Metastasis (me-tas’-ta-sis): Denying and turning back on your adversaries arguments used against you.
I was always a good boy. I would play with my plastic cowboys in the sandbox. They weren’t allowed shoot each other or use swear words. I washed them each week in the dishwasher and then let them air dry, for their health and welfare. I think they were grateful because none of them ever ran away, including their horses. I made my bed every morning, with hospital corners and my bedspread was always perfectly parallel to my headboard. I put my dirty clothes in the basket in my closet to make it easier for Mom to manage them on washday. I also folded my own laundry. I’d go down into the basement and retrieve my laundry from the dryer, carry it to my room, and fold it. One Saturday morning, when I was getting my stuff in the basement, I noticed there was a pair of my mother’s underpants mixed in with my laundry. I put them on my head and started doing “The Pony,” a dance made popular by Chubby Checker. Everybody was doing it, and I thought I looked pretty cool “pulling the reins” in my Captain Kangaroo bathrobe: “Boogety, boogety, boogety, shoo,” I sang as I ponied around the basement. I had found a piece of clothesline rope, and I was swinging it around my head like a cowboy lariat. “Yee haa!” I yelled.
Suddenly, I was galloping across the prairie with Chubby. we were being chased by a posse. I heard one posse member yell, “You low life sidewinder. You slop bucket full a’ human poop! What in tarnation makes you think you can wear your mother’s underpants on your head like that? Pervert!” I yelled back: “You butt-faced hombre! I can wear what I want on my head! Back-off!” He fired a shot at me. I felt it zip through my mother’s underpants, barely missing my skull. We had ridden into a box canyon—no exit. We were doomed. Since they weren’t after him, Chubby reined in his horse, and got him down to a slow trot. I roared past him right into the canyon wall.
I woke up on the basement floor, still wearing my mother’s underpants on my head—they were getting tight, making my forehead itch. My ears were ringing and my nose was dripping blood. My father was leaning over me. “You slipped in the little puddle the washing machine makes—which I was going to fix someday soon, but I forgot. Obviously, you hit the wall head-first and knocked yourself out. You should be more careful.” I was mad. “I should be more careful? You lazy-ass sidewinder!” I couldn’t believe I called my father a “lazy-ass sidewinder,” but he was partially to blame. Then I yelled, flat on my back, “And I’ll wear Mom’s underpants on my head whenever and wherever I want!” He tried to rip Mom’s underpants off my head, but I held on tight despite my injuries. I heard sirens. I new I’d soon be on my way to the hospital.
They washed me up and x-rayed my head and put me in bed with a tube in my arm. Aside from the ringing ears, I felt pretty good. But, they told me I had a medium-bad concussion and to rest at the hospital for a week in case there were any complications. The next day, Mom showed up and she wanted her underpants back. She told me the last time her underpants went “traveling” was in her freshman year of college when she dated a Frat boy who collected girls’ underpants as a hobby. After their date, he shoved Mom’s underpants under the front seat of his car and drove away, leaving her to walk back to her dorm. She had to walk a mile along the side of the dark and deserted highway. She knew her underpants would be tagged and displayed in the Frat house, but she didn’t care because of all the famous underpants displayed there belonging to her university’s famous female graduates. I asked for names. She curtly said “No” and that was that. I suspected it was Dad. They had gone the same college and that’s where they had met. Plus, Dad had been in a fraternity. I had a back-up pair of underpants, so I gave them to Mom and kept the other ones for future adventures.
After that episode I my life, I never wore Mom’s underpants on my head again, except at her funeral ten years later. At that point in my life, I was a glutton for attention. Instead of throwing a handful of dirt into her open grave, I threw her underpants—the very same pair that I was wearing on my head when I was injured so many years ago. Some relatives screamed when I made my move, and my uncle Bill, who was standing alongside me, turned and punched me in the face at least five times. The undertaker retrieved the underpants and gave them to my father. Now, I would be going back to “Tranquil Roads” where I’d been living ever since the accident in the basement.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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