Eli, my nine-year-old brother, and I hung out today. I took him Christmas shopping for my mom, step-dad and grandparents and then we ate lunch and went bowling. At one point I had to drive past a place that I have been avoiding the last few weeks of my Tennessee visit: MY Waffle House that closed down this year.
I go there every year when I visit the States. And I pretty much go on a daily basis. I love it! It’s not so much the food, coffee or skanky environment, as it is just the whole package. And I like being called “sweetie” and “honey” and “sugar pie” by the old, country, toothless waitresses.
I am pretty sure they were about to add my face to the menu. Last time I was in town, when it was time for me to head back to Cape Town, all the Waffle House ladies gave me a Waffle House visor, little button, and a name tag with my very own name on it. It was great! But it’s over now. They closed that one down. Bloody recession! Sure, there are two more in Cookeville, and I can go, and have gone, to the others, but it’s just not the same.
Anyways! Back to the story…
So Eli and I drove past the empty, sad looking EX-Waffle House building, that had been designed and painted another color; no scattering, smothering or covering going on in there! It made me sad to see it really. And the blows kept coming! I was shocked to see someone had ruthlessly vandalized the window. Probably just a depressed customer like me who did not know how to express his sadness properly and so it came out in the form of aggression, with a slight hint of perversion. There it was: a big red penis, standing on its hine legs.
I said, “Oh wow!”
Me, “Oh…um…well, someone drew something rude on the window over there. It’s not very nice.”
Eli, “What is it?”
Me, a little surprised he couldn’t tell and very sorry I had opened my mouth in the first place, “Well… it’s a penis.”
Eli, “EWE!”, slight shaking of his head expressing disappointment towards the vandal, “That doesn’t sound very nice! Whatever a penis is!”
Me, in absolute shock, “You don’t know what a penis is?”
Eli, “No. What’s a penis?”
I thought for a moment. I wondered how Eli had made it 9 years without hearing this word. I wondered if I had corrupted his little nine-year-old mind with a vulgar word and then I realized that penis is in fact the medical term. And I guess the word choice could have been much, much worse!
Me, “Well, it’s a boys private part.”
Eli, “Oh. Ok.”
Me, “What do you call it?”
Eli, “A dude. Cause daddy always told me to shake off the dew when I was done peeing and I thought he said dude.”
Oh yes! How could I forget!
Me, “Oh yes! How could I forget! Well, that was a picture of a real tall dude.”
Eli, “Huh. Well, it looked like a half of a bone.”
Me, a little worried, “What?”
Eli, “Like, it only had the knobby part on the one end.”
Me, “OH! Right.”
I thought about it a second. He was quite right. I was impressed, and also wishing I would have thought of that and could have just said, “AWE! Someone drew a half of a bone on the window! What a jerk!”
Me, “Excellent perception on your part Eli. It does look like a half-a-bone!”
Eli did not ask what perception means so I assume he knew.