One morning in the seventies

One morning in the seventies, when I was a little boy, I woke up and walked straight into the bathroom adjacent to my bedroom as usual. As I got ready to pee I heard my dad at the dining room table doing some morning paperwork, drinking coffee, or whatever. I determined to sneak up behind him and surprise him. I peed silently onto the bare porcelain (not noisily into the water in the bowl). I then tiptoed gingerly out of the bathroom and crept oh-so-quietly around the hallway corner into the dining room. My dad was seated in his usual spot at the table, facing away from me. I closed the last few feet with uncommon patience and stealth. My dad appeared completely unaware of my approach. The floorboards didn’t creak. The fabric of my pajamas didn’t rustle.

The instant before I was prepared to scream, “YAAAHHHHH!,” without looking in my direction, he handed down from the table a handwritten piece of paper. It said:

You forgot to:

  • Flush the toilet;
  • Wash your hands;
  • Brush your teeth.

Thus did my dad cement in my mind another many years of certainty about the supernatural ability of parents to know what their kids are up to — something I’m now trying to get my own kids to believe.

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