Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 12
He's not heavy, he's the Brit's brotherThe British are coming to visit all month
BY ARIEL WATERMAN
This month has been a momentous one here at Waterman Manor. Arsenal, my British spouse’s football club (Brit-speak for soccer team), finished the season in the No. 3 slot, qualifying them to compete for the European Cup. Our grandson, Britween, has brought home yet another stellar report card. Hey, I reserve the right to kvell (Yiddish-speak for brag)!
And best of all, Brit’s little brother and sister-in-law have come for a visit from Great Britain. Welcome to America—all is forgiven! I am delighted that Ian’s family has come to spend time with us. I have only spoken with them over the telephone and, having met them in person, I have fallen in love with the pair.
The Brit is five years older than his brother, who is a mirror image of my husband. They both have the same warm brown eyes, highly intellectual foreheads (receding hairlines), and cute, floppy, basset hound ears. Brit the Younger has been married to a sensible and beautiful, red-haired Scottish lass for 39 years. I have always been fascinated by the Scots. Their manly men wear plaid skirts (kilts), and no one dares laugh at them. It’s a good way to get a caber tossed at you.
Caber tossing involves lifting a log, nearly 20 feet long and weighing 175 pounds, and tossing it in the air. Distance is not the object here, but having the caber fall away from you with the top end closest to you and the bottom end pointing directly away. Now that’s genius! This is accomplished by men wearing skirts to the tune of bagpipes.
Ah, bagpipes. These instruments of the devil were invented by Irish shepherds. Originally made of an inflated sheep’s bladder attached to a reed, they sound like a cat trapped inside a vacuum cleaner. The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots, who haven’t seen the joke yet! Bagpipers form cluster cells and invade parades, blaring away while wearing plaid skirts. The only way to get a dozen bagpipe players to play in tune is to shoot 11 of them!
Speaking of sheep’s bladders, haggis is a gastronomical marvel of Scottish ingenuity. Mix together a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs with onion, oatmeal, lard, spices, salt, and stock, stuff it all into a sheep’s stomach, and simmer for three hours. Eat while wearing a plaid skirt. Yum! But enough of this Highland fling!
I have, in the past, discussed the Brit’s unique confusion about technology of any kind. Whether trying to operate the dishwasher or turn on the computer, the poor man is Clueless in Wonderland. Apparently Brit the Younger, while pretty handy most of the time, has had problems translating American machinery.
So far, he has managed to drive on the right side of the road—commendable, because in Wales, where he and his Lass live, it is the wrong side. His problem has been hotel safes. While visiting our fair country, he and his wife have made trips to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Napa, Death Valley (why?!), and Las Vegas to see the wonders of our land. They have reveled in a flight over the Grand Canyon (his idea, for which the Lass briefly considered a quick divorce in Vegas), to the Grand Tetons, to a view of the Eiffel Tower, a medieval castle, and an Egyptian pyramid all lit in neon.
Brit the Younger wisely locks their passports in the hotel room safes. In Vegas, he managed to lock the safe so securely, it could not be reopened, and hotel security had to assist. Upon arrival at the hotel at the Grand Canyon, he again placed their passports in the safe and proceeded to punch in a code. After several attempts, the safe would not lock, so again security was called to assist. “This safe is broken,” he explained, to which they replied, “Sir, that is the microwave.”
The Brit and his little brother are very close and always have each other’s backs. When youngsters, the Brit once took on three older boys who had been bullying his sibling. When he was through, they never dared bother his little brother again.
Brit the Younger also looks out for his big brother. Several years ago, they took an ill-fated deep-sea fishing trip together out of San Monica in midsummer. Well, ill-fated for the Brit who had never been deep-sea fishing in his life. Wanting to be well prepared, he had a big breakfast of yolky eggs, potatoes, and corned-beef hash before embarking.
They were to meet at the boat, which was loaded with fishermen who had high expectations. What they weren’t expecting was the Brit, who arrived dressed noggin to toes like the Gorton’s fisherman! That’s right, my husband (then-to-be) wore a yellow slicker, matching hat and galoshes, plus rod and tackle. He marveled that everyone else wore only shorts, T-shirts, baseball caps, and deck shoes.
Brit the Younger tried to pretend he didn’t know the Ancient Mariner, but couldn’t escape him. “Oy, matey!” Brit bellowed. “Bloody hell,” muttered his brother. Things went from awful to God-awful an hour out as the boat hit some large waves. Then large waves of nausea hit the Brit, and he proceeded to chum the waters with yolky eggs, potatoes, and corned-beef hash.
No one wanted to stand within 50 feet of him—difficult, since they were on a 30-foot boat. Brit’s heaving over heaving seas became so bad that even the seagulls stayed away. The boat’s captain found himself facing mutiny by crew and passengers. Cries of “Get the plank!” and “Hang him from the mainsail” were being hurled at him, and he didn’t even have a mainsail! Although, I’m sure he would have love to have a plank for the Brit to walk.
But his protective younger brother spoke quietly to the men and persuaded the captain to take his sickened sibling back to shore. The ship turned about, made for the shoreline, and an hour later deposited Brit into the shallows. Water filled his galoshes as he slogged to dry land, and Brit the Younger called out from the deck, “I’ll come back for you later.”
Which he did, finding his big brother asleep on the beach, looking like a gigantic, washed up, bright yellow blowfish. “Oy, matey!” he bellowed into the bleary Brit’s ear. “Come on, you silly sod! I’ll take you home.” Now, if that’s not brotherly love, I don’t know what is!
Ariel Waterman loves Scottish shortbread. Send her some via her editor, Ryan Miller, at rmiller@santa mariasun.com.
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