I had a car full — all four daughters and wondering wonder why I never remembered ear plugs for a road trip.
There was a noise lull, which is usually a sign something’s about to happen. I was obliviously enjoying the semi-peaceful, kinda quiet moment, when a screeching, high-pitched voice shrieks, “Yella one!!!” Then she hit me in the arm, frogged me right in the muscle!
Being the strong, hard as a rock muscles, manly man that I am, I whimpered, “Ouuuuuuch!”
Wincing in pain I rubbed the muscle while bent over the steering wheel like an assignation victim.
“What did ya do that for!?”
From the chorus of laughter beside and behind me, the shrill voice said, “There was a yellow car, Daddy! I saw it first! Saw it before you did, so I get to punch you!”
“What? Who made this game up?”
A long series of explanations of where, who, how and when the game is played began. The only thing clear was that if you see a yellow car and yell it out, you get to punch the daylights out of another person’s arm.
We were south bound almost to Houston, and the giggling, screeching owls in the car began screaming out “Yellow one!”
Punches started to roll, with most directed at me and my little bitty deltoid muscle. My attention and awareness of the road went to red alert. The four boogers with me didn’t have to drive, think about the cop car speeding past them, or move to miss the folding metal chair that fell off someone’s trailer.
To top it off, it was four against one! That’s not right. It just ain’t right!!
After being hit regularly for fifteen minutes, all under protest, we got into heavier Houston traffic. There were yellow taxis everywhere!
The hits turned into a pummeling Daddy and then laughing like crazy! It got to the point when I heard, “Yella one!!” that I automatically flinched knowing a wallop was on the way! Then I got hit hard twice on the meat tenderized deltoid!
“Hey!” I sternly object. “You can’t hit me twice in a row!”
From the back seat, a now calm, controlled, intelligent sounding voice began an explanation in a college professor tone. She sounded like she was explaining the theory of relativity as it relates to parallelism, or something else no one really understands.
“Yes, Daddy. The last one was a yellow Volkswagen slug bug. Slug bugs count twice. Two hits for a slug bug. That’s the rule. That’s the way the game’s played.”
Answering Professor Deltoid Blaster, I made up words mumbling how my rombulator was getting wrapped up with the gillfirter causing turbulation.
My meager attempt at distraction didn’t work. In fact, they didn’t bother responding because they were all eyes on the road ahead. I swear they must’ve been hiding binoculars back there, which really got me turbulated!.
As the driver, the hills are the worst part. I still had to drive, avoid collisions and maintain speed while scouted every card peaking a ridge to see if it was a yellow one or not.
“Yella one!” is yelled out from within the hyena pack. I automatically cringe while holding the steering wheel tighter waiting for the retribution.
Five times! Five times I got hit then! Exasperated I ask, “That’s not fair!! Five hits! Why five hits?!”
“School bus, Daddy. School bus.”
This was no game! This was some kind of NCIS torture developed by seemingly innocent, cute, blonde hair girls!
Then it dawned on me! Their “rules” weren’t rules at all! Their rules were amoeba like, always changing, a moving set of “guidelines” that depended on the interpretation of whoever was speaking at the time. And even though they may have just said it, in another minute or two, it wouldn’t mean what they just said it meant.
I wondered if this was a woman training program? Like, it’s a women’s prerogative to change her mind, right? Well this was too, except in girl form. How did they instinctively know to do that??
Well, heaven help my future son-in-laws when they get married twenty, twenty-five, maybe thirty years from now!
He paints the wall. Hit on the arm. “No, this color.”
He puts the TV on the game. A whop on the arm. “Nope, cooking channel.”
He goes fishing all day long. Two hits on the arm. “You should’ve known I meant half a day!”
She asks if the dress makes her look fat. Just stick out the arm! He’s getting five hits no matter what he says!
Finally! I see a yellow bulldozer on the side of the road in a construction zone.
“Yellow one!!!” I proudly point to the bulldozer and reach over to pop the arm of the girl sitting beside me. I don’t even remember which daughter it was. At that point, as long as it was one of the four, I didn’t really care.
Hey, don’t judge me! You weren’t there! You have no idea what it was like! And yes! Yes I was happy! I finally, finally got to call “Yella one!!” Sure, revenge is bad, but it tastes so sweet!!
From the backseat, Professor Know It All piped up saying I had broken one of their ever-changing set of rules. She said road construction equipment is to ‘build’ roads, not ‘drive’ on them, so I clearly broke a rule!
The Professor took a straw poll and the other three collaborators unanimously agreed, surprise, surprise, that I must pay the consequences.
Mouth open in disbelief, I tell them they never said that was a rule, and although they were all very respectful about it, basically they said in unison, “Well, Daddy. It was a bulldozer! DUH!”
Then they voted that each one is allowed to hit me ten times. Ten times! I plea bargained down to five each, or just one each if it was a really hard hit.
There was no Ibuprofin for my arm, which was about to hemorrhage in a deltoid aneurism.
I’ve never been more relieved to stop driving that day! It took a couple of years (yes, years) for their “game” to play out, but those two years did long-term damage to my mental psyche. I think I have PTSD!
Even now, I can be driving by myself and tense up when I see a yellow car. Like Pavlov’s dog, I cringe waiting for the shoe to drop, or more accurately, the knuckle to strike. It’s even worse seeing yellow bulldozer! Just pure turbulation!!