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5:16 a.m. - 2002-06-03

PICNIC IN HELL

My extended weekend with the in-laws is over.

Can I get an "Amen"?

Just one??

A little one??

Can I get an "A" then??

Fine.


So yesterday, Susie has to go to church early for some reason and takes Andrew.

"Are you coming to church?" she asks, which was weird because I always go to church.

"I dunno," I said, which was weird because I always go to church. "It's Youth Sunday and I hate Youth Sunday."

Youth Sunday is when the teenagers in church do the whole service thing. They plan it, they write it, they pick the music, they serve communion, the whole bit.

It's a nice gesture. But it's always the SAME teens every year and only one of those teens has a personality. The rest are quiet kids who never say a word the rest of the year. And the service always turns into a train wreck at some point and it's considered "rude" to laugh out loud and point at whatever teen is up on the pulpit screwing things up and screaming "YOU SUCK!!!" at the top of your lungs.

So I decide that I'm not going. Susie's not thrilled about this, but accepts it as my prerogative.

So I'm lounging around the house, an entire Sunday morning with no wife and kid and in-laws to hamper my day. What to do first??

Well, hell...put the Andrew W.K. disc in the CD player and crank it to 11, duude.

So I'm PARTYING! PARTYING! I'M PARTYING, DUDE!! I'M ROCKING THE HOUSE LIKE NOBODY'S BUSINESS!!! I'M THREATENING TO THRASH MY WOOFERS, BAYBEEEEE!!!

...aaaaaaand the phone rings.

It's the leader of the youth group at church wondering if I can bring my video camera to church to videotape the Youth Sunday service like I've done the past two years.

Fine. Yeah. Sure. I'll do it.

So I jump in the shower while I'm still PARTYING! PARTYING!! I take a quickie, jump in some clothes and head to church.

The service, as always, is a train wreck. The first girl gets up there and makes announcements, including one for a party for the children's choir next Sunday at Miss Judy's house. If you don't know how to get there, here are directions.

Turn right on Dalraida from Wares Ferry Road. Go a quarter mile to the second stoplight and take a left on Dalraida place. At the T in the road, turn right. Go about three blocks until you see the mailbox with the American Flag on it and turn left. Go three more blocks and.....

Finally, people started snickering in the congregation and the Youth Group leader called out "Just tell people they can get directions after church" like we were all sitting there with pencils in hand, furiously writing down these directions.

I'm sure you had to be there to appreciate the full humor of the situation. But damn...that was some funny crap.

Ummmmmm...what else?

Oh...the kids decided that this year, instead of an actual sermon, they wanted the congregation to all sing their favorite songs.

We sang ELEVEN F'N SONGS in church yesterday. Some were cool. I personally can rock out on "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and "Here I Am, Lord". I rock the hizzouse on those two. I'm like Uncle Bobby W.K. when it comes to singing "Go Tell It On The Mountain". All headbanging and thrashing and shit.

But the majority of them were songs that nobody in the church had ever heard before. Some obscure little Christian nuggets.

THEN...one of the kids gets up there and says that adults have always thought that the music teens listen to sucks. But some kids listen to music other than Limp Biskit and Britney Spears. Some listen to (gasp!!) Contemporary Christian music.

...Those kids are commonly referred to as "nerds" in the adult world.

Anyway...they play some Contemporary Christian song on a boombox and all sit around in a semi-circle and "jam out" to the song while the congregation humored them by not throwing our chairs in their direction and telling them that they suck.

Afterwards, I went up to the teens that I at least have a somewhat decent relationship with, shook their hands and told them "You did soooooooo okay!" It was a joke, of course. I mean, they actually did pretty shitty.

Once at home, I expressed to Susie my dissatisfaction with the concept of Youth Sunday. She defended the concept, saying "How do the kids know that they don't want to go into the seminary without giving it a try?"

I brought up the fact that I like the professionals doing the job, not amateurs. If I go to McDonald's, I don't want to go on the one day out of the year when they let customers behind the counter to deep fry all the burgers and grill the fries.

Leave it. To the. Professionals.


So then we get a call from Susie's Dad.

He has decided that he wants "his family" (the one he abandoned...not his new second family) to all meet at the Shakespeare Festival to have a picnic and feed the ducks at the pond on his last day in town.

Fine.

Oh.

Except it's 95 degrees outside with a heat index of 101.

Now this sounds like the stupidest idea since Dylan Klebold told Eric Harris "Yeah sure. What the hell. I'll help."

And they're on the way over to the house to hang around and wait for Andrew to wake up from his nap.

Susie explained to them that Andrew's naps are AT LEAST three hours long.

That's okay. They'll wait.

I groan when Susie tells me this. She says "You can go take a nap then."

Ooooooo! Don't mind if I do!!

I took a two and a half hour nap while they were here. Call it rude if you want...I do not have a relationship with these people, nor do I want one. I have some issues with them and it's a miracle I can even be somewhat sociable to them.

So I get up as they're getting ready to load all their picnic stuff in the car.

I help them do that. Andrew's still asleep. I have graciously decided to stay behind and stay with Andrew until he wakes up, at which time I will bring him to the picnic in Hell.

Grandpa's new wife is slightly miffed that she's going to miss a chance to stare at my baby's penis while he gets a diaper change, but decides to go anyway.

And no...that was NOT a joke. It's downright creepy how that lady makes it a point to first hand witness every diaper change the kid gets. On Saturday, she damned near broke her neck running down the hallway into his bedroom when I was back there changing his diaper. She seriously gives me the creeps in a "child molester" way.

Andrew finally wakes up about 5:15, having taken a four and a half hour nap, and we go over to the picnic.

The heat is like a thick wall of exhaust fumes as you step into it. Down here in the South, humidity always stays at 100 percent once June hits until the end of October. It's PAINFULLY HUMID outside.

We get there and the brood has just finished their picnic. They left some food for me which is now being eaten by ants. That's fine, I didn't want any anyway.

We set up a blanket near the pond where the ducks are patiently waiting for some bread. My nephews are chucking whole hamburger buns into the water that are just sinking to the bottom of the pond. Christ. They're basically throwing trash in there. Anything they can find, they're pelting the ducks with it. Chicken bones, generic soft drink cans, plastic spoons, macaroni salad...anything.

I snapped a bunch of pictures, too many to put here. But here's one of Andrew getting dangerously close to the ducks with a look on his face like he wants to take a bite out of them to see what duck tastes like...

Andrew and the ducks.

Around 8:00, once the heat began to die down and the heat index fell below 100 degrees, we called it a night.

I had to hug Grandpa's wife. We were all drenched in sweat and I had to hug her. I wanted to puke.

Had to shake Grandpa's hand. I gave him a firm, bone-crushing handshake.

And they were gone.

Gotta go...the wife's leaving and the kid's in our bed screaming at Winnie the Pooh for some ungodly reason.

Peace out.

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