Like most brothers Ben and Joe have different personalities, so they deal with life in different ways.
When they were little Ben was Mr Honest and if he skated over the line of a Dad Law, he fessed up or was that shit at lying, Detective Coleman always got his man.
Joe on the other hand, danced to a different drum . . .
The picture of innocence, yet his ‘skates’ were permanently attached to his feet, bearings oiled and ready to roll. Bless him.
I don’t mean in any kind of really bad way, I’m talking about the fact the boy applied himself to testing Dad Law . . . like a Boss.
Most of his planned capers however, were swiftly rumbled by yours truly and showed quite clearly, that the boy was no criminal mastermind.
For example . . .
Upon hearing that cheesy Wotsits currently contained free Tazo’s, Joe did his usual sales pitch, consisting of “Free Tazo’s Dad! In Wotsits. Let’s get some now!”
That would make an awesome Wotsits ‘Tag Line’ actually. A superstar copywriter in the making is our Joe.
I think it was the infectiousness of his blissful enthusiasm that transported us, magic carpet like, to the local supermarket. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the fact that if I heard the words “Wotsits” or “Tazo’s” one more time, I would have eaten my own face.
Thankfully, we soon arrived and made our way to the ‘Crisps & Snacks’ department.
Unfortunately, Joe was born with the ‘3.5 Second Scan Motherboard Upgrade’, which means he can spot the most expensive choice, within a 30 yard radius, in any retail environment, in aforementioned time.
So within 3.5 seconds of turning onto the aisle he excitedly points “There!” rushing towards the ‘24 Packet Tribal Sack’ of the Tazo bearing fruit, known as Cheesy Wotsits.
Listen, I know what you’re thinking. A 24 packet bag?!
It’s ridiculous. I thought it too. In fact I said it. It’s completely ridiculous.
But it ended up in the boot. Please don’t judge me.
It’s ok though, I’m not stupid. I simply passed a new Dad Law. Law 2765/98 came into being on the way home:
“No child under the age of 16 shall under any circumstances, open more than one packet of Wotsits at a time. Said ‘time’ is in 24 hour increments and exceeding this legally defined period will result in immediate removal of the remaining goods.”
Obviously, as I realised such wording could be a little confusing to a 5 year old, I rephrased it to:
“Joe. DO NOT open them all at once to harvest your Tazo’s.”
Looking back, it was so obvious. We had been home 4 minutes and 31 seconds . . .
Ben: “Dad, I think you should look behind the settee.”
Joe: “Shut up Ben!”
Surely not? As I slid back the settee I was greeted with 24 open, yet unconsumed bags of Wotsits. Needless to say, all the bags were devoid of their precious cargo of Tazo’s.
The boy doesn’t do things by halves. And he was MIA with the loot.
“Joe, come here please son.”
“What were my last words to you?
“What? I haven’t done anything.” A look of utter disbelief on his face, like he was shocked I could accuse him of such a thing.
“And the award for best child Actor goes to . . . Joe Coleman for his epic and poignantly convincing performance of a boy falsely accused of a most heinous crime, in Tazo’s The Movie.”
His conviction was staggering. It really was. But not enough. The evidence was overwhelming and I moved quickly to sentencing.
I confiscated the Tazo’s and told him to think about why what he did was wrong, for both the epic food wastage and more importantly, lying to me. Then come and tell me what he thought.
I always felt that if I talk to them and explain why I have to tell them off, even when they were young, it would benefit them more than just yelling without communicating.
I wanted them to understand and I hoped if they did, they’d be less likely to do something else I’d have to tell them off for.
Hilarious I know. But I clung to my optimism like soggy driftwood, on the ferocious seas of fatherhood.
Anyway . . .
Joe apologised after a little think. He understood what he did was wrong but said he was so excited he couldn’t help it. And he didn’t mean to lie to me. Big hug, a “I love you Dad” and the world was a wonderful place once more.
Now here’s the thing . . . it was great to hear him tell me he got it. And that was enough for me.
He was little, learning as he went along and was a lovely lad. I hate conflict with my kids, I really do. But it’s hard being a mate and a Dad, if you know what I mean.
I really want to be both. Don’t we all? Mums too obviously. As parents, we all try and get the balance right. It’s a tough gig, but the awesome stuff makes up for that and there’s always awesome stuff.
So I gave him his Tazo’s back, told him to try and learn a bit from this and I ate most of the Wotsits myself.
Nope. I like Wotsits.