24 Nov 2008, 19:38, Reply)
My family, probably like many others, like to flash the V.
Points are scored for flashing Vs in photographs and on formal occasions. When a family member is asleep, it is good form to shake them urgently until they open their eyes, to see the V displayed at face level.

I am currently ahead in the the V-flashing competition after a display at a family funeral.

Arriving at the church in the main car (for this was a close and dearly beloved family member of mine) I spotted my eldest sister standing nearby, in helpless tears of grief.

I attracted her attention and flashed the V.
She stared, wide-eyed, and then turned away, scandalised and giggling.

It's what he would have wanted.
(, Sat 22 Nov 2008, 21:22, 3 replies)
Lack of respect for authority
If there is one paternal family trait I'm proud of, it's our weary disdain for authority. Respect for one's overseers is always earned and never a right. That philosophy has been handed down my family for generations and no small amount if pleasure has been gained over the years in voicing our distaste for the many instances of pomposity and stupidity displayed by those we entrust with our safety. liberty and moral direction. I'll give you the shining example of my lineage that is my paternal grandfather.

Grandad PJM fought in the trenches during WWI and returned home to marry the daughter of German immigrants. He spent the 1920s and 1930s driving a horse drawn dray around the streets of the East End of London delivering barrels of beer to the numerous pubs and drinking establishments.

As WWII and rationing became part of life in 1940s London, Grandad PJM was struggling with shortages (my grandmother was only 4' 11") and rationing and thus the family made use of their modest suburban garden for growing vegetables, helped in no small way by Grandad PJM's regular source of organic fertilizer.

It was in the midst of one blacked out evening during the winter of 1940/41 that Grandad PJM was making his way home across London bearing a large sack on his back. As he passed London Bridge, a passing policeman with a keen eye for spotting out black market activity during these times stopped Grandad PJM in the street.

"Ello, ello, ello" said Plod. "What have yew got in the sack, sir?"

"Shit" replied Grandad PJM.

"Hai am going to ask yew once again sir before hai ask yew to accompany me to the stayshun, what is in the sack?"

"Shit" replied grandad PJM, dismissively once again.

"Right then sir yew are nicked. Sunshine". With that, Grandad PJM was frogmarched to the local Plodhouse

"Right then sir hai am going to ask yew one more time before hai make yew open it. What have yew got in the sack?" said plod who now sensing an opportunity for promotion in front of his superintendent who was now present.

"I already told you, shit" replied Grandad PJM.

"If yew won't tell me what is in the sack then hai am afraid hai am going to have to ask you to empty the contents onto the floor" brayed the copper, the extra stripe now surely not far away.

"Alright then" replied Grandad PJM who simply shrugged and poured forty pounds of matured horse manure onto the pristine floor of the police station.

Grandad PJM was sent on his way home, but not before the superintendent ordered the policeman to put the manure back in the sack and return it with an apology.
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 11:25, 8 replies)
As a child when driving towards this village that had a tunnel
my mum would start whispering...

Coffee, coffee, coffee
Cheese and biscuits ,Cheese and biscuits ,Cheese and biscuits, Prunes and custard, Prunes and custard, Prunes and custard, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots, Beef and carrots,

Then as we went through the tunnel she'd shout

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUP!

Now my wife looks at me like a nutter when I do the same thing.
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 10:42, 4 replies)
Me and my little brother
grew up in the early 90s, and as such we grew up watching what was then known as the WWF. Despite all the stupid warnings, every Sunday we would have a wrestling match against each other, usually after we'd been sent to bed, to prolong the night before another week of itchy school uniforms, semi melted club bars and soggy Marmite sandwiches.

This tradition gave my mum something of an aneurism, since me and my brother shared a room and we had a paper thin floor. Couple that with the fact that we were both freakishly tall and stockily built for our age, many an evening was spent with cheap artex falling like chav-snow in the room below thanks to our well executed suplexes and bodyslams.

But we took it quite seriously. We'd tie shoelaces round our arms and try in vain to rip old T shirts a la Hulk Hogan. And then one day we decided to emulate the Ultimate Warrior. For those too proud to admit to watching the wrestling, he was renowned for wearing facepaint. And because the year was 1991 and nearly everything in the western hemisphere was red white and blue thanks to Gulf War 1, the Ultimate Warrior also had a habit of wearing red white and blue facepaint.

But where to get it?

