Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm no chicken

When I was about 12 or 13, my dad made a wager with my sister and me. Trivial Pursuit was big in our family, and he bet us that he could answer every question correctly on a predetermined number of cards. I think it was 10 or 15 cards--I can't remember the exact number, but it was enough to seem impossible. We thought he could never do it! Over 50 questions! All those Sports and Leisure ones--obscure golf questions and the like! No chance, we told him. You're going down, we said.

We were so young. As Don Henley sang, This is the end of the innocence.

Cause you see, we didn't realize then that Dad doesn't make a wager unless he's certain he's right. He's not so much a gambling man as a give-you-enough-rope-to-hang-yourself man.

And when he answered the last question correctly on that last card, Becky and I shrieked in horror. Cause the agreed-upon outcome of the wager was that if Dad won, we had to go outside in the freezing January night and plunge our arms into the pool. We had an above-ground pool, and it was cold enough that there was a thin sheet of ice covering the water.

Did Dad have mercy at the last minute? Was the wager merely an exercise to teach us a lesson? Nope. He led us outside by our wrists, Becky and I half laughing, half screaming, and plunged our arms through the ice into the water. You know how freezing water just takes your breath away, makes you ache, how ten seconds feels like minutes? I still remember that vividly. Lesson learned: don't make wagers with Dad.

Which is why I don't know what came over me the other day. Mom, Dad and I were having lunch at a shady outdoor cafe and chatting. Now, can you pardon me if I get all Bible Geek on you for a moment? It's an occupational hazard. Dad brought up a quote from the Bible--when a character in the Old Testament dies, the Bible says that despite his old age, his "natural forces were unabated". We've always snickered a bit at that line--like, "Oh yeah, you the man!" The Bible is a bit cheeky at times, you know. Anyway, Dad said it was Moses that the Bible was talking about and I, for some reason, was sure it was Caleb.

I was so sure! And his confidence irked me. Pushing my sunglasses on top of my head, I said, "You're wrong." Dad threw down the gauntlet: "Shall we make a wager?" And it was on.

And, Reader-- I was wrong! Dang it, he was right. Moses--you manly man! The agreed upon consequences were that the loser had to fully impersonate a chicken in a public place for 30 seconds. That was Dad's idea, by the way.

So here's me, clucking like a chicken at Bondi Beach, one of Sydney's most crowded beaches.

And here I am afterward. Ava and Nate weren't sure how to take it all. I think Ava was more embarrassed than I was.
Full Disclosure statement: Dad would like me to tell you that, although we were at Bondi, on a path with literally hundreds of people strolling back and forth, he let me go down a little side path, where only a few people were around. And he also maintains that I flaked out halfway through, and only gave about 15 seconds of good, quality chicken. I say why take 30 seconds to do what you can get done in 15? I was clucking, I was bobbing, I was scratching. What more can one girl-chicken do?

I would like to add that I do not know why I am poking myself in the boobs in that first picture. I clearly did not think that through. Posting these photos is slightly more embarrassing than the original event. But my family tells me that I'd be a chicken if I don't.

Speaking of poultry, happy Thanksgiving! I won't be eating turkey this year, but I'll be counting my blessings for sure.


  1. I love your family! It reminds me of two promises my dad made me as a kid 1) that I could get a parrot if I saved the princess on Super Mario brothers blindfolded (I assure you, I did try to do this) and 2) I could get a puppy if after the long Colorado winter of snowcover if I picked up every single piece of dog poop in the yard without him finding any missed spots. In fact, I lost on both these counts. However, he did not make me do the chicken dance. Your dad gets kudos for that! :)

  2. Oh Amy, don't ever ever take dad's bets!! Such a preventable tragedy!

    Thanks for retraumatizing me about the pool thing.

    But you were a cute chicken. Was Gob from Arrested Dev your inspiration?

  3. Hilarious! I can picture the whole thing - even hear your dad's tone of voice and see the facial expression. We had some funny and interesting discussions in the Teachers' Lounge at Jim Allen back in the day! He really does know some ridiculous trivia...

  4. Amy- This is PERFECT Christmas Card material!

    Imagine everyone's faces when they open your card, expecting to see a nice picture of the family and they see you acting like poultry!


  5. You are so adorable in these pictures!! Your kids are equally adorable. All of you must have been hit with a huge cutie stick!!

  6. Should I tell you how cute and skinny you look or would that ruin the chicken dance?