I’m used to hearing the news at 3:15 pm. What’s so special about quarter past three each day? Does the BBC issue a special bulletin? Perhaps NPR updates its affiliates with new presidential polling data? Nope, neither is the case. It is something far important. Typically, this is about the time our daughters arrive home or tumble into the car and tell me what went down at school.
The challenge, as I’ve mentioned before, is for the girls to tell their stories individually. I end up moderating the afternoon news like Wolf Blitzer at a Democratic Debate. Each of them wants to be heard. All of the girls have different versions of the same events. (This is inevitable in such a small school.) Much like the Dallas Police discovered on the afternoon of November 22nd, 1963, everyone on Dealey Plaza thought they knew what happened when shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade. They didn’t. Our youngest thought she knew who liked who and which Kanye West song was sampled for a video they watched in history class. This was so disturbing. On most days, her sisters find her reports patently obvious and completely irrelevant to “high school”. The cross examination soon follows: Didn’t she know this? How is she not keeping up with what’s going on?
With little time to prepare, I become the Warren Commission; sorting evidence and hearing the witnesses on the short drive home. This is the typical 3:15 pm broadcast. Sometimes, however, there are emergency bulletins.
“Richard, have you heard of this stuff called Ben-Gay?” Jordan asked. She was almost out breath. I turned to my right, wanting to make sure I had heard her correctly (and that someone else hadn’t entered the car) and said, “What?”
“Have you heard of Ben-Gay?” she said again. “It smells awesome; it’s the best smelling stuff ever. One of the coaches had it. He said he used it for muscle aches and cramps. Will you buy me some so I can just wear it?”
My brain is finally starting to catch up. After seventy or so years on the market she’s only today met “Ben-Gay” and wants to wear it like a perfume?
“Jordan, you know that’s what old people like me wear when they’re sore. It’s not really a cosmetic deal.” (I’m not that old. I’ve been 39 for three years now.)
“But it smells so good,” she said. “I’d wear that stuff. You got to get me some of that.”
If Ben Gay will make her happy, I will buy and give my daughter some Ben-Gay. I tell you this; our family will be one limber sweet smelling bunch.