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Thursday, October 18, 2012

How'd You Like to Eat That Car, Eric?


My parents, back in the 70s and during the time of the Purple People Eaters, hosted a number of Super Bowl parties.

The Vikings, by the way, have managed to play in quite a few Super Bowls but they have never managed to win one.  I expect that the day this happens schools will be closed, a number of things will be saluted, and all debts will be forgiven.

Forty years on, we still wait.

But in the 70s we were young and hopeful, and the Vikings' devastating defensive line was the impetus for many Super Bowl parties.  Cheese and sausage platters were artfully arranged, vats of chili made and consumed.

Beer flowed like wine.

And it was to one of these parties that my Aunt Pat and Uncle Mark brought their three kids, the youngest being Eric.

Cousin Eric was, and is, a funny and deadpan person. At the age of four, however, he is primarily inclined toward running small toy cars up and over things.

“Vroom vroom vroom,” Eric runs the little car up and around the TV set, which in accordance with the times, is a large piece of furniture the size of a polished wooden Volvo.

As an aside, this will come as a surprise to some of you younger folk, but during my childhood, there was no remote control for the television, at least not as we know it today. “Remotes” back then were called “children”; and if you wanted to turn the volume in any direction you had only to give the command and the nearest child was required, by unwritten law, to do your bidding.

There was also no such thing as cable – at least not where we were from. It was a horrid, mean existence. Not many of us lived.

The little boy runs the car up and down the sides of the TV, and despite his mother's insistence that he "come away from there, Eric", he repeatedly finds himself unable to comply for long. Sure, he'll step away. Eric isn't a bad boy. But he always returns, his willpower drained by the pull of the feel of four tiny rubber wheels on the piece of furniture that had everyone's attention.

My father, a man not particularly long-suited in patience, takes as much as he can of Eric running that little red car perilously close to the television screen on Super Bowl Sunday and finally asks him, “Eric!  How would you like to eat that car?”

Eric comes to a dead stop, gazes off into the distance as he considers this question.  Blinking solemnly he says, “I would not like to eat this car. But I would like to lick it.”


Skol, Vikings.

37 comments:

Shelly said...

My own daughters shivered involuntarily when we regaled them with the horror stories of our youth- endless trips back and forth to the tv to surf through the three channels available, having to walk to the phone and stay there to use it...

Eric sounds like my kind of thinker.

joeh said...

Your Dad had more patience than I, I would have taken that car away. It is not mean if it is Super Bowl Sunday!!

In addition to beint the remote, we sometimes had rabbir ear holding duty. All to get one of five channels. Remember UHF?

The Pruple People Eaters were awesome. So was Joe Capp (the QB, If I remember who never slid.)

fmcgmccllc said...

I must be a teense older than you because I remember black and white TV. I also remember being a remote-find the game, and if it wasn't on it was my fault.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Eric "1", Dad "0".

Buttons said...

"Not many of us lived" laughing uncontrollably. B

fishducky said...

I agree with fmcgmccllcm even if I can't pronounce her name!

L-Kat said...

At least you can remember when the Vikings were IN a Superbowl. I will forever be haunted by the missed field goal of 1999 and the terrible loss to the Saints in 2010 (on my birthday....worst birthday ever).

Teresa Evangeline said...

LOL! Love it! Love your dad, too.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Well we don't have a super bowl so we just watch yours and I recall our grey cup games.
Rabbit ears didn't help much. A rotating antenna was useful back in the day.
But I recall days before TV! Radio was awesome and wireless even more so!

terlee said...

Wait. Did my folks drive cross country to Super Bowl games at your house? They must have, cuz how else would my annoying little brother and his Matchbox car have ended up in your living room driving everyone nuts?

vanilla said...

Eric started his training for "deadpan" humor early on.

Pearl said...

I'm over here, smiling, thinking of the way my mother would launch herself off the couch, screaming at the TV. She had wanted to be a cheerleader in high school and had not made the cut. Those people did not know what they were doing, clearly, because my mother cheered the heck out of those games...

Ms Sparrow said...

