Risky Business

And I am eating the little Dove chocolates, that, when you unwrap them, reveal these little messages, telling you what to do. Three times of late, I have been told to “quote your dad.” So, I figure I better do that.

Once upon a time, the summer was ending, and my brother and I, we decided that, before we had to go back to the school, we would drive to Yosemite, and there enjoy the Nature.

The car was a plucky little 1961 white Ford Falcon, and my brother daydream2wasn’t old enough yet to drive, so we were pretty young.

We got to the Yosemite, and were ascending that nutbar road they have there, the one that goes up to about 11,000 feet, and we came upon a sign notifying us of the distances to various metropoli, near and far. The last city listed on the sign was Denver. Which, the sign said, was about 1,031 miles furthur.

Some unaccountable Badness immediately entered the minds of both my brother and I, simultaneously, and we understood that we needed to proceed, and at once, to Colorado. We had never been to Colorado, and it seemed essential, that we Be There Now.

And so, we did that.

We had many fine adventures, on the way, driving nonstop, powered by No-Doz and silliness, but none of those have anything to do with any dad-quoting, so we’ll pass over them now; another time, perhaps.

When once we arrived in Colorado, wisps of sanity began drifting back into our brains, and we determined that we should probably call our parents, and notify them that we would not be returning when we were expected.

We located a phone booth, and I made the call. My mother answered the phone. “Hi,” I said. “We just wanted to let you know that we’re in Colorado.”

“You need to speak to your father,” my mother said. Because, in this family, when at any time any of the children engaged in behaviors seriously wrong or bad or outre, the father was summoned.

He came on the phone. I repeated our location. And the first thing he said was: “You have no business being there.”

This immediately became a catchphrase for my brother and I, one that soon spread throughout the entire family. Whenever one among us considered or indulged some act or idea or destination beyond some recognized boundary, the watchword “you have no business being there,” it would sound.

Now, today, years later, and in another millennium, whenever I contemplate the notion of Mongo, there in the Oval Office, I think: “You have no business being there.” For he doesn’t.

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2 Responses to “Risky Business”


  1. 1 sally January 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Love this one — agree with you, pf course, –though I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have been where I had no business being. And you?


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