Cheese Puff Double Slice
Kids get up early on Saturday without provocation, threats or coercion because it it’s the only day of the week without obligation. It’s a day for breakfast cereal, cartoons and afternoon excursions outdoors with friends. It’s also a day for mischief.
My brother Joe and I got up particularly early to watch our favorite Saturday morning cartoons. My folks were usually so exhausted from the week that Saturday was their day to catch up on all the sleep they missed. This made it easy to pilfer the kitchen cabinets.
After a bowl of cereal and a couple of hours of “Thundarr the Barbarian,” “Space Ghost” and “Scooby Doo” our appetites would return and the search would be on for something other than cereal, something Mom would usually object to.
One particular morning, the thing that caught our fancy was a giant, family-size bag of cheese puffs. These cheese puffs came in a bag so large that one would expect it to contain about 17 pounds of dry dog food. They probably had the same nutritional value as dog food, but they tasted so good that we didn’t care.
The first obstacle to our enjoyment of said treat was to obtain the bag, which was on top of the refrigerator, a common place for adults to put things that they don’t want kids to get into. The thing that most adults don’t take into account is the bravado of a kid who is willing to climb to get what they want. A tip for all you parents and future parents – that refrigerator trick only works while your child is unable to climb. Do not underestimate kids; they lack impulse control and will do what ever it takes to get what they want when you are not around. Believe it.
Getting the bag was as simple as moving a kitchen chair close enough to enable access to the countertop. Phase one of mission completed, we sat on the couch and set about to reaching phase two, which was opening the bag to get to the cheese puffs. This proved more difficult than we had anticipated. Both my brother and I took turns attempting to wrench open the bag. When that didn’t work, we tried a team approach, each of us grabbing a side of the bag and pulling with all our strength. We struggled and strained, but to no avail. That blasted bag may as well have been a locked bank vault.
But we were determined to get into that bag if it were the last thing we did. And considering the possibilities of what might have gone wrong, it very well could have been.
I came up with the idea to cut the bag open. I told my brother not to worry and that we would soon be chomping as many cheese puffs as we could eat. I ran into the kitchen, opened the utensil drawer and grabbed the first knife available. It was an old butcher’s knife my dad would take hunting and use to dress out his game. It was in a hand-made leather sheath. I ran back to the living room knife in hand ready to open that bag.
I unsheathed the knife as if I were a knight drawing his sword on a field of combat. I was ready to slay this bag and become a hero to my brother, who was in need of cheese puffs. I would become known as a guy who could get things done, a problem solver and the go-to guy. I instructed my brother to hold one side of the bag as I held the other and pull it tight so as to facilitate a quick, single, bag-opening slice. I drew back my right hand, knife at the ready, and began to count so as not to startle my brother with the violence of my cut. One, Two, SLICE!
It took a few seconds to realize that we had done no damage whatsoever to the bag, but as blood came out of both of our fingers we observed that I had succeeded in opening a deep gash in each. We grabbed our eviscerated fingers, which, by now, were pouring blood all over us. We ran to my parent’s bedroom for help. I think we scared my dad out of ten years of his life when we came busting into his room screaming and gushing blood everywhere.
He quickly jumped out of bed. After determining that the cuts were not deep enough to need stitching, he cleaned and dressed our wounds while trying to simultaneously reassure my mom we were not going to bleed to death. I had expected a beating for sure, but none came. Pop just told me being cut for my stupidity and having my little brother mad at me for cutting him was punishment enough.
From the Cheese Puff Double Slice, I gleaned two pretty good lessons, which have saved my bacon a few times. Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should; and there’s nothing wrong with aggressively pursuing what you want in life, as long as you use the proper tools and methods. If you don’t, you could end up hurting yourself and possibly someone else.