Wow, antenna rotors, vertical and horizontal hold controls and 13 channels on the dial (10 of which produced only snow). Those were the days! My dad would have his employees over for the Gillette Friday Night Fights in grainy black and white. The picture would fade in and out and require frequent adjustment. My brother heard from a kid in school that when the picture faded, if you extended your hand toward the screen and waved it back and forth the picture would return. I don't remember how long it took us to wise up to the futility of that. It's nearly 60 years ago!

Leenie said...

An honest answer to a ridiculous question. Parents can be so dorky sometimes. Licking cars is only bad if the temp goes down below freezing. Eating cars can be done but it takes a loooong time and a strong digestive tract.

Sabrina said...

Haha!

esbboston said...

Q: Did he actuaLLy lick the car? At that moment? Has he grown a life long habit of licking cars? Was there lead paint involved?

Skol - I actuaLLy understood that reference, but only because someone gave me a present once.

Joanne Noragon said...

I can remember being skewered by a pithy remark from an adored uncle. Game changers, they are.

Kitty Moore said...

What a wonderful retort! Did your father have a comeback for that?!

SherilinR said...

oh funny little eric! why do kids like to lick things? mine still does sometimes and she's 10!

Douglas said...

My son, at around age 3 or 4, destroyed the heater in our Vega (yes, I actually owned and liked that car) by somehow putting one of his "hot wheels" cars into the vent on the top of dashboard. He liked to run that car along the dash, much like Eric and that TV set. That was before they discovered the joy of restraining children in cars rather than let them fly around the car in an accident.

GDad said...

"Beer flowed like wine."

I am not sure why that line cracked me up so.

Lo said...

Great post. So many memorable quotable lines.

Didn't Fran Tarkenton play for the Vikings? He was one of my favorites.

Gigi said...

I remember being a remote! I also remember having to stand in the den and watch to see if whatever way dad turned the antenna on the roof would bring the picture in clear and yell out the window, "It's good!"

Pat said...

I think - little by little - I'm going to like Eric.

jenny_o said...

I remember having NO television.

So there :)

But full disclosure requires me to explain that it's not because I'm that old, it's because we didn't have the cash. And in those days, everything was cash. Wait, maybe I'm that old.

Wonderful lines - love the "beer flowed like wine" !

Eva Gallant said...

If that happened while I was watching the Boston Celtics, I might have parked that car in a totally different orific of Eric's.

Al Penwasser said...

Well, at least your dad offered to make Eric just eat it. MY dad would have offered to make of it a suppository.
For real, the Vikings have never won a Super Bowl?

Geo. said...

I didn't grow up in a religious family so I never experienced any of this, but it's interesting. Thanks!

Rose L said...

LOL Reminds me of the old Art Linkletter show KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Yes, I remember ancient times when there was no remote. Life was hard and we barely made it through. I often think back to those days before Honey Boo Boo and wrestling alligators and am reminded about how empty our lives were.

Annmarie Pipa said...

oh my gosh! what was your dads response to that?!

The Elephant's Child said...

And how often was your father flummoxed like that? I assume he was flummoxed?

George Turnbull said...

OMG!

I was an Eric!

In many ways I still am.

I have spent a lifetime licking one thing or another!

Linda O'Connell said...

Did Eric run that car through the onion dip? Oh my gosh your stories are such a tug on my memories. Thanks.

River said...

I remember the TV standing in the corner and no toys being allowed anywhere near it. I also remember learning the exact spot to smack it on the side to fix the vertical hold when the dial or antenna wouldn't, no matter how much adjusting we did.

Nessa Roo said...

We were all the rage. We had a Buick-sized Curtis Mathis unit encased in solid oak, flip top ends that housed a cassette/8-track player on one end and a vinyl spinner on the other. But the REAL modern feature was the heat sensitive channel buttons lined up on the side of the screen. If little Eric had even breathed in the area of the TV, he would have ended up as nothing but a splat on the opposite wall. (True Story)

Craver Vii said...

I like this Eric character! I wonder what he's like today. Pearl, I also got a good chuckle from the description of yesteryear's TV's and how "not many of us lived."