Saturday, April 7, 2012

Necessity Is the Mother of All Sorts of Problems

Gosh, I haven't written anything here for a long time. I've been too busy inventing useful and amazing things that nobody, particularly my father, appreciates.

The most important one is the Egg-O-Otto-Uh-O. (It was originally the Egg-0-Otto, but that was before the first few trial efforts.) What happened is that my friend Claude Hinkey wanted to take his baby brother Otto to the Easter Egg hunt sponsored by the Lovely Ladies Local Benefit Auxiliary of the West Wampler Volunteer Fire Company (known as LLLBAOTWWVFC for short). But Otto's only eight months old and doesn't quite understand the concept "egg." Or "basket".

Or, for that matter, the concept of holding on to something. He's going through a spoon phase at the moment. He stuffs the bowl of the spoon in his mouth. He stuffs the handle of the spoon in his mouth. He licks the side of the spoon. He peers soulfully at his reflection in the spoon. And then he just lets go. And when the spoon suddenly isn't there anymore, he wails. (I had breakfast with Claude and Otto last Saturday morning at the Flaming Biscuit Cafe, and we went through all the spoons on three tables.)

Anyway Otto's wail is so loud it's sometimes mistaken for the fire siren. That's nice for Otto's mother because the West Wampler Fire Company watered her daffodils three times last month trying to put out the fire. But at this point the volunteer firemen have gotten a bit annoyed, and I hate to think how they'd feel if they drove their fire truck over all the dyed eggs and scattered the crowd only to discover that the fire was just Otto again. You can see why an egg-hunt-assistance device for Otto was a necessity.

The problem was getting one that worked. I guess we should have hard-cooked the eggs we used to try it out. And practiced outdoors. But the Egg-O-Otto was absolutely foolproof, at least until Otto got hold of it. Claude and I washed the egg out of Otto's hair and off the dining room chandelier. But the side of the corner cupboard still has a faint yellow dribbly design that looks like a painting by one of those artists my father says have the artistic skills of a baby. I guess he's right.

Anyhow, for the second test we used hard-boiled eggs and tucked them under the bushes like a real egg hunt. Otto spotted the eggs all right and bounced up and down like a human milkshake until Claude helped him to use the Egg-O-Otto to pick one up. And Otto did not drop the egg. Instead he shot it onto Mrs. Spocksmutter's front porch, where she was unfortunately sitting at the time. Apparently she thought the Easter Bunny was attacking, and she barricaded herself behind the porch swing. It took the postman ten minutes to calm her down enough so that he could deliver the mail.

We tested two more versions of the Egg-O-Otto, which Otto found some ingenious way to thwart each time. I think the child could grow up to be some kind of rocket scientist. Fortunately, though, nothing else traumatic happened. At least not until my mother was ready to bake a nice lemon meringue pie for dinner and opened the refrigerator to take out the eggs. If she really tried, I believe she could beat Otto in a wailing contest.

Claude and I were forced to buy fresh eggs with our allowance money, and Claude decided to just skip the egg hunt this year. He's going to take Otto to Biffley's Bowl-o-Rama instead and see what he can do with a bowling ball.

P.S. My author just walked in, read this, and insisted that I'm exaggerating. She's a great fan of Otto Hinkey, and she says he never wails; he just makes an adorable little sad sound when the adults around him have tried his patience once too often. Hah. Tell that to the fire company.

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