That is the best - to laugh with someone because you both think the same things are funny.
Sometime during the seventh grade two things happened to me. The first was that I got hooked on salami. Salami sandwiches, salami and cheese, salami on crackers---I couldn't get enough of the salty, spicy sausage. The other thing was that my mom and I weren't getting along really well. We weren't fighting really badly or anything, but it just seemed as if all she wanted to do was argue with me and tell me what to do. We also didn't laugh together much anymore. Things were changing, and my mom and I were the first to feel it.
As far as the salami went, my mom wouldn't buy any because she said it was too expensive and not that good for me. To prove my emerging independence, I decided to go ahead and eat what I wanted anyway. So one day I used my allowance to buy a full sausage of dry salami.
Now a problem had to be solved: Where would I put the salami? I didn't want my mom to see it. So I hid it in the only place that I knew was totally safe---under my bed. There was a special corner under the bed that the upright Hoover couldn't reach and that my mom rarely had the ambition to clean. Under the bed went the salami, back in the corner---in the dark and the dust.
A couple of weeks later, I remembered the delicious treat that was waiting for me. I peered beneath the bed and saw...not the salami that I had hidden, but some green and hairy object that didn't look like anything I had ever seen before. The salami had grown about an inch of hair, and the hair was standing straight up, as if the salami had been surprised by the sudden appearance of my face next to its hiding place. Being the picky eater I was, I was not interested in consuming any of this object. The best thing I could think of to do was ... absolutely nothing.
Sometime later, my mom became obsessed with spring cleaning, which in her case meant she would clean places that had never seen the light of day. Of course, that meant under my bed. I knew in my heart that the moment would soon come when she would find the object in its hiding place. During the first two days of her frenzy, I watched carefully to judge the time when I thought she would find the salami. She washed, she scrubbed, she dusted.., she screamed! She screamed and screamed and screamed. "Ahhhhhh ahhhhhh ahhhhhh!" The screams were coming from my room. Alarms went off in my head. She had found the salami!
"What is it, Mom?" I yelled as I ran into my room. "There is something under your bed!"
"What's under my bed?" I opened my eyes very wide to show my complete innocence.
"Something ... something... I don't know what it is!" She finally stopped screaming. Then she whispered, "Maybe it's alive."
I got down to look under my bed.
"Watch out!" she shouted. "I don't know what it is!" she said again. She pushed me to one side. I was proud of the bravery she was demonstrating to Save me from the "something" in spite of her distress.
I was amazed at what I saw. The last time I had looked at the salami, the hair on it was about an inch long and fuzzy all over. Now, the hair had grown another three inches, was a gray-green color and had actually started to grow on the surrounding area as well. You could no longer tell the actual shape of what the hair was covering. I looked at my mom. Except for the color, her hair closely resembled the hair on the salami: It was standing straight up, too! Abruptly she got up and left the room, only to return five seconds later with the broom.
Using the handle of the broom, she poked the salami. It didn't move. She poked it harder. It still didn't move. At that point, I wanted to te11 her what it was, but I couldn't seem to make my mouth work. My chest was squeezing with an effort to repress the laughter that, unbidden, was threatening to explode. At the same time, I was terrified of her rage when she finally discovered what it was. I was also afraid she was going to, have a heart attack because she looked so scared.
©1998. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Hansen, Irene Dunlap. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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