Bedroom - nothing.
Kitchen - nothing.
Tried crayons - didn't work.
Felt tips - not enough.
Tippex - weirdly, we weren't allowed to have Tippex.

Then...

Aquafresh.

The red white and blue stripes. It was as though God him/herself had put Aquafresh on this earth so me and my brother could actually dress accurately like our hero and pummel each other to mild bruising.

So, in a state of giddy anticipation, we boh rub copious amounts of Aquafresh into our faces.

And spend the next hour or so screaming like bitches as we try and remove big globs of it from our eyes and doing all we can to fix the burning sensation.

I was a supertwat since birth, it would seem.
(, Thu 20 Nov 2008, 19:36, 5 replies)
Dad
and his brother used to have several rituals.

1. they got a small model of John Wayne in a cornflakes packet when they were younger, which they spent 11 years hiding in various places around their house - whoever found it had to hide it next - as they were at boarding school, it could be months before it was moved. Apparently the best was when they hid it in the jaws of a stuffed crocodile my grandmother kept in the fireplace, it managed 5 months undetected.

2. Whilst at school (and then once dad went to uni), they would write to eachother, but the challenge was to reuse the letter and envelope as many times as possible, i.e. by writing in a different colour of ink, by writing at a slant, by merely writing between the lines. This could go on for months, and my mother witnessed it a few times when she was first dating dad.

3. Once they got a bit older, whenever my grandmother was being dull (i.e. discussing interest rates at the christmas dinner table, or droning on and fucking on about politics during a family gathering), dad and my uncle would just pick up her chair, with her in it, and move her to a different room, without any signal to the other that they planned it. Dad still does that when my sister is getting pretentious and arty too, although it's now extended to putting her in an empty rubbish bin.
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 15:15, 1 reply)
Jack-Whoring-Fucking-Fuckface-Cuntalot-Palance…

For as long as I can remember, I have shuddered with a seething disdain at the mere mention of the (now dead) crusty old actor Jack ‘shitcake’ Palance.

It’s not even his fault really. I never knew the bloke…he might have been a lovely fella. He did nothing personally to offend me. Maybe he wasn’t the best actor in the world, but he tried hard…yet he ended up being a prunefaced tortuous turdboil on the arse of not only my fledgling youth, but also through my teenage years and beyond...

The reason I have grown to loathe the sour-mugged cumbubble with the passion of a thousand rutting Wildebeests is solely down to my mum’s delusion.

When I was a lad, and any movie was on the telly or video, she would like to participate in a spot of ‘film commentary’. Not discussing the plot, or spouting interesting, relevant facts about what we were watching or anything. Oh no. She just liked to try and name the people in the cast...If she recognised any of them.

Unfortunately, and with a painful inevitability…she never recognised any of them. Therefore she would guess…and there was only.ever.one.guess.

Quite how Jack Palance, like the stack of putrid baboon-jizz being spaffed liberally over my childhood that he was, got to tattoo himself on my mum’s fragile and failing memory I will never know. What also didn’t help matters was that in her eyes, it seems he never aged…and he was therefore capable of being in any movie…even after his death…

I believe the curse started in the late 70s, with mum prodding her finger towards the screen and shouting the immortal phrase: “That’s Jack Palance” at any man with dark hair. However, it rapidly degenerated from possible…to doubtful…to totally incomprehensible cases of mistaken identity. One-after-the-other. The process slowly evolved into having those fateful words being screeched with a mixture of blind hope and blithering insanity towards any fucker in the known universe to grace the silver screen:

Some examples:

Mum (whilst watching ‘Top Gun’): “That’s Jack Palance”
Me: “No you daft old trout, That’s Tom Cruise”

Mum (whilst watching ‘Trading Places’): “That’s Jack Palance”
Me: “No…….*sigh*……That’s Dan Aykroyd”

Mum (whilst still watching ‘Trading Places’): “That’s Jack Palance”
Me: “For fuck’s sake – that’s EDDIE MURPHY!”


She must cling to the hope that one day there will be a ‘City Slickers’ or ‘Batman’ repeat, so she can get the validation she so desperately craves by hearing the words:

“YES!...For the love of jiggling, slippery FUCK! – THAT IS JACK PALANCE!”

Every movie for me is now ruined. There is no plot too intense…no performance so magnificent, that it prevents me from having the words: ‘That’s Jack Palance’ perpetually ringing through my ears throughout the whole film like a claxon with a sonic boom attached.

So Rest in Peace Jack…If your ambition in life was to indirectly ruin every single one of my cinematic experiences…past, present and future…then mission accomplished.

