Saturday, June 11, 2011

Icing and Urges and Fingerprints, Oh My!

Coming from a large family, there was plenty of birthday cake each year.

There was one birthday in January and February, two in April, two in May, one in August and three in September.

Once in a while someone would sneakily run their finger through a cake's icing before the candles were lit and the birthday song sung.

I usually got the blame and my dad would always jokingly ask to see my fingers for any incriminating evidence that might still be clinging there.

How and why did this birthday cake-centric, paternal ribbing begin?

Like most long-running family sprang from something that happened in my youth.

I was about six, when one afternoon my dad was caulking around a window on the front porch and when he finished he turned towards my brothers, sisters and I saying, "DO NOT touch this!" and then he walked away.

The fact that he said not to touch it and in such a forceful manner made me want to touch it even more.

I have always had the urge to touch or do something, especially once it has been pointed out that it is forbidden to do so (on my honeymoon, in Washington, D.C., I nearly touched the Romulus and Remus statue in the National Art Museum before the guard yelled at me and I embarrassed my new husband. I couldn't help myself, the statue called to me like a siren to a sailor of old. I just had to see if the twins were attached to the she-wolf').

Now, I more often than not, keep this urge in check but back when I was six, the urge to run my finger through the caulk was over whelming.

I stretched out my right arm and with my index finger leading the charge, I ran it through the white, creamy caulk with nary a thought of what consequences would follow.

After my finger left a trench in the caulk, it was covered in sticky whiteness. I began to panic...I needed to clean off my finger, get rid of the evidence of my disobedience.

I wiped my finger on the grass again and again, but still the caulk was embedded in the whorls of my fingerprints.

Just then I heard the angry voice of my father.

"Who did this?"

I didn't want to admit my guilt; I knew what my fate would be. My father lined up all of us kids.

"Hold your hands out and show me your fingers!"

We lined up according to age. I had three sisters ahead of me. Their inspection gave me more time to try to clean my finger off. I put the offending finger in my mouth to wet it and then I began vigorously rubbing it with my other hand. That caulk was going nowhere.

I began to see the error of my ways and my short life passed before my eyes as my father made his way down the line to me.

My guilt was discovered alongside the white caulk tattoo on my finger tip. My father had to look no further among his progeny to find the caulk criminal.

I got quite a well deserved spanking that day (you think that would have prevented my Romulus and Remus incident years later wouldn't you...that urge is strong I tell you).

1 comment:

  1. Do my my fingerprint. Run Andy, run!