Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Lie Detector

My grand kids came for a visit the other day
and once their coats and boots were neatly
lined up by the door and
their angelic faces were kissed-
a wrestling match manifested itself
in my living room.

I knew by their tone
that their death cries were fake
and their war wounds superficial.
But after the dust settled,
there was a question about which one
of them had started the battle.

"She did it!"

"No, he did it!"

And soon, another aftershock
rocked the room with
flying accusations and pointing fingers.

"Why don't we use the Lie Detector?"
I asked my daughter, pretending to whisper.

She shot me a glance that was a mix of
disbelief and utter joy.
Apparently the years had not
vanquished her memory
of the Lie Detector.
She smiled slyly and agreed
that's what must be done.

The Lie Detector was a brilliant invention
and a great source of pride to my husband.
Has it really been nearly twenty years since
pure necessity and four children
caused him to concoct a devise
to end all sibling disputes?

I suppose getting pushed to
the edge of insanity had something to do with it.

It seemed as though name-calling and
fist-fights had become the norm one summer
when the kids were thrown into a sweat ball
of discontent and boredom.

One giant calculator, tweezers, and
a paper clip later,
the Lie Detector was born.

He sat the kids down together
and explained to them
that since none of them would accept
the responsibility of starting
all the fights-
that he had a way of finding out.
All they had to do was touch the paper clip
while he punched in a few numbers.

"If you are telling the truth,
nothing will happen," he assured them,
their eyes wide and watering.
"But if you are lying, this 'ill knock
the crap out of you!"

Needless to say, it took only a millisecond
for the guilty party to speak up
and admit their instigation
in the screaming sprawls.

I don't think they ever really knew
(until much later)
that there was no shock behind the contraption-
no painful buzz that would knock them across
the room.

Don't get me wrong.
We are wonderful parents.

But sometimes,
in the scheme of life-
you just gotta improvise.