Excuse me, but please settle a dispute for me.
When your parents come over for dinner, do you take them aside and say “so nice to see you. Let us all eat together. If you could please steer clear of the following topics,that would be the cherry on the cake!” Or do you assume that they will know not to mention certain things.
Last month, while Mama was enjoying a visit to Russia to visit her sister, Papa came over to our house for a festive birthday dinner for my stepson. He’s 18. My stepson, not Papa.
We were dining and being all festive when Papa suddenly shared some news.
“You know that cannibal in Florida?” he asked.
“What cannibal in Florida?” some of us asked, thinking that we were being set up for a great joke.
“The cannibal in Florida that had some bath salts and then bit a person’s face,” I explained because I’m all newsy, practically Dan Rather.
“Why would someone do that?” the youngsters in the family exclaimed. Although they didn’t exclaim it in concert, it’s hard to keep who said what straight.
“Because drugs are very dangerous and make you do disgusting things,” I mothered them some more and crossed the “poison children’s minds against drugs” off my To Do list.
“Did he have drugs? I thought you said he had a bath.”
“Some people who can’t afford drugs use bath salts,” Papa suddenly was offering drug money saving tips.
My kids were more confused than ever. They’d never seen bath salts. I’d even banned Mr. Bubble from our home because I was convinced he was responsible for urinary tract infections. Plus I didn’t want my children bathing with anyone called Mr. Not even a pink Mr.
“The cannibal who ate the homeless man,” Papa continued, “they did an autopsy and he did not have human tissue in his stomach. So technically, he is not a cannibal.”
This was not a good joke.
“But in his defense, he did have human tissue between his teeth. So I like to call him a budding cannibal.”
The children chewed their non-human dinner and considered this.
You’d think that Papa’s talk would suppress some appetites, but I am happy to report that we all managed to have cake.