When I was a teen, the cool kids had a phone in their bedroom. The rich kids had their own line with a phone number that was separate from the rest of the house. I didn’t, mostly because my mom didn’t want to “waste money” on that sort of frivolity. For those of you who don’t remember this, ask your parents. It was in the days before the Internet, before cell phones, you know, the ancient days.
So of course, whenever I would be talking to a friend (usually girls), my mother would pick up the phone and say embarrassing things like “Did you take out the trash? Did you do your homework yet?” – you know, the sorts of things that mortify teens by letting other teens know that you have parents.
I had a curfew of midnight on any night when there was no school the next day. The thing is, my parents always went to bed around 10 pm. There were many nights that I would stay out later than curfew, and my parents would frequently catch me staying out until 2 or 3 in the morning, until I hatched my devious plan.
I would call my house from wherever I happened to be at 11:30 or so. The phones would ring throughout the house. My father would pick up the phone at his bedside, and answer it while half asleep. In his groggy, half asleep voice, I would hear: “Hello?”
I would reply, “Dad, I’ve got it.”
He would say: “Tell your friends to stop calling so late.”
Then I would resume whatever I was doing, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t catch me, as long as I was home before my dad woke up in the morning.
Like the chemistry story, I didn’t tell my mother about this until Dad’s funeral. Mom found it quite funny, and still tells the story to her friends when she talks about all of the funny situations I got myself into as a young lad.