Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sophisticated Marshmallow Smuggling - A Classic

The way a family spends its weekend is a real indicator of just how nuts a family is, no matter how not nuts they want people to believe they are.

My family is an excellent example of this working theory. We would like you to believe that we are sophisticated intellectual sorts who spend our leisure hours having deep philosophical discussions, frequenting places of stimulating cultural interest, and engaging in recreational activities. Here’s how the weekend really shakes out.


After watching The Lord of the Rings—again—we begin our post-movie, round table discussion by answering the following question, “What would you do if you had a ring that made you invisible?” Answers include . . .

Phillip (the son-in-law) - “I’d go around doing good for all mankind.”

Sherwood (my husband of forever) - “I’d sneak into women’s locker rooms.”

Phillip (when he heard Sherwood’s answer) -  “I’d sneak into women’s locker rooms with Sherwood.”

Me (the voice of reason and sanity) - “I’d sneak up behind Sherwood and Phillip sneaking around women’s locker rooms and bop them on the head.” But then I added, “Invisibility ring! I’m already invisible.  What I need is a VISISBILITY ring.”

 Adam (Please see my essay, Only A Nimrod Would Think that he could Tip Over a Whole Cow) – “I’d sneak up behind cows and tip them over.”

Maren (nineteen at the time) – “Men are dogs.”

 Heather (after twenty minutes of deep thought) – “Pants People?”


 Before Disney, before Universal, before civilization there was Gatorland. Gatorland is a semi-tropical ode to tacky tourist traps.  We love it.

Murky pools of fetid water swirl as Florida alligators and the occasional crocodile glide by. Reptiles, roughly the size of sofas, bask in the shimmering heat. We throw marshmallows at them. Visitors can buy hotdogs to toss to the gators, which bring them to a boiling frenzy, but why? For ninety-nine cents and the thrill of watching Adam smuggle a bag of Jet-puffed marshmallows in his pants you can bring these pre-historic handbags to the point of hysteria.

(Please note: It is wrong to do this and you should never, ever smuggle foodstuffs in your pants when visiting Gatorland—ever. I’ll tell.)

And before anyone complains that we’re probably causing cavities in the alligators with our contraband marshmallows, let me remind you that alligators use their teeth for grabbing you, not chewing you. Alligators eat you—after they death roll you, drown up, stuff you under a submerged log, and tenderize you. Then they snack on you. Believe me, those marshmallows never touched their teeth.

Culture is 150 alligators lined up and waiting—breathless—for the next Jet-puffed marshmallow. Our working theory is that they’re sick of eating hot-dogs, biting chunks out of each other, or jumping for dangling chickens. (Note:  Yes they do jump, no matter what Sherwood and Philip say. They don’t jump great, but they jump.)


Once a month, we indulge in Sunday dinner with the Chevrier family.  Note: Sometimes the Chevrier’s temporarily adopt one or more of our children and raise them, like in the Middle Ages when you sent your kids to other people’s castles to check out the alligators in their moats. 

So we have dinner. We eat. We talk. We discuss deep philosophical issues like, “Will marshmallows give alligators high blood pressure?” And if we’re really in a wild and crazy mood we take our own temperatures with Carol’s way cool ear thermometer. Aren’t you glad I didn’t say rectal thermometer?

There’s crazy and then there’s weird.

There you have it, philosophy, culture, and recreation. One of the things I like best about our family is that we can really laugh at ourselves. I can’t think of people I’d rather be invisible with or get busted with while smuggling marshmallows in my pants.

Linda (Puffy Pants) Zern

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