This Thanksgiving, my dad and I went to Tupelo, MS, to visit my late Mom’s side of the family — my grandma, Uncle Steve, Aunt Becki, Cousin Cara and Cousin Gus. This meant 10 hours straight in the car. Together. Alone. One screaming match, one bout of tears, two threats to turn around and go home, one hug, two coffees, two cherry limeades, 16 cigarettes, and we still had approximately 312 miles to go. This is when I gained a newfound respect for my father.
I’m driving down the highway, my dad in the passenger seat, when some doofus honks at us. I immediately thought I did something wrong. I look over and the man smiles and waves. So we speed up. Do I know this man? Is he just f-cking with us? I’m thoroughly confused. He smiles again and flashes the peace sign. This pisses me off. Now he’s f-cking with me. I think about this for five minutes.
Me: I don’t like that guy.
Dad: What guy?
Me: The guy that honked. I don’t know why he was honking. Why did he flash the peace sign for no reason? That’s weird.
Dad: Tina, let it go.
Me: No! I don’t like him. I think you should moon him.
Me: I’m serious. I dare you.
Dad: OK, roll down the window. Don’t look.
I block my line of vision and do as I’m told. I speed by and honk as my dad definitely flashes his bare bottom. I know this because, well, my dad takes dares very seriously.
An hour goes by, maybe two or four. It’s now dark outside, and it’s only about 5pm. I’m driving again because my dad has horrid night vision. He’s been alternating sleep with Angry Birds and Fritos. I need gas, so I pull over at a “Kum & Go” in Arkansas. The Ol’ Man wakes up.
Dad: Where the f-ck are we?
Me: I need gas.
Dad: At a Kum & Go? So you, like, bust a nut and scram, huh?
I get gas, my father goes in to use the restroom. I’m waiting in the car when I get the following text message: “Tina, help, I’ve been kidnaped. They said they need 12 dollars ransom! TOM” [sic]
I gasp. Obviously this is a joke, but knowing TOM, Lord knows what he is up to. I rush inside. There is my dad flirting with the cashier, asking her why they would name a gas station “Kum & Go.” She doesn’t seem to get the joke. I go back to the car and wait. I check into Foursquare, because this is just all too hilarious. My dad returns, I ask him to throw away some trash. Yes, this is important to the story.
About three hours later, we arrive to our destination. We’re unloading the car to go into my family’s house, when my dad yells, “SHIT!” This does not sound good.
Dad: Tina, I think I threw my teeth away.
My dad has false teeth, and he hates to wear his “lowers,” so he often removes them after eating. He always wears his “uppers,” so you can’t really tell.
Me: At that last gas station we were at?
Dad: Yes! I had them wrapped in a napkin, and when you had me throw that stuff away, I reach in my pocket to throw the napkin away. With my teeth. G-ddamn!
Me: It’s OK. We were at the Kum & Go. I checked into Foursquare, so we can get the address and phone number.
Dad: Four what?
Me: Don’t worry, I have the phone number.
Dad: Great! Maybe I can offer them $50 to fish my teeth out of the trash. Which pump were we at?
Me: Somewhere in front. It’s worth a shot.
Dad: You’re so smart. The fact that you documented where we were at! You’re my hero.
Needless to say, my father calls the gas station. Of course the cashier remembers him — who could forget TOM? He bribes her to fish his teeth out of the trash; she says she will check and call back. Ten minutes later she calls to say she has found his lower teeth. All is right in the world. Photo courtesy of weheartit.com.