Mount St. Bob
Disclaimer: The following story contains a graphic description of bodily juices.My dad, The Bob, has been living a lie for far too long. The secret needs to be uncovered.
The truth was revealed to a select triumvirate of Virginia students after the Georgia Tech game last Saturday. For Chase Groseclose, Tom Kuklinski and Hunter Flint â??- the lucky three who got to see The Bob unveiled â??- the mere mention of the incident will still be sending shudders down their spines when I bring it up at our 30-year college reunion.
Me? I'm used to the secret by now. In fact, I'm the only one on God's green earth that sees the thing as a badge of honor, rather than a mark of the beast.
"Hey Bub," my dad used to say to me from his perch in the driver's seat, a familiar smirk developing at the corners of his mouth. "Does your stomach hurt? You got a little stomachache, don't you?"
It didn't matter if we were coming home from soccer practice or 11 o'clock mass â??- with The Bob, that was code for, "We're going to TCBY."
(Or, as he would say, "We're going to get a little medicine.")
Now that I've grown up, I've taken on a lot of the old man's characteristics. I may not have back hair or "a little bit of a weight problem," but I have mastered the art of the coded question.
"Hey Dad," I say every now and then, my face plastered with a replica of The Bob's patented smirk. "Does your back hurt? Your back's feeling a little tight, isn't it?"
My mom and two sisters have known what that question really means for far too long, so they're able to deal accordingly when it comes up.
Unfortunately for Chase, Tom and Hunter, they had to learn the truth about his "back problems" the hard way.
Oh, wait up -- there's one more big difference between father and son that I forgot to mention: I don't have a humongous cyst that doubles as a human can of silly string chilling on my upper back.
I'm talking about a monstrosity with a discharge of pus so powerful it would give Old Faithful a run for its money.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
You should be so lucky â??- those other three weren't given any advance notice at all. After I asked The Bob if his back hurt â??- and my mom responded with a "Here it comes again" groan full of dread -â?? all they saw was a 51-year-old man pull up his shirt on cue and lay his bare belly down on the living room table.
Eager to see what all the fuss was about, Chase, Tom and Hunter jostled for position around the table in front of them.
As I positioned my fingers around the base of "Mount St. Bob," it was hard for both Parsley men to keep from giggling -- these rookie jokers had no idea what was coming.
They thought they were about to see me perform some sort of crazy back massage â??- I was trying to aim the path of projectile into one of their faces.
I chuckled to myself at the prospect.
"Talk about all wet," I thought.
With all eyes centered upon the bulls-eye between my grasp, I started to apply pressure -- T-Minus one second later, we had liftoff.
T-Minus .00001 seconds after that, all three of my friends let out a collective "EEWWWOOHHHH!" as they backtracked like there was no tomorrow.
Hunter set a new world record for the two-foot dash. He was so taken back by the release of The Bob's not-so-silly string that not even a crippled baby lying in his path could have slowed him down.
Tom and Chase didn't react much differently. As my dad and I struggled for breath in the midst of tearful convulsions, those two remained in opposite corners of the room, mortified.
My mom just shook her head and laughed â??- this wasn't the first time she had seen Mount St. Bob showcased in all its glory.
Initial shock turned to uncontrollable laughter. Uncontrollable laughter gave way to a bunch of shaking heads. For three 21-year-olds, "Mr. Parsley" had finally become "The Bob."
The joke was on them, and it was time to look back and laugh ... or so they thought. Little did the rookies know they were only in the eye of the storm.
Like any volcanic eruption, there are bound to be some aftershocks.
"Do you smell it?" I asked about two minutes later.
"Smell wha-- oh my God, yes," one of them said, as a waft of pus-pourri made its way over to the TV.
"That is the worst thing I have ever smelled in my entire life," said another, shaking his head in disgust.
"That's why we usually only shoot it off in my sisters' rooms," I explained. "The stench won't go away for like 10 more minutes."
And you wonder why The Bob wanted to keep this thing a secret.
Bayless' column runs biweekly on Thursdays. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.