May 1996 Sincerely Sire Newsletter

Heavy Metal

    A few months ago, I came home from work fairly late, at about 10 p.m.  As always, I went straight to the den to check the answer phone and unload my briefcase.  Rosemarie (Roe) was in the family room watching TV.  As I started to check messages, I thought I heard the word “tongue” come from the family room area.  I wasn’t  sure though and I was pretty tired so I just ignored it.  But as I played back a couple more messages there it was again, “tongue.”  I put the answer phone on pause and yelled in the direction of Roe, “What?”

     This time I heard two words, “Scarlett,” and then some words I couldn’t understand, and then “tongue” again.

     “What,” I yelled, louder than before, getting a little annoyed. 

     Roe turned the sound down on the TV and then said slowly and clearly, “Scarlett - pierced - her - tongue.” 

     “SHE WHAT?!”

     “She pierced her tongue.”

     I was hoping this was some sort of a cruel joke.  I mean when Scarlett was about nine years old she wanted to get her ears pierced.  I can remember driving past Pierce Brother’s Mortuary in Huntington Beach and her asking me if she could get her ears pierced there.  But now she was twenty years old and ought to be mature enough to stop the mayhem, if not for herself, then out of respect for her daddy.  I mean, this sort of thing reflects on the parents.

     I bounded up the stairs to her bedroom where she was just dozing off to sleep.  “Did you pierce your tongue?”  I felt like an idiot even asking the question.

     She didn’t say anything.  She didn’t even open her eyes.  She just rolled over and gave me this big silly grin and then lopped out her tongue like a giant aardvark.  And there, in the center of the thick meaty part, was a silver spike with a gleaming silver ball on the end. 

     For a moment I was too stunned to speak.  What was she trying to do?  Kill it?  Maybe she had misunderstood what I had said to her so many times over the years, “You better bite your tongue girl,” not spike it. 

    After I had finished verbally thrashing her and inquiring as to whether or not she was out of her mind, I stormed out of her room, into my bedroom, and slammed my door so hard I broke it.  A few seconds later Scarlett came knocking at the door.  She was visibly shaken by my uncharacteristic outburst.  (I’m usually a pretty cool dad.)

    She then began to speak, swollen tongue and all, “Come on thadt.  Ithhs no big theal.  You’ll geth useth to ith.”  I’m thorry.”

    Her pathetic, slurred apology was hysterical , but I was unable to see the humor in it at the time.  To me it was just one more spike in the tongue, so I verbally lashed out at her again, to which she replied, .“I wothened of thon it if I woth of known how upseth it woth of mathe you.”

    “Well then, pull that disgusting thing out of your tongue right now,” I stammered.  “I am very upseth!.

    This request was met with stone-cold silence.  She was shaken and perhaps even a bit sorry that I was going berserk, but she was sticking to her spike.

    As a punishment I decided to ignore her for the rest of my life.  But it only lasted one day.  I guess it’s what they call unconditional love. 

    Several weeks later, just as I had begun to stop cringing every time the spike flashed from her mouth (she was right, I was getting useth to it), she surprised me again.  One evening as we sat watching TV together she said,  “Oh Dad.  Here’s something you’ll be happy about,” and then she stuck out her smooth spikeless tongue. 

    “Why did you do that?” I asked calmly, doing an excellent job of concealing my unmitigated jubilation.

    “Because when I coughed it knocked into my teeth.”

    All I can say is, thank the Good Lord above for teeth.


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