I was sitting around doing nothing, tapping on my laptop, mindlessly scanning messages and images, yawning and thinking it’s too cold outside.
A thought popped up: whoopee cushion. Uh-huh—whoopee cushion. I was back in my childhood, grinning because my mother, in a rare lapse of motherly decorum, bought her kids a whoopee cushion. My twin brother Steve and I had endless fun with it, squeezing all the flatulence sound effects possible from that rubber air bag. Our fun wasn’t exactly fun for everyone else. We’d sneak up on our parents and blast it then run away; poke it in each other’s faces and let it rip; hide it under our shirts and startle people with noisy chest farts; jab it in little sister Julie’s ear and make it and her squeal.
Inevitably, the fun went too far, at least in my mother’s eyes. Her aunt Lily came to visit, an elderly woman who looked and acted her name. Portly and white-crowned, she was the sweetest thing—quiet, not terribly interesting. She was family, however, and we needed to afford her the respect and attention she deserved.
It was time to bring out the whoopee cushion. I’m sure Steve hatched the idea. I would never…but I was fully behind his plan. We knew which armchair Mom would encourage Aunt Lily to use. It was a simple matter of slipping the airbag under the chair cushion with the bag’s opening exposed, so everyone in the room would hear the full blast. Steve and I set the bag for maximum impact. We just had to wait for the prim woman to lower her hindquarters into the chair.
Alas, the plan was foiled. Maybe we checked and rechecked and adjusted and discussed and hovered and argued over the placement of the device just a little too much. Maybe it was our anticipatory giggling. Or maybe it was just a little too obvious as the lips of the bag sagged out from beneath the chair cushion. Eagle-eye Mom got wind of the disaster in the making and whisked the toy away before Aunt Lily plopped her derriere upon the bag. We were mightily disappointed.
That was the end of that toy. It disappeared into the depths of my mom’s dresser forever, where of course we were forbidden. Maybe she gave it a few squeezes before she retired it and thought about the scenario that could have unfolded because of her thoughtless scheming kids.
Sometimes I imagine that we succeeded. Aunt Lily, that dear proper lady, would have looked around and seen Steve and me giggling like crazy, maybe crying, rolling on the floor even, overcome by the hilarity of our well-executed incident. I don’t believe Aunt Lily would have laughed.
I kind of enjoy thinking about these things on a cold wintery day, sixty years later.