Hee Haw

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Hee Haw



It was a Saturday morning.  Another Saturday morning.  Papers.  I looked over at the alarm clock.  It was 6:37AM. 

I could lay in bed a little while longer, but since I had to pee, I got up.  Besides, those newspapers weren’t going to deliver themselves

As the last few drips landed on the seat of the toilet, TomBob appeared and we began wrestling for the toothpaste.  He won out.  My brother and I were eager to earn our wage for the day.

Spoons in hand like well-crafted scoops, we heaped uncounted granules of sugar that fell like snowflakes onto our bowls of Cheerios and commenced the eating frenzy.

When all that was left was a sugary milky soup, we ditched the spoons and guzzled from the bowl making sure to get all the goodness.  We would try to one up each other with our loud belches afterward.

Newspaper delivery was our game.  The route was pretty standard.  I had 50 papers to deliver and TomBob had about 55.  He was older and was the senior partner in our enterprise.

Divide and conquer was the strategy.  Efficiency, the name of the game.  Our route had been devised for effective delivery of the newspapers as well as the bill collecting end of it. 

Years later I would apply my problem-solving logic to gain advanced degrees in empirical economics followed by a career as a corporate executive.  I sometimes wished I didn’t have to pay so much for the college of hard knocks.

We got back home and were in our garage reading the comics and laughing at each other’s frost bite.  I couldn’t feel my face.  TomBob said I looked skinnier since some of my fat froze and fell off me.

We laughed.

After lunch, TomBob and I set out again.  Collecting!  The highlight of the paperboy business and we loved it.  We went door to door collecting money from our neighbors for their weekly subscription of newspapers.

Now this activity, TomBob and I did together.  We would schmooze our neighbors and prospect them for additional way to part them from their money.  Upselling the Sunday paper was big on the agenda since the Sunday paper was three times the price of the weekly.  Think about it, one Sunday paper was the equivalent in pay to three weekly papers.  When you do the math, it adds up nicely.  The equation works like this:  work less plus make more money equals happy You! TomBob used to say he wanted to be in sales because it was the one job where you could make the most money while working the least amount of time.

We had devised a strategy whereby we would purposely not collect from some customers for weeks so when you finally did hit them up, you could get a larger payout per customer.  You see, normally we collected on Monday evening.  Saturday was the day we did our “special” collections. 

There were always those folks that never had money on Mondays or would get annoyed with us as we interrupted their dinner.  Once these folks identified themselves as difficult customers, we earmarked them for our Saturday special.  Basically, we would not collect from them for several weeks or over a month.  When the time was right, i.e., we wanted to make a quick score and maximize our time spent to amount collected ratio, we would come a knocking.

These folks would get even angrier when we showed up on Saturday to tell them they owed us ten or twelve dollars.  We liked that.  Funny thing was they never seemed to catch on.  They were also the ones who got the wet paper too.  We knew we were little bastards, but enjoyed ourselves.

It took about half an hour to do the collecting, but we got our haul.  TomBob and I never kept records and excel didn’t exist then, so let’s agree that we made a nice profit from all the darn papers we had delivered.

We’d walk in the snow to the Corner Store to get some supplies.  We’d load up on candy, soda and chocolate milk and head over to a video game parlor and blow our wages on video games.  I always felt a sense of guilt which I am sure haunts me to this day.  I hate gambling and wasting money.

Back home, TomBob and I and were in the mudroom, shaking off the cold, when we overheard my dad whining at my mom.  It sounded like this: “I don’t like tacos Anne! They suck!”

“Really?” my mother replied. “Since when?  I thought you liked them.  The kids love them and I do, too!” 

Now I will tell you that Joe and I were getting pissed for two reasons.  First off, we loved tacos.  Secondly, we hated when my dad yelled at my mom.  He was a hardworking guy that may had bitten off more that he could chew in life, but I don’t remember anyone telling him and my mom to have 10 kids.

“Anne, I’ve never liked them!  My whole life! That’s my problem with you!  Our whole life — you don’t know me!  I don’t think anyone knows me!”

Suddenly, TomBob turns to me, with an evil grin on his face, and said, “Watch this!”  He flung open the door, jumped into the kitchen and screamed, “Hey mom, who’s that fat guy sitting at the kitchen table? I don’t know him!”  For about five seconds — though it seemed like an eternity — we were frozen in time. Then TomBob and I looked at each other and start laughing. 

My dad had a big beer gut, but that mother-scratcher was quick.  I moved first out the door, through the garage and down the street in an instant.  I hadn’t removed my boots or jacket.  Lucky me. 

The last thing I heard was TomBob screaming “Please don’t hit me!”  I didn’t look back. I laughed.

After a fine dinner of tacos, I rode my bike in the snow to my pal Otis’ house.  Our friend, Sal would be picking us up from there. 

Now Sal was magical, mostly because he had a car. We were going to a party that would have girls and beer.  Hopefully. You never quite knew. You only hoped.

