“Who are you supposed to be? Anthony Kiedis?” I asked between the coughs and choking that now marked my morning coffee.
“Who is that?” asked his fully-clothed older brother. The lack of surprise regarding his sibling’s attire spoke volumes.
“He’s the lead singer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers,” I answered. And then I went on a long tangent about the time that I was working in a public school in Arizona and one of the students asked me why I had both of my ears pierced (I was young, it was the 90s), which somehow turned into a class of 6th graders elaborating on their own elaborations to create the answer that they wanted to hear. By the time class ended I had, according to lore, been the original singer for said Chili Peppers. I didn’t claim it, but I didn’t deny it either. The school year closed with a picture of me in the yearbook and a caption that started, “Ex-Chili Peppers’ frontman Mr. Honea…” and ended with me signing more yearbooks than any basketball coach with a losing season should ever have to.
“You had your ears pierced?” they asked.
“Put some pants on,” I said.
Welcome to morning in our house. Getting dressed is a process. During the week we generally pick out clothes the night prior so that the boys can slip straight from the shower right into their daily ensemble. However, they often opt for the scenic route, justifying changes, surprises and a general apathy for fashion. It takes a lot longer than it should — like homework, but with more nudity. The sock thing was new.
“I don’t want to get dressed,” he said as I stuck my head into the doorway of their bedroom. The one sock was now on his foot, and therein ended his progress. His bottom nestled softly upon the pillow of his brother.
“Fine,” I told him. “Go to school naked.”
“No,” yelled his older brother as he rushed into the conversation. “I don’t want him to be naked at school!”
This was followed immediately by, “Hey, get your butt off my pillow!”
And then my youngest son laughed, stood and proceeded to dress himself, exactly 20 minutes after he had started.
My neighbor stood in the kitchen and sipped her coffee. She looked like she wanted to say something, but then thought better of it.