A Sucker Born Every Minute

Boy do I suck at keeping up with my blog. I’m just going to blame my kid, and his protestations of “STOP TYPING, MOMMY!” That and the evil (but admittedly quite necessary) process of query and synopsis writing.

So, no surprise, it’s cold here. Not as cold as it probably should be—this is Wisconsin, after all—but cold, nonetheless. This got me thinking back to my childhood, and a very embarrassing truth I will now admit publicly. All for your amusement, dear reader.

I used to believe my dad, and my dad alone, could control the weather.

That’s right.

I know, lots of kids believe crazy things their parents tell them, but I believed. Far too long. Much longer than I should have. We’re talking late elementary school, here.

And why would I believe such a thing? Quite simple: he told me it was so. Not a smirk, not a chuckle—straight faced, determined certainty. As sure as telling someone his name.

In my defense, he had developed quite the elaborate mythology around his weather-controlling abilities.

It goes something like this:

During his service in the Air Force, while stationed at a NATO base in Germany, he was part of a secret government project to develop the Benson-Drive Unit, a high-tech machine that could control the weather. It was the cold war, after all, and as you can see from THIS post, I was indoctrinated with some pretty strong evidence on the possibilities of scientific breakthroughs—and government experiments gone awry.

Eventually, the project was de-funded, and my dad was chosen as caretaker of the only fully-functioning unit. He brought it home with him, sworn to utmost secrecy (yet, he told his kids—a detail I couldn’t be bothered with). He and my mom bought an old house in the country on land that had once been a farm, and he built a secret room in one of the outbuildings where he safeguarded the secret, and did his best to give the locals a nice climate.

When it would rain on a day we’d been planning something outdoorsy, he’d apologize as he’d look out the window toward the garage, shaking his head. “Sorry, kids, I guess the Benson-Drive’s on the fritz again. I’ll go work on it, see what I can do.” And off he’d go, devoted citizen that he was.

This went on for YEARS, even as my tales at school stopped eliciting oohs and aahs (kindergarten) and began getting me strange looks and scorn (around third grade or so). I was a true believer.

Long after the jig was up, we’d still joke about it. In fact, the day before my wedding, I asked him, “You sure the Benson-Drive’s in tip-top shape? I don’t want it to rain tomorrow.”

It was beautiful and sunny; the perfect day.

Thanks, dad.

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One thought on “A Sucker Born Every Minute

  1. Oh huney- that’s a perfectly good reason to believe he controlled it, what with all that fancy terminology and equipment and what not. As a matter of fact, after reading this, I’m not completely convinced that he’s NOT controlling the weather right now… hmmmmm.

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