Monday, February 1, 2021

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai


Sometimes reading a work of genius only serves to highlight the stupidity that surrounds you. Any by this I am referring not exclusively, but in large part, to my son-in-law Gerry. I had just finished this heart-wrenching gem when who should show up at my door but my granddaughter, Tina. Apparently, it was my family whose calls I had been ignoring all day, not, as I had assumed, lawyers from Vlasic calling to negotiate with me about my Free the Pickles! campaign (I am playing hardball with those fuckers). Tina looked both relieved and somewhat bemused to find that I was not, in fact, deceased in my La-z-boy, and more than willing to come over for dinner. And truth be told, we were having a lovely time making homemade kreplach until Mount Asinine erupted.

As we were working in the kitchen, it was brought to my attention that the faucet on the kitchen sink was no longer functioning correctly. They had even purchased a replacement, although no one had bothered to install it. My son-in-law, being an idiot, was in favor of calling a plumber. This from a guy who once paid an electrician $97.50 to come press the red reset button on an outlet when he couldn't figure out why his electric yogurt maker wasn't working. So I asked him to bring me his tools, and he brought out a little tool bag that a 5-year-old would have been embarrassed to receive for his birthday. But all I needed was a screwdriver, and I even magnanimously refrained from testing him to see if he knew the difference between a flat-head and a Phillips (he doesn't). But despite my generosity, he still would have "just felt more comfortable" calling a plumber, and that is probably why I did what I did next.

The faucet could have been fixed by any primate with opposable thumbs, and it took me all of 3 minutes to complete the job. But while I was in there, with one simple twist of my wrist, I reversed the faucet so you had to turn right for hot and left for cold. Not my best prank, I admit, but just a harmless little something to let Gerry know who was in control here. That's what practical jokes are for, after all. Now, did I  mention that my son-in-law is an idiot? Because it took him - I shit you not - all of two minutes of washing dishes to seriously scald his hand. Which, as I then pointed out, would never have happened he didn't have his water heater turned up too high, so it was really more his fault than mine. I mean, why would you intentionally set your water to be hot enough to burn yourself? Jesus.

Leave it to Gerry to screw up a perfectly good, harmless prank. I would say that overall, reaction was mixed. My daughter, for the sake of appearances, had to take his side publicly, but I could tell that deep down, she could see the humor in it. I think her exact words were, "Really, Dad? Even for you, this is pretty juvenile. All we do is offer you kindness, and you keep pulling this kind of crap. I don't even know what to say any more. This is not funny, and I mean it." So you know, I think you can hear the "wink, wink" in there, right?

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