Yankee Pot Roast



Russell Bittner

father: Whad’ja learn in school today?

daughter: Nothing.

father: Don’t lie to me. I know better.

daughter: You don’t. You’re too old and foggy-groggy-brained.

father: Goofy-gruffy-froggy-brained, you mean.

daughter: Don’t get parabolic with me.

father: Palaveric maverick.

daughter: Be respectful of this minor, of your charge. Of the future generation of this nation.

father: Be respectful of this elder elderberry.

daughter: Stop whining. You sound like Nixon.

father: You don’t know from Nixon. You were still a mere fixture in the firmament when Nixon roamed the planet.

daughter: In the future, we will all of us sound like Nixon. Can’t help ourselves.

father: Why can’t help ourselves?

daughter: Television. “Television’s gonna get us.” I didn’t make that up. I got it from Paul Attanasio, who wrote it for Quiz Show

father: Quiz Show was way over your head. Don’t pretend.

daughter: Quiz Show is just my cup of tea. Like television.

father: Turn it off.

daughter: It turns me on.

father: Stop it! You’re too young to talk that way.

daughter: Righteous riot of a father!

father: Riddle-maker, get your Ritalin. Put yourself on “idle.” You’re electrifying me.

daughter: Alky, get your sauce. And mollify thyself.

father: Speak as a child. Be meek and mild as a child. “Blessed are—”

daughter: Whad’ja learn at work today?

father: Nothing.

daughter: Don’t lie to me.

father: I cannot tell a lie. I’m jobless.

daughter: I’m speechless. But you’re not yet off the hook.

father: Jobless. Voteless. Opinionated. But poll-less.

daughter: Untrue.

father: ?

daughter: I, too, cannot tell a lie. We are a family of truth-tellers.

father: God be praised! The truth obtains in our elemental marrow. And swims downstream, maybe, with the family genes.

daughter: You wax today, Pop.

father: I am bipolar. And, like the penguins in summer, headed south.

daughter: While I, your sea dragon, stay behind to swim with the sharks.

father: Yes, my little sea-dragonette.

daughter: Before you pack, first be cuddly with me, Daddy.

father: That is your mother’s avocation. Let’s you and me talk geometry instead. Whad’ja learn in school today?

daughter: Trapezoids. Rhombuses. School buses and yellow submarines.

father: Stop using wide-load words. Act your age.

daughter: It’s true.

father: Define.

daughter: What means “define”?

father: ¿Qué significa definición ? First learn English. No, first Latin. The plurality of things. One rhombus, two rhombi.

daughter: Wanna rumble with me, man? Wanna be my partner, my parallelogram?

father: Rectangle. Square.

daughter: You are my square, Daddy. You are a square daddy, Daddy.

father: Stop with the anachronisms, girl. Nobody uses a word like that today, in the year 2003. Not descriptively, not proscriptively, not even normatively. Not since Jack took Jill on the road.

daughter: Namedropper. Don’t drop my names in front of me. Besides, you’re wrong. Noam uses that word all the time.

father: What do you know from Noam?

daughter: Stop talking Brooklyn. Talk English. Talk sense.

father: Into your daughterly, funny little Valentine face.

daughter: Don’t get hasty, Daddy. You “Ground Zero” flag, you.

father: Let’s talk geography. “Ground Zero” is not the W.T.C. “Ground Zero” was/is the Empire State Building.

daughter: Fact-maker. Who cares? You’re an anarcho-anachrognostic. Get with the times. Amend your beliefs to fit in with the times.

father: Revisionist, ponytailed piglet!

Daughter. Name-caller! I’m tired of this game.

father: Me, too.

daughter: Let’s watch television instead.

father: Let’s saturate our brains with R-G-B.

daughter: Hugs first.

father: Kisses last. Love you.

daughter: Get with the times, Pop. It’s “Luv ya.”

father: My timely Alex, my daughter Valentine.

daughter: My Enronic daddy. Out of work and broke. Let’s watch TV together and learn to lie. I need to lie from time to time. I need to laugh.

father: Ditto!