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332/365 – The Dream Machine
© 2012 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. Larry.  The real dream machine.

332/365 – The Dream Machine

Do you know what’s more embarrassing than playing 7th grade basketball in super tight 50’s shorts?  Having a step-dad attend the games and yell, “Timmy Dean, the basketball machine!”

Then again, he could be doing this during my grade school basketball games. So mabey I’m lucky.

Yep, those were my young adult years; having my step dad yell different variations of the same phrase.  For school: “Timmy Dean, the science machine!”  For dinner, “Timmy Dean, the food machine!”  And then there was his all time favorite, used for any and all occasions.  It could have been used for dating, but let me be honest, it was used whenever he wanted: “Timmy Dean, the dream machine!”

That was my step dad, Larry.  He was and is a sort of wild card in my life.  He loved finding ways to embarrass my mom and rile us boys up.  Once, when we were going to the amusement mecca of the Midwest, World of Fun in Kansas City, he decided to bunk us all in a motel room for a night: me, my mom, two of my brothers and some friends.  Then there was the screaming baby in the room next to us.  It took the parents most of the night to get that kid to sleep.

Of course, it was THE big city, so it could have been this guy crying all night.

The plan was to get up early to head for the park.  Well, Larry got up just a tad bit earlier than the rest of us . . . and the rest of the hotel.  I guess he decided alarm clocks were for sissies, because out of no where, he screams, “GOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!”  “Screams” is really an understatement.  That man has some pipes.  Pipes that have the ability to wake up anyone — including the baby next door.  Nice one, Larry.

Maybe the kid WAS in the Vietnam War and Larry just triggered a flashback.

This, however, is my favorite Larry story.  When I was a Junior in high school, I came home after play rehearsal to find a plate of food arranged nicely on a plate in the kitchen.  My mom yelled from her room upstairs, “Timmy?  That you?  I left some dinner for you.  Why don’t you bring up here?”  This was weird because my mom had never left a plate of food for me after dinner.  Never.  I always made my own meal if I missed dinner.  What was more strange was the fact that I was being ASKED to bring food out of the kitchen.  This was like North Korea asking a South Korean to cross the demilitarized zone; it just didn’t happen.  I knew something was up.

No, seriously, come over. We want to show you this cat we found.

So, I’m sitting in my mom’s bathroom while she’s getting ready for bed.  Which is weird; shoving food down my gullet while my mom washes her face,  wearing a nightgown, asking me about my day.  Then, without any kind of segue, my mom blurts out, “Are you sexually active?”  WHAT?!  Gross.  Why is this being thrown at me.  I lose my appetite.  “NO!” I answer.

“Are you sure?”  Again, what is going on here?  No mom, now that I think of it, I’m not sure if I’ve taken my willy and inserted into a woman.  I bumped into a woman once, does that count?  For crying out loud, do I have to tell her I’m a 17 year old virgin? . . . . . Yes.  Yes I do, apparently.

Finally, she reveals her game.  “Larry was upstairs in your room checking on the water heater (I had the attic room) when he found a used condom.  We were wondering if it was yours.”  NOOOOOOO!  It was not mine.  I hadn’t even seen a condom up close.  I wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between a condom and a oily water balloon.  This is disgusting on so many levels — taking sex with my mom, her in her nightgown and now, one of my brothers (I suspect Chris) has been making woopie in my bedroom closet.  GROSS!

Who put you up to this? Huh? This guy?

So, after some pleading, my mom is convinced — I’m a virgin.  Great, the mystery no one really cared about has been solved.  Thanks mom.  However, she insists that it’s now my obligation to tell Larry.  Obligation?  Why?  I didn’t sign up for this when I didn’t have sex.  She could have easily have told him herself.  Nope.  I have to.  This seems so unfair to me.  I humiliated myself in front of my mom and now she wants a repeat performance for Larry.  Great.  She’s was probably selling tickets to the neighbors for a live simulcast.

T-minus 4 seconds to giant let down.

So, later that night, my mom is in the kitchen and she tells me that Larry is upstairs in their bedroom.  Now is the time.  I knock on the door.  “Come in.”  Here goes nothing — OH DEAR LORD!  Larry is standing there in a worn white under shirt with yellow pit stains wearing slightly over-sized tighty whitey underwear.  What is it with my parents trying to have the sex talk with me in their skimpies.

Take off the beard and you’ve got a recipe for a birds and the bees talk.

“Oh, I’ll come back.”  Nope.  Larry insists I stay.  So, now I have to convince Captain Underpants that I am not sexually active and that the condom he found is either my brother’s or some sex starved ghost living in the attic.  Well, maybe I can get this over with quick . . . Here’s the thing, when it somes to Larry, nothing is ever that breif (no pun intended).  He believes me.  Thank God.

Not over!  Then goes into a 45 minutes speech about safe sex.  In reality, it could have been a 10 minute speech, but Larry likes to rehash the same topic over and over.  So there I am, standing in my parents’ bedroom, “learning” about a young man’s sexuality all the while hoping and praying my step dads balls don’t fall out of his underwear.  Really, just having to talk to my step dad about sex while he’s half naked is enough to make me avoid it for a long time.  When I get out, my mom thanks me for doing that . . . which makes me think this was a ploy to get us to bond.

Only this would have made it worse.

BOND!?  Over my virginity?  Thanks mom.  I’m sure Larry thanks you too.  I can hear the conversation you two had before this episode.  “Now, Larry, just sit with Tim and make sure he knows that sex is a big deal — ”  “Ann, really?”  “Yes, Larry.  You two need to talk.”  “Fine.  Let me just get my safe sex uniform on and then send him on up.”  “You mean your regular bedtime wear?”


The thing is, these moments with my step dad are really some of my favorite memories.  When he first started dating my mom, I hated him.  I wanted nothing to do with him.  As I grew older, Larry turned out to be a unbelievable step-father and a fantastic role-model.  Our relationship became symbiotic.  While he loved to try and embarrass me, I relished the attention.  It was a perfect matchup.

Today is his birthday and I could not ask for a greater step father.  Between him and my dad, Dean, my brothers and I probably have the greatest examples of being a good man around.  While my dad taught me compassion and patience, Larry taught me about hard work and perserverance.  While my dad helped me build my book smarts, Larry helped me build some street smarts.  The combination of the two men is pretty stellar.

So, Larry, happy birthday.  I hope it’s a great one . . . and, no, I’m not a virgin anymore.  Ass hole.

Larry. The real dream machine.


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