Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico

Norton I,
Emperor of the United States
and Protector of Mexico

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by Tony Bender

Tony Bender

Nick is my co-pilot. But at five, he's not much of a navigator. Every road leads to the Twist Cone.

Lately, he's insisted on going everywhere with me he likes convertibles. It was hard to complain about my newfound popularity even when he ordered me to raise the top and lower it three times an hour. Hey, he's family and I was enjoying my celebrity.

But a man's love for his nephew can be threatened. For it is only slightly greater than a man's love for his car.

When Nick spilled the SUPER MASSIVE BLADDER BUSTING 300-OUNCE PEPSI on the front seat, I cringed. But in keeping with that Favorite Uncle Tradition, I took it in stride, convincing myself that Pepsi is probably very good for a car upholstery.

The fact that I'd spent the whole morning washing, Turtle-waxing and Armor-Ailing the 'Stang' was of no consequence. We are men. And if Nick deemed it necessary to douse grey tweed with pop, I would trust his male instincts.

After all, there are only five areas of acknowledged male-dominance left in this world stereos, remote controls, sports, war and cars. Women are experts at everything else. At least that's the story around our house.

But Nick nearly blew his Man Apprenticeship when I discovered TAR on the back seat where he'd been crawling. Half of Highway 12 was in the back seat. Men in orange vests were leaning on shovels. A truckload of pigs was stuck in the tar in my back seat.

I know I lost my head. I panicked. What was I thinking? I foolishly mentioned the tragedy to my mother and sister, who were having a super-secret meeting on burping

Tupperware in the kitchen.

Immediately, I heard the There-are-more-important-things-in-the-worId-speech from Mom. Then, in perfect Paul Simon/Art Garfunkel harmony, sister Sherry joined in with her Don't-you-get-it you're-just-a-man-and-we-don't-give-a-rip-about-petty-things-like-that I-am-woman-hear-me-roar-speech.

Oh, I am a Rockhead. I am an Island. Nagging in Digital Surround Sound. Is it live or is it Memorex? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.

Since bringing Nick into the world. Sherry mutated from the whip-armed girl who could play baseball bum-out and turn a double play into a ... a ... MOM!

Now when she breaks a favorite teacup, she takes the day off and mourns with her friends from Women of Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow. The dreaded WOTYAT.

Sherry, I'm so sorry. Here, I brought you a hotdish made from 43 different varieties of beans.

"Thank you, Betsy. She was a good teacup."

To make matters worse, after making the Stale-of-the-Union/I'm-not-going-to-pay-for-a-complete-car-detail-job-speech, Sherry decided that she would take a bottle of Windex and would clean that tar herself. EGAADS!

I burned rubber. I would go to the mountain. I would lay my burden down at the feet of the most Hallowed Cleaner of Car Seat Tar. I would see a professional. I would see a MAN.

There were teams of experts in surgical white scrubs hovering over a half-dozen chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected patients when I arrived, staggered out of my car and fell to the ground weeping.

"MY GODDD! The man's got tar on his seat," a horrified triage expert screamed and an ear-piercing air raid siren went off.

Wrenches clattered to the floor as the entire squad rushed to the rescue. While they wheeled the ailing beast into the operating room, a mechanic named Arnie pumped an I.V. solution of Prozac and 10-40 Quaker Slate into my veins.

I watched in helpless anguish as they applied solution after solution to the goo.

"Looks bad, Bones. You're going to have to go in."

My God Jim, I'm just a country doctor. I don't...

"You can do it, Bones."

Finally, in desperation, they called for a secret solution, which was unlocked from a large vault, protected by Wells and Fargo guards.

Miraculously, the tar lifted. Holy Hank Ford! What is that stuff? Holy water from Lourdes? The blessed waters of the River Jordan?

"Windex," said the surgeon.

When I got back home, Nick was waiting. "See, I don't have tar on my shoes, anymore."

Nick, it's OK. You didn't do anything wrong. Accidents happen. Hop in and let's gel out of here. We're men. We gotta stick together.

"Put the top down, Tony."

You got it Nick, High five and watch the Pepsi.

©Tony Bender, 1993

A Note from the Emperor:

This is copyrighted material, used without permission. Since I am the Emperor, I don't require permission (see below). Technically, I own this copy, anyway, as I paid for the copy of the newspaper I cut it out of, many years ago. I was living in Oakes, North Dakota, at the time. The newspaper was the Oakes Times. The exact xdate is unknown, but it was sometime in 1993. Please visit Tony Bender's Web Site, and buy his books. They are absolutely fantastic!

NOTE: WHEREAS this article is reprinted here without permission, and WHEREAS there is no commercial intent, and WHEREAS We stole it fair and square, and WHEREAS it is here solely for Our personal enjoyment, THEREFORE, We do hereby grant a special dispensation from copyright law. -- Norton I, Emperor of the United States, Protector of Mexico, and prospective consort to the Queen of Great Britain

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