You cunt.

(, Wed 26 Nov 2008, 12:26, 9 replies)
Slaps! Folds!
After dinner, my dad and I would always have rounds of jam sandwiches to finish our repast. These would be made with Robinson's jam, on Hovis brown bread, with a thin scraping of Flora. They were always to be prepared by my mother and they came in two forms.

The "Jam Fold" was one slice of bread, loaded with jam and folded in half, for the high jam to bread ratio; or the "Jam Slap" which was a traditional jam between two slices of bread construction, for the purist.

Jam Slaps were to be requested by slapping one's hands together, one for each sandwich required. Jam Folds were ordered by adopting a claw-like hand gesture.

At the end of dinner, my long suffering mother would stand up to enter the kitchen, at which point my dad and I would start clapping and gurning like a pair of spastic seals to order our butties. This was made more interesting when we had visitors...

That's the only thing I can think of that became a long standing tradition. Well, apart from schizophrenia.
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 11:11, 3 replies)
Bear with me...
The sun is setting in the sky, Teletubbies, say goodbye.

Thank Christ that was over, thought Tinky-Winky. There had been major tension between the stars of the show today. Dipsy had been wanting to take the Tubby Tustard scene in a new direction, perhaps including tubby bananas, and maybe even a little tubby nutmeg. After all, they had to eat this slop. Tinky Winky had liked the idea – after all, the Tubby Tustard had a knack for curdling under all that lighting, so anything to make it taste less like armpit was more than welcome. But when management refused, the shit hit the fan. Dipsy threatened to invoke the creative clause in his contract, then threatened to walk out, and THEN Laa-laa had a massive falling out with the producer and so on, so please. Po was ok. She usually spent between takes sat in the corner sipping absinthe. It made her calm and pleasant. Originally they had banned her drinking on set, but after a couple of cameramen were hospitalised, and they couldn’t find a replacement, it was agreed that she could consume one bottle of the stuff per filming. So yes, bad day all round.

“I swear, I am this close to walking out on the show.”

“Hey. C’mon, we all have bad weeks”, said Jenny Winky, his wife.

“It’s not just that. The writing has gone stale, and I was thinking of doing more work in theatre anyway. They’re doing Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the royal next year. I’d love to be in that.”

“Well, it’s up to you. Anyway, come up to bed soon, I like it when you’re aggressive.” She kissed him on his aerial and went upstairs.

Fame shouldn’t have been like this. And Noo-noo! He hadn’t talked to Noo-noo since he married Jenny. Ok, it was only a month after she had been Jenny Noo, but love is love. It can wait for no man, Teletubby or personified vacuum cleaner. He poured himself a mug full of scotch, downed it in 3 swallows and went to bed.

The mood on set the next day wasn’t much better. Laa-laa was now using her make-up artist to act as a communicative go-between with her and the executive producer. Dipsy had been placated into doing the regular Tubby Tustard thing, but it was obvious he wasn’t selling the experience to the camera. Tinky Winky couldn’t decide if it was some passive form of protest, or whether Dipsy’s spirit had finally been broken. Po hadn’t been able to obtain her usual bottle of absinthe, and so was drinking a potent mix of Jack Daniels and Brake Fluid out of an old biscuit tin. She was her usual placid self, but kept sporadically screaming something about hanging giraffe-thieves. Luckily she remained an absolute professional while the cameras were rolling.

The show went ok. By no means was it their best effort, and Toyah Wilcox left the set at the end of the day muttering something about “Thodding pweemadonna amateuws”. But Tinky Winky had had enough. He kept quiet about his decision to leave, at least until he could secure some kind of theatre appearance. His agent had told him about a part being needed for Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and seeing how Kate Winslet had been cast to play Helena, that was something he was willing to walk over Ibsen for.
“Mr. Winky, tell me why you want to be in this play”.

“Well sir, the previous show I was with started to go stale in terms of foresight and creativity. I feel that your theatre company has always been able to keep this fine play fresh and exciting, and I feel I can aid that process.”

“Well, you have been part of a media aimed at the younger generation, and I do like to see Shakespeare being brought to the youngsters.”

The rest of the interview continued in a similar, obsequious vein, and it was agreed that Tinky-Winky would play the part of Lysander on the opening night. The tabloids had a field day with the story, claiming that he had sold out, and that the walk out had resulted after a fist fight between Tinky-Winky and Po. Truth be told, Po was the one person Tinky-Winky could get along with. She was living proof that the solution to life’s problems can actually be found at the bottom of a glass. Or biscuit tin.