“Matt!”  Otis’ mom screeched as she opened the door. I found it comforting that she didn’t question my presence.  Still, I wasn’t quite sure she had been properly advised of my arrival.  I don’t think she smiled much.

Mr. Otis was a tall man of at least 6 ft.  He exuded an aura of strength, wisdom, and comfort.  Mr. Otis liked me.  I don’t know why.  I also learned to not question things like that.

I would use the word ‘taciturn’ to describe Mr. Otis.  And as I mulled that word over, he spoke to me. “Do you like girls, Dempsey?”  He chuckled, accusingly. Most people would have been petrified by this type of interrogation.  I, on the other hand, was accustomed to it and frankly, enjoyed the attention. He told me Matt (Otis’ real name) was showering, which Mr. Otis informed me he did once or twice a week, and would be available soon.

“You ever watch Hee Haw?”  he asked.  “Sure!”  I replied.  “I watch it all the time with my father and aside from the corny jokes and country bumpkin stuff, it’s pretty funny. The music is not too bad, either.”

“Do you know why I watch it, Dempsey?”  Mr. Otis “Irish whispered” to me to make sure Mrs. Otis didn’t hear him. I was like, “you like country music?”

“No Dummy! The girls!”

We laughed.  He said, “you’re an OK kid, Demps.”  Mr. Otis talked a lot like my dad, which was terrifying and comforting all at once.

Mr. Otis then bounded out of his old man chair (they all had them), and within seconds, had his jacket, boots and gloves on, and headed toward the door.

Desperately tearing my eyes away from Dolly Parton singing, “Love is like a Butterfly,” I asked him what he was doing and he said he was going out to shovel the driveway.

“I will come help you,” I said.  “I don’t need your stinking help, Dempsey!”  (It wasn’t ‘Demps’ anymore. Oh crap.)

With the wind knocked out of my sails, I collapsed back down on the couch. I was crushed, in shock and confused. I was also pissed now too.

I thought it over and all I could come up with was that I offered my help to the man and I got yelled at. Bizarre.

Was my mom’s advice to “always offer to help out with any chores when you are at someone’s house,” somehow misguided? 

Later that evening when Otis and I were drinking warm beer and doing a terrible job trying to talk to girls, I told him how I tried to help his old man out with the shoveling. Otis looked at me like I was stupid — (that happened a lot) — and with the speed of a lightning bolt, he spits out:

“If you help my father shovel, it will take him less time to finish the job.  Then he has to come back inside and hang out with my mom.” 

We laughed.

Later that night, Sal dropped me off down the street from my house.  It was late.  I sneaked around to the back of the house and wouldn’t you know it, there was “The Monk” sitting at the kitchen table. 

All I could see was the back of his sweet balding head from the backyard.  Funny thing is that in high school, his nickname was “The Monk,” and now his male pattern baldness had actually given him that classic Monk look.

There was no way I was getting past him with all the beer in my belly, so I got to work stacking tires that were in our backyard against the side of the house.  Doesn’t everyone have at least 10 or so spare tires lying around their backyard? 

I purposely left my bedroom windows unlocked for this exact situation.  I began scaling up the tire stack.  As luck and my drunkenness would have it, just as I put the first hand on the roof, my “tire ladder” began to tip over. Crash!

“Well hello there, a-hole!”  My dad was standing over me with a huge grin on his face.

He was holding a golf club to my throat. It felt like a wedge, but could easily have been a 9 iron.  I can’t recall.

We laughed.

These memories washed over me as the whiskey burned its way down my gullet.  I felt warm.  Satisfied.  Here I was, a kid from the “mean streets” who got my act together and made something of myself.  Sitting in my private library in my Mc Mansion, I undid my pants to let my expanding girth breathe a bit.  It was late on a Friday night and I was done reviewing the latest 10K report before submitting it to the SEC.  Running your own business can be a real pain in the butt. 

I wonder sometimes if my dad would have been proud of my success.  When he was alive, the only time I could tell he was proud of me was when I married my wife.  He told me I married up!  My brother TomBob, who runs a used car lot and loves making deals with suckers as he called them says I am just lucky and was never as smart as him! 

In truth, financial success was never really my desire.  It was just a way to keep score. Playing the game.  When you are a kid playing monopoly, you want to win, don’t you?  I would tell my wife (usually when drunk) that I could easily live in a cabin in the woods.  Don’t we all wish for that at some point?

Suddenly as I began to nod off, I heard a strange noise in the backyard.  I grabbed the shillelagh that I bought in Ireland on a trip back to the motherland a few years ago and buttoned my pants as I staggered to the set of French doors leading to the backyard.

There he was, my 17-year-old prize of a son.  He was lying in the fetal position with a nice pool of puke next to him.  I prodded him with the shillelagh and asked if he was alive.  He moaned, “Dad I promise I will never drink again!”

I laughed

— The End—

Submitted: January 20, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Gerry Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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