When we were ten. We saw a country called Viet Nam on WCCO as we ate dinner on our TV trays from Shell Oil, but that country would go away at the turn of a knob. Mr. Grader’s son went to a party and someone put LSD in his pop, but he was sent away. Macalester College was planning another demonstration, and we could watch, but we had to go inside if it got too loud. Life was simple then, because if it got uncomfortable, it could be made to go away.
We all sat on the curb and waited for the inchworm man to come. That summer millions of inchworms had infested the trees in Macalester-Groveland. The first truck had gone by warning all kids and pets to go inside, so you wouldn’t get poison on you. We loved all the clouds of spray the truck would make, and we delighted in watching the inchworms drop from the trees. It was like a scene out of Horror Incorporated.
On this particular day of inchworm slaughter, we were in front of our buddy’s house. His house was crazier than ours. We were all Catholics in our neighborhood and pretty much knew that God had pretty strict, but decent, rules. We went to church and we were all trying to avoid going to hell. We were unprepared when God spoke to us.
The voice boomed from above, “Children, stay where you are and look at the ground! This is God who spoke to Moses like in that burning bush with Charleton Heston, plagues, and that freaky angel of death!”
We all stayed still and looked at the gravel in the gutter. “Do you really think it’s God, or the inchworm man?” said my buddy.
“I think it’s God because he comes out of nowhere and scares the bejesus out of people!”
“Let’s take a peek,” whispered my buddy.
“What if we die and we don’t get to watch our Friday night shows? You know this is the night the Bradys go to Hawaii. I am not missing Greg on a surfboard!” I said. I was totally in love with Greg Brady.
God was singing “Nights in White Satin” when a police car came to a stop in front of us. My buddy yelled to the policeman not to look up. The officer looked at us kind of strange and asked what was going on. “We were waiting for the inchworm man to come and God started singing to us,” my buddy said.
“Does God sing to you two all the time?” the officer asked.
“Well, no. Come to think of it, I’ve never really heard his voice,” my buddy said.
“Well, geniuses, it’s not God. It’s a kid on a roof with a Mr. Microphone, smokin’ weed. I suggest you two get on your bikes and go to the park. Understand?” We jumped on our bikes and pedaled as fast as we could down to Mattocks Park.
At the park, we were talking about what God would sing if he was on American Bandstand and if he would wear a fringe vest or not. The cop cruiser drove by. My buddy’s oldest brother was in the back swaying and looking happy. We got back on our bikes and headed back to my house to watch The Brady Bunch. We forgot about my buddy’s brother, drugs, God, and the cops. Life was easier with the Bradys in Hawaii.