The Little Car Enthusiast – Every Neighborhood Should Have One!


Late one Friday afternoon, at the end of a particularly exhausting week filled with two cantankerous toddlers, fully engrossed in phases of the psychosocial crisis that throw entire families into upheaval for at least three years, I pull my car into the driveway and sit in the driver’s seat, staring blankly at the garage door.   I am feeling exactly ninety six and one half years old, and at least five hundred and ninety six and one half pounds.  Therefore, instead of moving, I sit and fantasize about sleeping in my car and easier ways to make a living.  I wonder if I might enjoy selling shoes? The hum of a small engine interrupts my rumination, just as I am conjuring a vision of measuring the cast of “Duck Dynasty’s” naked, hairy feet (thank God).

A tiny motorized vehicle enters my driveway and parks behind my car.  I know this child.  His house sits across the caul de sac, directly opposite mine.  I frequently see his parents sitting in beach chairs on the front lawn, as their son drives his little truck around the circle, greeting people as they return home from work.  He is a smart little fellow, about four years of age, but with a vocabulary larger than many adults I know.  Somewhere near the top of this chap’s talents, is his ability to identify the make, model and approximate year of every car on the road.  During this particular time, his parents are in the process of purchasing a new van, so his vehicle fetish is at an all time high.  He now greets neighbors, not by name, but by car make and model.  So, in my case, it’s…”Hi Nanny, you have a Toyota Camry LE, four door.  Is it a four, or six cylinder?”

I am not sure what a cylinder is…much less how many I own.  In fact, today, I’m not sure I know my own name.  I step out of the car and stutter a bit.

“I am…I don’t…”

Thankfully, the tot’s father interrupts the painful moment.  “Why don’t you say goodnight to Nanny.” He says to the boy.

“Goodnight.” He says casually, as he backs his truck easily out of the driveway with one hand.

Suddenly he stops the miniature vehicle.  He slides his “Lightning McQueen” sunglasses down his nose, points at me with his forefinger and says…”You got a nice tail pipe.”

With that, the tot returns his sunglasses to their correct position, and pulls forward with a jump and a slight squeal of miniature tires.  I believe he even sprays me with a pebble or two, leaving me in a mini dust cloud with my mouth still hanging slightly open.  This, I have learned since, Is a toddler peel out…and he does it with style.

Yes…he has style.  I, however…I’ve got a nice tail pipe!  A bright smile spreads across my face.  I suddenly feel so light and energetic!  “So, I’ve been thrown up on twice today.  Who cares if I have peas in my hair and poop on my shirt.  I’ve got a nice tail pipe!  I swing my nice pipe around and swish it toward the house with great enthusiasm.

“Hey kid!”  I shout, turning to look at the tot.  I pull my sunglasses down, looking over them,  and strike my coolest movie star pose.  He stops the car and awaits my response.  “Catch ya on the flip side.” I quip, holding one thumb up, seventies style.

“Huh?” he asks with a wrinkled nose, clearly confused.

I sigh, my movie star moment lost on youth…”Never mind, see you tomorrow cutie.”

“See ya.” He says, steering his truck with one hand, waving with the other.  How is it that this kid is so much cooler than I, and a better driver?

I decide, I don’t have to be cool…I’ve got a nice tail pipe.  Again I smile, swinging and bouncing my nice tail pipe into the house, hoping as many neighbors as possible had the chance to witness the scenery for themselves.  I love that kid.  I love my job.  What a great day!

By the way…I apparently own six cylinders.  The cool kid must have done some research.  He informed me during a later encounter.

Mr. Big Foot


The most prominent spot on the front of the refrigerator in my employer’s home…the very spot reserved for exclusive preschool art projects…is the permanent home of the most repulsive photograph ever taken in the history of mankind.  It would have been destroyed long ago, had it not been such a source of pride and personal achievement for one of my young charges, a tender four years of age, at the time of the dreadful incident in question.  The spindly 24 pound boy spends many hours recounting the story, carefully saving the big “wow moment” of the visual aid for very last.  The retelling never fails to produce just the right mixture of choke, gasp and strangle, that fills my young charge with utter triumph, and inflates his esteem, until it is in danger of rupturing.