Nonetheless, Tinky-Winky’s hesitance to inform the cast about his departure had left many people bitter. The head of the BBC was rather annoyed that Tinky-Winky was allowed such a flexible contract that stated he could leave the show on the condition he did not sign with another TV channel. So several people were fired, and the show was put on a hiatus until a replacement was found. A rather unsavoury element was added to the mix when a drunken Noo-noo tried to assault Tinky-Winky outside an exclusive restaurant, in full view of several photographers.

Fast forward to a week before opening night, and Tinky Winky was in a bad way. The stress from rehearsals and the hammering he’d taken in the tabloids, who were now claiming he had impregnated Jordan, had lead to a rapid drop in the quality of his health. His aerial had drooped, he couldn’t control the TV footage appearing on his stomach, and for some reason he kept displaying footage of how peanut butter was made. Whether that was symbolic or not was irrelevant; it meant he had to wear thick jumpers when he went out to stop people watching his belly, and it was the middle of July, and the subsequent bouts of profuse sweating made things worse. Jenny was starting to feel somewhat left out of the marriage, and her reconciliation with Noo-noo was going a little too well It seemed – she would be out all day every day, and come back about 11pm.

“I just think that for me to feel at peace and for our relationship to continue to grow and mature, I need to make peace with Noo-noo. He’s changed a lot, you know. He’s taken up pottery, and performs improvisational poetry in a small café in Covent Garden. He’s so caring and attentive.”

Tinky-Winky’s aerial was now drooped flat against his head.

“I do have to say Jenny, I’m glad that you and Noo-noo are working things out, but I barely see you these days. I miss you”.

“Oh, I’m ever so sorry, Mr. Theatre! I’m sorry that I have a life of my own! I think the only thing missing is the love in this marriage. Noo-noo told me that on one of the seminars he attended…”releasing the inner rainbow butterfly of youth”, I think it was called, that men have less connection to their inner chrysalis, which can lead to marriage problems, depression, impotence and baldness. I think we need to see a councillor.”

“Honey, if that’s what you’d like then that’s ok. But can this wait until after the play? I’m seriously ill, several people want to kill me, and Jordan is claiming I got her pregnant.”

“Well, I don’t know. Can love wait? Does our love mean so little to you that you put it on the back burner?” She slammed the door and walked out. It was to be the last he saw of her until the play. He knew where she was. She was vacuuming.

Next on the list of pitfalls was the vicodin. He needed something, anything to keep him going. Just make it to the opening night, he would say. Make it past the first night and fate will force all the pieces into place. Things would work out. Po, Dipsy and Laa-laa would befriend him once more, Jenny would come back, and he would make his peace with Noo-noo and the BBC. Time for another scotch.

Come the opening night, Tinky-Winky was calm. He had a look in his eyes that suggested that he could nip any problem in the bud before it even became a problem. In truth, he was high as a kite. The vicodin and scotch he’d been living on had caused him to lose weight. He had no idea how on earth he made it to the theatre. He put it down to some kind of inner auto-pilot.

“Mr. Winky! You all set? My goodness you look fabulous! Have you lost weight?” He still hadn’t gotten used to casually conversing with Kate Winslet.

She looked divine. She was already in stage attire – a full, plunging green dress that was just tight enough to show what was underneath. Like when you see a Christmas present shaped like an elongated triangle. You know it’s a toblerone. Mr. Winky smiled at the thought of Miss Winslet’s toblerone. He realised he’d been staring at her and smiling vacantly for 24 seconds now. Time to say something.

“Yes, I have been working out. I look forward to winslet with you, Miss Working.”

The mischievous Puck had applied the potion, and now came the dual courting scene. Tinky-Winky and Michael Barrymore (playing Demetrius), vying for the love of Kate Winslet. He stuck a piece of cloth over his faulty screen, made sure a hat covered his aerial, and made his way from the darkness of backstage to the hot, bright lights of fame. He couldn’t help but look to the crowd. They were there! Laa-laa and Dipsy laughing and joking together, and Po, vomiting into a large bag of Doritos she had managed to smuggle in. The producers were there, and sitting beside Keanu Reeves, who had been brought in to replace Tinky-Winky for the one off Christmas special that Tinky-Winky’s departure had very nearly railroaded. The lights just seemed to get hotter. And then he saw it. Jenny, sat next to Noo-noo, her hand on his extension cord. He felt rage, but turned to Kate. Yeah, they were on stage, but such a kind, loving look resided in her eyes. She had been so supportive of him in rehearsals. Maybe this was fate? Maybe he could start a new life with Kate, and Jenny and Noo-noo could go off together. Maybe this was the happy ever after! He walked towards Helena, and began to speak.

