Monday, February 14, 2011

Thomas the Train




One of the funniest things I think I have ever seen, happened in early 2009. I don't know when I have ever laughed so hard, either before or since (well, except maybe for the Alex potty training talk) .

It began with Christmas. The boys each got a tiny, battery-operated Thomas the Tank Engine in their Christmas stocking. You just insert one AA battery, close the compartment, flip the switch to "ON" and off he goes! The boys had great fun with them. They love to run Thomas over everything: the floor, the table, their arms, the sofa, the kitchen counter tops...anywhere with a flat (or near flat) surface.

One afternoon, their father was watching TV while home with the boys. Austin came running up to his daddy from the play room and hollered, "Daddy! Watch Thomas!" and proceeded to put Thomas, with his tiny little battery-operated wheels just a-chugging along, on the top of his daddy's head. Tiny little Thomas the Tank Engine proceeded across the top of hubs' head, and the tiny little wheels proceeded to swirl, spin and twist up the very few hairs that still claim residence on Pete's head. Before Austin or Pete could do anything, Thomas was locked up tighter than a drum, with his little train wheels just a-spinnin', twirling those few hairs tighter and tighter, and the little plastic wheels digging deeper and deeper into Pete's scalp.

Pete immediately reached up to grab the offending Thomas off of his head, but Thomas was stuck! Oh, so stuck! Pete pulled and tugged, but that train was on the tracks to nowhere! He managed to switch the on/off switch to OFF, but he could not get the train off of his head! Those four little wheels had twirled up his hair all the way to the root! (For those of you who have never seen Pete, his is...shall we say...of a certain mature age, and his hair is...shall be say...thinning! And for those of you who don't know Pete very well, he is...shall we say...very vain about his hair. Every trip to the barber, he swears THIS IS THE TIME I CUT IT ALL OFF AND JUST EMBRACE BEING BALD! Or not. Each time, he comes home with a perm AND a dye job, trying his best to hold off looking like a monkey's behind.) Had this happened to me, no sweat. I have long hair, thick hair and lots of hair, so one quick snip of the scissors and back to business it would be for me. For Pete, not so much.

The image of Pete with Thomas the Train stuck to his head is funny enough. The first thing that really cracks me up is that the train was not sitting flat, on top of his head....rather, Thomas had begun his run in the center of Pete's scalp, and ended his route sort of at the curve of his skull, above his right eye. The second thing that was so funny was this whole episode happened to poor Pete, early in the day! So he spent most of that entire day with Thomas the Tank Engine stuck to his scalp! Luckily, it was not a school day for the kids, but it was a work day for me, and Pete had to remain with the train on his head, for hours and hours. Get up to fix the kids' lunch? Thomas went along. Go outside to play with the kids....Thomas went, too. Off to the potty? Thomas followed. I'm sure there were errands to run that day...at the very least, checking the mail. But Pete refused to leave the house, embarrassed to be seen with a small, battery operated child's toy, stuck to his head.

So I got home after work that evening, and there Pete sat, in the den, with the news on, the boys jumping, chasing and chattering all around him like rabid little monkeys, and Thomas, right on top. At first, as I approached, I thought one of the kids had placed it there, as in JUST PLACED IT THERE, and that it would fall off Pete's head with the first time Pete moved. But he sat there, lazily rocking back and forth in his recliner, turning his head to pick up his Diet Coke can, and even bending over once to pick up little Andrew, who had fallen to the ground while playing. And when Pete rose back up holding Andrew, and then turned around after spotting me coming in the den, Thomas rose back up and turned with him. I thought...I must be seeing things....that is NOT a Thomas the Tank Engine on my husband's head. But going up to hubby for a smooch, I reached up and raised my hand to take Thomas down, and "JEEZ! WOMAN! STOP!" were the next words out of Pete's mouth.

Because, well, you know, doesn't every woman know better than to try to take Thomas the Train off of her husband's head after a long day of being a stay at home dad?

"Um, Pete, what's up with Thomas? New style that I'm not hip to scene about yet?"

"Ask Austin."

"Oh. 'Nuff said."

"Well, can you get some scissors and cut this thing out? I've tried and I can't get my head bent in the right position to see where to cut."

(Muffled laughter). "Alright, but how long have you been....like....this?"

"Almost all day."

"You mean, you've been all day, coming and going...with Thomas stuck to your head?"

"No, I haven't GONE anywhere. Do I look stoopid?"

"Well, actually, yes you do."

"Hush up and get the scissors."

So I did. And let me tell you, those measly few hairs were turned around tight. And I could see that in the position Thomas was in, on top of Pete's head, that he couldn't bend and see and clip, all at the same time. There were even faint track marks still in his scalp from Thomas' wheels turning against his scalp, before he managed to get the switch turned off.

So I went after the scissors. The boys began dancing around their daddy, pointing and laughing. As I turned back to Pete, it really did strike me as hysterically funny. Grown man spent the day with Thomas the Train stuck to his skull. I pictured him going about his day, running errands, greeting people, tending to business, all with a small train on his head. I started laughing so hard I cried. I literally cried tears of laughter. Poor Pete just looked so funny.

I tried to cut away his hair from the wheels. But his hair was/is so short, and the wheels had turned so tight, there was no wiggle room to fenagle the scissors in to cut! I tried moving Thomas, but he just grinned at me with his cute blue face, happy to remain where he was. I tried simply yanking the train out, but Pete is really tender-headed, and I feared ripping an entire patch of his scalp out, leaving a raw, bloody cranium exposed. I tried to be serious about this matter, but I just kept laughing and laughing. I begged Pete to let me take a picture, but he would not let me. The kids were all laughing by this point. I imagined having to go to the emergency room, or, at least, an urgent care center. But Pete was already mortified enough...he refused to go to be a laughing stock for complete strangers. Best to keep it at home, and be a laughing stock amongst your own family.

Eventually, I did manage to slip one end of the scissors into just the right spot to be able to cut loose one hair. That, in turn, loosened up the other end of Thomas enough to be able to slip the scissors in and cut a second hair loose...and so on, and so on, and so on, until finally, after hours spent with Thomas stuck to his head, Pete was free.

I had not laughed that hard in I don't know when. Thomas, however, found no humor in being sent in the sack to Goodwill. Bon Voyage, Thomas!

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