The Oscar goes to Large Smelly Boy!

Briefly, the stories I could tell .../Wikimedia Commons

By Laura Grimes

Dear Mr. Scatter,

Thank you for cleaning the little black skillet before bailing again. It is duly noted that you mentioned it before you left and again on the phone. Please note that I have performed my wifely duty by appreciating it out loud. Now if you could just solve the little matter of getting the man-children to stop eating and requiring fried eggs, we could keep the little black skillet clean and our marriage contract would not be necessary.

No. Wait. That’s not what I meant.


The jig is up with the Large Large Smelly Boy. We’ve been found out. Even though he hasn’t deigned to read the blog for months or have any technological connection with me besides texting when he needs a ride, he was looking at my computer screen while I was logged on to the blog, and he wanted to know about a recent comment in a post. I think his question went something like, “What was that about Nancy Farmer? Deliciously disturbed? Leather lampshades? What’s that all about?”

I said, “It’s in a blog entry. You can read it. Here.” And I clicked. Then I turned away and started to leave. I paused. “Sorry I’m sending you to Greenland.”

“Wait. What?” His body twitched and his eyes, looking both dazed and startled, shot from the computer screen to space.

Then he got a lopsided grin on his face and turned back to the computer to read.

“Who’s Felix/Martha?”

“That’s your brother. He’s been Felix/Martha since October.” (Count on your fingers now. 11 months.) “It’s a cross between Felix Unger and Martha Stewart.”

“Who’s Felix Unger?”

“From The Odd Couple. As in Felix and Oscar.”

“If he’s Felix, do I get to be Oscar?”

“Believe me, that’s the way I’ve always thought of it, I just haven’t written it out loud.”

“How come he gets a name and I don’t?”

“Well, you’re the Large Large Smelly Boy and he’s the Small Large Smelly Boy.”

“I know that, but …”

Felix/Martha chimed in. “It’s because she writes about me more.”

We both ignored that. “If you want to be Oscar, you can be Oscar.”

He continued to read. He was near the end of the essay and he laughed as he read out loud. “Wear proper eye protection at all times during laboratory activity as directed by the instructor.”

He continued to laugh. Then it hit him. A stupendous lightbulb moment. The excerpts really were from his Chemistry Safety Agreement. This deserves to be in all italics: “Did you steal my paper?!!”


Of course, the rest of the world has no idea what an apt name Oscar is or how I have struggled to maintain his privacy and not embarrass him about details that are unbelievably gross and obscenely funny and so worth telling. The kid is a walking screenplay. Considering the great temptation to draw from such rich material, I think I have shown remarkable restraint. I counted 29 library books in his room today.

I didn’t think he’d appreciate being called Oscar. But much to my surprise, he considers it a badge of honor.

“So you know what being called Oscar means, right?”

“Yeah, I’m the messy one!”

When I asked if I could include an anecdote to explain it and started to make a suggestion, he and his brother both eagerly called out story after story and wouldn’t let me finish.

“Tell the egg story!”

“The one with Cheerios?”

“How about the one with the goldfish.”

“That’s more like Dennis the Menace than Oscar,” I pointed out. “Maybe you’ll have to be Oscar/Dennis.”

“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.” He was genuinely excited.

So he has given his consent to hereby and soforth and foreverafter be called Oscar/Dennis.

Perhaps this is a telling story of what we’re dealing with but is still tame enough for Oscar/Dennis to live with publicly and for everyone else to be able to read at the breakfast table. He has given his consent to share it as well.

(Felix/Martha has already dropped hints about what stories of his own he wants shared. Yes, we have created limelight-lapping monster children.)


A few years ago I pointed on the bedroom floor to a pair of briefs that were still warm.

“Those are your brother’s underwear.”

“They were in my closet.”

“They’re three sizes too small.”

“They were in my closet.”

“You wore them all day?”

“They were in my closet.”

“You didn’t notice tourniquets around both your thighs?”

“They were in my closet.”

“You didn’t notice a complete lack of feeling in both of your legs, not to mention other areas, for the entire day?”

“They were in my closet.”


Kind of a hard act to follow. But, briefly, in other news … The She Cat has gone prodigal again and I’m still seriously concerned about the lack of like for chervil in this country. We need to start a letter campaign to our congress people.

Come home soon.

Mrs. Scatter