“Why should you think that I should woo in scorn? Scorn and derision never came in tears. Look when I vow, I weep; and vows so born…”

The world of Science or Health and Safety have never widely publicised the dangers of going on stage under very hot lights, with a famous actress wearing a revealing dress, all whilst tanked to the brim on painkillers and alcohol. The whole world seemed to go vertical and slow motion. Tinky-Winky stumbled forward, grabbed for anything to keep upright. Her dress. He, and the dress, went down. Kate Winslet, and her breasts, did not. They stayed attached to her chest. Pale, and reflecting the lights to the point where they seemed to be glowing. She went to run off stage, and subsequently tripped over an unconscious Tinky-Winky, who was laid flat on his back, belly exposed, showing a film of how Rosie, 6, has just learnt how to use the grown up toilet.

The tabloids ripped what little meat was left from his carcass. He had stayed in the empty house alone for 2 weeks. Kate was now out of hospital after suffering a concussion, and while she wasn’t angry at Tinky-Winky, he felt terrible. That, and her agent had told her that associating with him now would be career suicide. He was alone, his career was over, and his future was destined to a derogatory reference in some nostalgia show, where D list celebrities would talk about how great the Spice Girls and Tamagotchis were.

One night, when the sun was setting in the sky, Tinky-Winky decided it was time to say goodbye. He went to Tower Bridge, to see if he could fly.





Since I have a large, grown up family and most of my siblings have kids of their own, we tend to have a big family gathering on Boxing Day instead of Christmas day. This is always great fun for me - I'm the childless single one of us 4 kids, and I'm also the only teetotaller. So every Boxing Day, while my family has their traditional drunken, chavtastic get together, I'm usually ousted up to my room, where I partake in a tradition of writing a pointless short story every day Boxing Day evening, like the one you just read.

Length? Mine's just regular sized. Everyone else in the world is tiny.
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 21:03, 9 replies)
Gurney Slade
My family all read The Meaning Of Liff a while ago and (as I'm sure everyone does who has read it) came up with a few of our own.

Gurney Slade is "to distort the face of a loved one, while they are unconscious on a sofa at a party, for the amusement of others".

My mum proudly coined that one and it stuck. We rarely actually indulge in Gurney Slade, more often use it as a threat.

Ooh, and that's another thing. Gurning.
When gathered together for any kind of family event where photographs are taken to remember the occasion, the instant a camera is pointed at any group of us we are gripped by a strange compulsion. We don't pose and smile... we gurn. With no direction or communication, we simultaneously pull the same face (and sometimes each others'). There are no normal pictures of us as a family since Christmas 2005.

Some examples:
Christmas 2006 1, 2
Christmas 2007 1, 2
My brother's wedding (note how effortlessly my sister in law fits in with us).
(, Tue 25 Nov 2008, 23:36, 10 replies)
Arguments
When we were kids, my Dad used to settle the very frequent arguments between my brother and I by means of a duel. We weren't allowed weapons, or I wouldn't be here. Instead, we had to stand on one leg, point our fingers like guns, and whistle "Pop Goes The Weasel". The first one to laugh, lost.

I lost every single argument between the ages of six and... actually it's still happening. Damn
(, Sat 22 Nov 2008, 22:16, 3 replies)
The scourge of mankind – ‘La Voiture Verte’

When I were a lad, and all this were fields etc, my family were struggling to make ends meet. My dad would attempt to ease our poverty and help the finances by rolling up his sleeves and utilising his formidable mechanical and salesmanship skills in the auto trading market.

(I feel I may have romanticised this somewhat…What he actually did was buy shitheap, scrap-pile sheds for a couple of quid, patch them up with pop-rivets and hopefully sell them on for a bit of a profit.)

Still, to his credit, he was quite adept at this…yet as his ‘career’ flourished, my dad started to notice a trend developing.

He would always struggle to sell a green car.

Now apparently there is a deep human behavioural issue here. Green is more of a ‘selective’ colour for a car you see, unlike your run-of-the-mill ‘silver’s & ‘black’s...So public choice was not as easily swayed by some old, worthless, rusty knacker of a motor…in green. For my dad, they quickly become more trouble than they were worth.

