One day last year, McIrish and I, Princess Daughter and Dearest Son went to the grocery store together. Just on whim, I said to Princess, “I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you do a cartwheel right now.” Because I knew she wouldn’t. First of all, it would be a physical activity, and she tries to avoid those at all costs. Secondly, she was in a dignified mood, stoically tolerating her provincial family.
Much to my shock and awe, she did one immediately. “I win!” she crowed, then cantered off to lord her newfound wealth over her brother. He immediately ran back to me. “I’ll do a cartwheel, too,” he offered, but I was now broke and wiser.
So for the past year, he’s been bugging me to offer him a dare like Princess’s cartwheel. When we were in St. John recently, we saw a wedding party. “I’ll give you a hundred bucks to go up to that bride and tell her how beautiful she is,” I said.
“No way,” he said. “But I’ll do a cartwheel.”
“Please,” I answered. “That’s so last year. I’ll up it to $500 if you go up to the bride, say what I just told you and add that you can only hope to be so lucky as her groom someday.”
He groaned and stomped back to the ferry. (For the record, I knew he would never take that bet, so my bank account didn’t even blink.)
Then, Friday night, the four of us were out for the dreaded/beloved Family Fun Night, getting ice cream before our movie. “I’ll give you a hundred bucks,” I said, “if you tell that cute girl behind the counter that you have the best and most beautiful sister in the whole world.”
“Don’t,” Princess hissed. “Don’t embarrass me! Don’t say it!”
So now, not only was there the challenge of talking to a very cute teenage girl roughly his own age, but the added death threats emenating from his sister.
“I’m not going to make this offer again,” I said.
He went up to the counter.
“Can I help you?” asked Cute Teenage Girl.
“Aw!” said the girl.
I high-fived my son. Princess muttered darkly and sucked on her straw, glaring at her brother with the Slitty Eyes of Death.
“Why do you torture the kids like this?” McIrish asked.
“Because it’s fun,” I answered.
And it is. It really is.