06
Aug

Kids and mustard

This is a true story. If you have children you will probably relate to this father. The names have been changed to protect the dignity of the father …

As ham sandwiches go, it was perfection. A thick slab of ham, a fresh bun, crisp lettuce and plenty of expensive, light brown, gourmet mustard.

The corners of my jaw aching in anticipation, I carried it to the picnic table in our backyard, picked it up with both hands but was stopped by my wife suddenly at my side. Hold Johnny (our six-week-old son) while I get my sandwich, she said. I had him balanced between my left elbow and shoulder and was reaching again for the ham sandwich when I noticed a streak of mustard on my fingers.

I love mustard.

I had no napkin.

I licked it off.

It was not mustard.

No man ever put a baby down faster. It was the first and only time I have sprinted with my tongue protruding. With a washcloth in each hand I did the sort of routine shoeshine boys do, only I did it on my tongue.

Later (after she stopped crying from laughing so hard) my wife said, Now you know why they call that mustard Poupon.

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