He learned this lesson the hard way a few times before twunting logic and psychology out of the window, making his choice and declaring: ‘Green cars are unlucky. No more green cars for the Flake family. EVER!’

What started as his annoyance then became a family tradition, then a ritual…then an obsession…to be hammered shamelessly through to every.single.generation

None of us could even look at a green car without receiving a customary ‘clip around the ear’ole’

Socially aware of all forms of equality *cough – Daily Mail reader – cough*, my dad would have cared not a jot if I had brought home a same-sex, mixed race, drug addicted, Illegal immigrant criminal psychopath as my new ‘significant other’; but if my partner-in-waiting had driven a green car he would have refused to let them through the door and bellowed at them through the letterbox to “Cunt the fuck off!”.

Inevitably, there was the occasional rebellion…& Dad was not happy.

My sister once dared to buy a ‘cute’ little green Fiesta in the 80’s, and one day it suffered a slight prang. My dad leapt at the chance to prove his theory correct. “It’s the car…THE CAR!” he screamed, like a wizened, rollup-smoking, soothsaying harbinger of doom.

She was promptly ordered to sell the car immediately and she begrudgingly did so. Later that year she mislaid her purse in a nightclub and lost £30. “It’s THE CAR!... DON’T YOU SEE??!?” Dad yelped, with a funny look in his eyes.

My brother went on holiday to Thailand a few years back and had a great time…just a few short weeks after he returned…the Tsunami hit.

Tragedy…unimaginable horror…huge loss of life and property.

How did my dad explain this? Tectonic plates? Climate change? Act of god?

Nope, it was because my brother had once bought an old green Fiat 500*…in the early 90’s…and he passed the subsequent curse over to that innocent country like a airborne virus carrier.

“What were you thinking?” my dad barked at my flabbergasted brother as we watched the death toll rise.

September the 11th was attributed to a lime coloured Talbot Samba I borrowed for a fortnight when I was on the dole.

In my dad’s evermore eccentric mind, the current global financial crisis is entirely due to the fact that a year and a half ago I considered buying a new car in British Racing Green. I didn’t actually go through with it (more than my life’s worth) but the mere fact that I considered it has now somehow resulted in a worldwide economic meltdown. So now you know who’s to blame. Sorry everybody.

When Mini-Pooflake turned two years old, I took him round my folks’ house and my dad proudly sat him on his knee.

“Can you say ‘Grandad?...Graaaannnnnd-daaaad!” my old man cooed.

My son started to cutely stutter: “G….g-g….“

Then my dad bluntly interrupted: “Actually, bollocks to that. Say ‘I WILL NEVER FUCKING BUY A GREEN CAR'......saaaay it…….SAY IT!!!!

We don’t visit very much anymore.




*which he nicknamed ‘the bionic bogey’…it was ace – but don’t tell my dad I said that


(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 11:55, 12 replies)
H.A.S A.G.M
Firstly neither myself or anyone invold in this ritual side with or agree with Nazis but...

Every christmas sparkley tinsel moustaches are worn (the tinsel you find around crackers), we all become shouty German types, my uncle takes on a camp christmas Hitler persona and we spend the majority of the day slowly getting more drunk and yelling/singing in German accents at one another.

So christmas is now known as the Hitler Appreciation Society - Annual General Meeting.
H.A.S AGM invites go out every year.

x
(, Fri 21 Nov 2008, 2:11, 9 replies)
Burp Secrets
My sister, brother and I have a probably everlasting running war of 'burp secrets'.

That is, tricking someone into leaning in with the expectation of having a super secrety secret divulged, only to be burped at directly into their ear.

As well as getting points for volume and moistness (I believe in one epic 'secret', some food was actually burped out INTO the receiver's ear), you can also factor into the success the disappointment of the receiver. For example, just going 'hey, I have a secret!' is worth fewer points than 'Want to know what I found out about where you REALLY came from?' (ones like this are harder to pull now that my brother, the youngest, is now over the age of six)

I fully plan, as the oldest, to give them each one final burp secret on my deathbed.

Edit: also just remembered about 'fart news'. Aka 'Guess what?!' said loudly and excidedly. 'What?!' expectant and intruiged. '*farts*'

Oh, the hilarity.
(, Mon 24 Nov 2008, 14:17, 3 replies)

This question is now closed.

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