In the carpool today, my short-sleeve-shirted son shivered in the back seat next to his two neighborhood buddies. It was forty degrees. He refused to wear a jacket. He refused to wear pants. It was a struggle to even get that child into shorts (“Why aren’t underwear used as regular clothes, mom,” he asked. “Just give me one good reason.”)
“Leo,” I said. “I want you to check the lost and found today for the sweatshirts and coats that have mysteriously vanished from our house.”
“Oh, I have them,” he said. “In my locker. And in my bag.” He was shivering.
“Well,” I said. “Grab a hoodie and put it on.”
The other boys, normally a tangle of chatter, fell suddenly silent. They stared at me open-mouthed.
“Dude,” the red-haired boy side-mouth whispered to Leo. “Did your mom just say ‘woody’?”
And the boys started to choke on their own laughter.
“What?” I said. “No. I certainly did not say-”
“LEO’S MOM SAID WOODY!” one of the blondes wheezed.
AND THEN THEY ALL DIED. They died and they went to heaven and they got booted out and were sent back to their bodies where they died again. They were weak with laughing. They were like hyenas trapped in the grip of boa constrictors. They laughed to death again and again.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE EVEN KNOWS WHAT WOODY MEANS,” one of the other blondes gasped as he was slowly re-asphyxiated with hilarity. But then he came back to life. “Wait,” he said. “You do know what it means, don’t you?”
“Let’s watch Indiana Jones,” I said, popping the ancient tape into the more-ancient minivan VHS player – saying a silent prayer, once again, that the dumb thing still worked.
Because it was KILLING ME to keep a straight face. I might have died of it. I might already be dead.