It all started, as I remember it, in a small, odiferous bathroom, standing in front of the toilet, flanked on either side by my two, pint-sized charges (ages two and four).  The three of us, wordlessly staring down into the porcelain abyss with wrinkled noses, lost in individual thought.  My own sounding something like this…”Yes Mr. King, I too had a dream.  I was going to save the world…holding an extremely high level position in ‘Worldwide Health Initiative,’ or some other fabulously influential, humanitarian organization.  Wearing a stunningly professional, yet feminine suit with tasteful heels, saving the world from disease, hunger and social injustice, without ever mussing my hair.

But alas…it is not meant to be.  For here I stand…a fabulously un-influential, Professional Nanny, wearing jean shorts and a white t-shirt, with splatters of chocolate milk bedazzling the front, staring down into a toilet, wondering where on earth my life went wrong.  The shivering four year old boy breaks my trance, as he carefully slips his thin hand into mine.  “What are we going to do with it, Nanny?” He asks, in a shaky voice.

The “it” causing all of the befuddlement, is a solid pile of waste matter, comparable both in size and odor, to one that might be expelled by an elderly, male rhinoceros.  This particular mass, however, has miraculously escaped from the body of the scrawny four year old boy, standing at my right.  The child is looking from the heap, to my face, trying to decide whether or not he should be afraid.  The boy’s sister (age two), standing on my left, IS frightened, as she stares at the smoldering pile with wide eyes, repeating an elongated form of the word “wwwhhhoooaaaaa,”  over and over again.

I must admit to being thoroughly perplexed by the thing, having never witnessed such a voluminous expulsion in my life…with the possible exception of the zoo.  However, it is not merely the size of the beast that is so mystifying.  It is the fact that it is one, uninterrupted, extremely elongated mass, coiled like a thick, brown snake at the bottom of the bowl.  I look down at the hideous mound and back to the spindly boy.  Physiologically impossible!

“Let’s flush.”  I announce cheerfully, after what seems an eternity of contemplation.  I do so.  The thing remains motionless.  Both children look from the sitting mass, then up to me.  “Oh Crap!”  I think.  Literally!  The three of us gaze down into the bowl at the monstrosity until the water stills.

A stinky silence hangs in the air.

“Let’s flush again.”  I offer, a little less confident this time.  I do so.  The gigantic “it” moves approximately 1/8 millimeter, then is once again motionless.  My thoughts begin to shift at this point, as I am now faced with what to do with this mutant.  Does one shove it down?  Does one break it into more manageable pieces?  And more importantly, with what object would one accomplish such a task?  Is there a specific product already in existence…The Poo Poker 2000, only $9.95 plus shipping and handling?

“Nanny?”  The four year old whispers in a quivery voice.

“Don’t worry, Sweetheart.”  I say, comforting the lanky tot.  “It’s no big deal.  Nanny will fix it.”  However, as I say these words, I notice a huge smile, slowly spreading across his face.

“But Nanny,”  He says, pride now twinkling in his eyes.  “THIS IS THE BIGGEST POO IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!”

“I think you’re right, Bud.”  I reply.

“I want to take a picture to show Mommy and Daddy!”  He shouts excitedly, running to grab the camera.  He hands me the camera and I shoot a picture of the putrid mass, stubbornly stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

“I will name him, “MR. BIG FOOT,” he proudly announces, arms spread wide, as if introducing the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Mr. Big Foot…wwwhhhoooaaaaaa!”  whispers the two year old.

Without going into further detail, let’s just say that it takes roughly 15-20 flushes (without the use of the Poo Poker 2000), to dislodge a glued mound of waste matter, approximately the size of a loaf of sandwich bread, from the bottom of a porcelain bowl.  This allows a good bit of time for reflection.  What are they feeding this child at night…Elmer’s Glue?  Should we cut back on the child’s fiber intake?  Is this a hereditary trait?  If so, it must come from the father’s side.

I thought, perhaps the photo would work as a nice appetite suppressant in it’s spot, front and center, on the refrigerator.  Sadly, I can now eat a large bowl of chocolate ice cream while staring at it, without so much as flinching.  In the end, I suppose it matters not where we acquire our sense of self worth…even if it is just a big load of crap.  What matters is that we build and maintain a big and healthy one.  Let us all take a lesson from our shorter, and less polished counterparts, and celebrate more of our personal victories in life…no matter how unpalatable.  I would, however, suggest that the photographs remain private.