Last night my wife and I were invited by family friends to see a performance of some live bluegrass at a local pizza place. The husband plays mandolin and performs vocals and is a hell of a nice guy. He’s quite a musician, too, and owns more instruments than I do Pokemon plush toys.
The band was excellent and sounded great. The music was really good and it was quite a treat to relax after work with a cold one and enjoy their music.
These friends have been indirectly mentioned on this blog already. By that I mean, they are parents to two gerbils of their own. In fact, they are no slouches and have produced world-class gerbils. They also consider our gerbil to be a close family friend and don’t always see eye-to-eye with us regarding parenting and how we choose to interact with our own gerbil.
The first gerbil of theirs I am hereby issuing the codename “Farley.” He has been featured on this blog in such classic posts as Audience participation and the classic Holmesian tale The Adventure of the Raspberry Bar. Farley is also the one who got a medical marijuana card due to his “sore back” and recently signed up for food stamps from the government even though he still lives at home. Like I said, Farley is a world-class gerbil.
He’s also a glutton. When we arrived he was already at the table. We were a little surprised as we didn’t know he was going to be there. But it wasn’t too surprising, really. What else is a gerbil to do except hang up with the food providers when meal time is near? Farley and our friends had already ordered and Farley was waiting for his food to arrive. To pass the time and whet his appetite Farley was taking little cups of ranch dressing, topping them off with Parmesan cheese, seasoning with salt and pepper, then quaffing them down as his own personal homemade appetizers. Bam! Let’s kick it up a notch! What a sight that was! Utterly rude and utterly disgusting! Sadly this sort of behavior is quite the norm for Farley.
At a nearby table sat Farley’s older brother, already codenamed on this blog as Pooch. He has also been featured in at least two previous posts including Gerbil rampage and Good news with a twist of gerbil WTF. This gerbil also had his own marijuana grow under the family’s garage. He sat at his own table with three of his own friends. His child (I guess we’ll call him Future Gerbil Jr.) was over on grandma’s lap, who functions as his primary caretaker, for the most part completely ignored by his pa.
I don’t like being in such close quarters with gerbils but I managed to relax and listen to the fine music as we placed our order and chatted with our friend while her husband performed.
I can’t say I was much too surprised when I saw our own gerbil approaching. Yes, it was our very own son! Most of the gerbil posts on this blog have been about him. I won’t bother to list them. Just click the logo for GRIPE if you want to learn more.
We don’t see this kid or hear from him except, like earlier this week, he shows up at our door or on the phone when he needs something. He sat down at our table and soon food arrived, including a pizza just for him! I realized then that our gerbil had been invited and they’d already ordered food for him. It was beginning to feel a lot like a setup and an ambush, like our friend was trying to surprise everyone and that would magically fix things and brings us all back together. Sad to say, if we had known he was going to be there, we probably wouldn’t have gone. It was just too damn awkward. We were supposed to be there to see our friends and relax.
Suddenly I realized that I was sitting in the middle of a bona fide gerbil nexus. Unfortunately I didn’t have my field research kit with me. I’d heard of the gerbil nexus before, of course, but I never really expected to see one in my lifetime. There are pretty rare and, after all, I do spend a lot of time actively trying to avoid gerbils at all costs.
The duty, however, fell to me, and I was not about to shirk. I immediately did an empirical scan of the scene. What did I see? What was observable?
- Three gerbils stuffing their faces, none of which, naturally, would be paying for their own meal.
- Three sets of gauged ear lobes.
- Three similar sets of odd facial hair.
- Three marijuana users.
- Three heavy drinkers.
- Three smokers.
- Three men who still live at home. (Ours is quasi-moved out, though. We have the key! More on that later.)
- Three guys with questionable occupations. Ours works for our aunt, Farley is unemployed, and Pooch has been employed less than a week. All three have shitty work histories.
- Three people who have deliberately altered their appearance to be as unemployable as much as possible.
- One high school diploma, one high school dropout with no GED, and one unknown.
Our gerbil and Farley stuffed their faces, didn’t say much, then disappeared. Pooch stayed away at his own table and left all responsibility for watching the kid on his mom.
Sadly I wasn’t more prepared and that’s about all of the data I was able to gather. It was one harrowing experience!