The first story is from the dinner party my parentals hosted for some tennis friends last night (and from which I got a leftover feast quite unlike my usual meals-on-a-budget diet).
My mother instructed my father, quite carefully, to serve the guests the blueberry pie and ice cream for afters. As he did so, my mother went outside to start a fire in the fire-table on the porch. Things were a bit damp and she was having trouble with getting it started. ("You shouldn't be using that part of the paper," one tennis friend, always happy to divulge the Proper Facts, helpfully told my mother. "You should never use the advertisements. Too much ink." To which my mother replied, "It's really all I have." She did much of her growing up in a cabin in Maine; she has started many a fire without assistance.)
She got it started up a bit but, when my father was freed up, told him he was welcome to put some gas on to bring it up a bit. He picked up the gas carton (kept for the lawn mower) and poured it straight onto the fire.
Do you know what happens when one pours gas straight from a container onto a fire? I do. Here, I can show you a very American video of just that in action (thankfully to someone else):
I extend further gratitude to the fact that the carton was nearly empty. The fire did jump straight up and come dangerously close to licking at my father (apparently: I was not in attendance), although he had the sense to throw it off the porch right away. Cue heart attack from my mother, because of course it was still all too close to the house for comfort. My father immediately ran off to fetch the hose.
All's well that ends well (and makes a good story), but...
That is why my father is a Space Captain.
The second story includes my father, my brother, and my senile old pug who seems to have forgotten the sensation of 'need to defecate' until it is perilously close to happening (and thus happens in house more than we would like, now).
On this one day, my poor old Muggzzey didn't quite manage to get human attention before his confusing urge utterly overtook him and he made a bit of a mess. My brother was put in charge of the cleanup.
My brother, likely with much grumbling (I was not here for this part of the story; I can only guess based on steady history), fetched the kitchen roll and used it to pick up my dog's odiferous gift.
My brother decided that, because he had used kitchen roll rather than loo roll (as I always use), he couldn't deposit his unfortunate new acquisition in the toilet and flush. Additionally, he thought, he surely could not throw it outside (despite that kitchen roll is biodegradable enough, really, being paper).
What to do, what to do?
Put it in the rubbish bin of the downstairs loo. Yes, perfect. Job done.
The week ends; Sunday arrives with Monday, rubbish collection day, on the morrow. My father--also grudgingly and with much grumbling--gathers up the rubbish bins and takes them outside. He steps in each one, acting as a one-man trash compactor.
He begins to step into the house and notices a peculiar--yet dreadfully recognisable--scent about his person. Oh, no, please not that...
What to do, what to do?
He walks straight through the mudroom and into the downstairs loo, scene of the previous crime. I may state that our bathroom has just that: a bath, along with the customary basin and toilet. What to do, what to do?
Ah! Yes, it's simple! Put the foot in the toilet, where the doggy doo-doo should have gone in the first place! Perfect solution.
In walks my mother, to find her husband with his foot in the toilet, rinsing off the dog shite that he insists he did not step on while outside, or not properly so. My mother makes a brave deduction and calls forth my brother. It is confirmed, with impeccable investigation, that my brother threw away the dog poop that my father then stepped in and decided to wash off in the toilet.
That is why my brother is a Space Cadet.
(I realise that these terms do not exactly cover what I'm getting at with my two beloved family members, but I have yet to find a term that I prefer for "incredibly intelligent person that can really be immensely stupid sometimes". Instead I stretch these two and appreciate that my father is just a space-cadet who ranked up, although I do occasionally call him Master Dweeb to my brother's Little Dweeb [he's 6'2" and the tallest of the family].)
I laughed and laughed as I a) heard the first story from my mum and b) experienced the latter part of the second. I couldn't help mentioning to my mother, "It would be good if they taught Common Sense 101 in university, wouldn't it?"
I love brilliant people. I really do: they do the damndest things. It's wonderful to return to the family home, eat lavish food beyond my means, and hear all about them.
Have you lot got any brilliant Space Cadets in your life?
(Unedited. I have self-assigned homework to do and Kate Mulgrew in prison to watch.)
[Crossposted from dreamwidth.]