Knees, Nuts, or Throat?

Well there are some things that I think are worth teaching children. For instance, don’t play in traffic, don’t stick anything in the electrical outlets, show respect for your elders,  don’t get married until you’re 30; simple stuff. The basics.

One thing that I was taught as a child was how to defend myself against someone bigger than me. Now my children don’t live in a bad area by any means, however, I grew up in what is now infamous for its water quality issues; Flint, MI. In that setting we were frequently taught “knees, nuts, or throat”. Meaning, which ever of those body parts you could reach you should attack with all of your might. If you did that it wouldn’t matter how much bigger the person is, you’ll be able to take ’em down long enough to either win, or simply survive the attack. It was useful advice for the setting my brother’s and I grew up in. I taught my youngest son Mater the same thing since you can never be immune to trouble. What I find interesting is that I think Monkey may have been listening.

Monkey is easily pushing about 120 pounds at this point however he has not come to terms with that fact quite yet. Or maybe he has. I say this because his added weight and height over recent months coupled with his love for cuddling up on my lap to get tickled or simply become a human blanket has become rather painful. Much like when I was a teenager, and my feet grew too fast. If I didn’t give direct thought about each step I took up a flight of stairs I would undoubtedly come crashing down about halfway up. It got so routine for a moment there that no one would even get up when I fell to see if I was alright (tough love family). In this case I only hurt myself. There were no victims. There was no wrath.

Present day, present situation, and I find myself seeing Monkey going through the same things. Body parts are shooting up and out in every which way possible. He is evidently going to have my larger size of being over 6’3″ as oppose to his mother’s who is 5’1″ if she stands on her toes.  This becomes an important factor when paired with his lack of understanding regarding mass and gravity. As a result my living room has become the arena for this sort of flash mob approach to cage fighting.

I’ll set the scene:

I get home for the day. Check the mail, get the kids off the bus, and start dinner. All of the typical household activities that one could expect. We eat and my youngest son helps out with the clean up and dishes, we do some chores, get the homework wrapped up, and now– now I sit. That action apparently sets off an internal trigger in Monkey. One that causes him to pace the living room like a vulture circling his prey. The prey of course is my resting carcass nested upon the finest bottom of the line recliner zero interest credit cards could buy. Lap after lap I tremble more and more because I know. What I know is that at any moment it will be “knees, nuts, or throat”.

He circles.

Avoids eye contact.

Hell– he might not even know I am here.

My nerves begin to subside. Today is the day he shows mercy! It’s been ten minutes of pacing. He hasn’t looked at me. I mine as well not exist. No one jumps on something they can’t see, right?!

I push the arms of my recliner ever so quietly as I slowly move to the 50’s dad posture; feet up, arms rested, TV at a reasonable volume. All is well. Almost like the postcards said it would be.

I *sigh in relief.

That’s the final trigger. The execute command. The big red button in Monkey’s nuclear control room.

With lightening speed and ninja like agility he breaks his rhythm.

His head turns towards me. His eyes still remain anywhere but in my direction.

Is he thinking? Is he just pausing to look at something else? Is he receiving a message from outer space?

Then, like a child playing duck, duck, goose the anticipation builds—Will I be chosen?! Just like the beloved childhood game you are never ready for the time it’s you that becomes the goose.

In the spirit of The Matrix, Monkey leaps from five feet away. My eyes focused on the rogue left hand directed at my head. My left hand crosses my body to block it away.

Success – 10 points to dad!

His right hand swings right behind it, my left arm already occupied leaves me defenseless. Still, luck is on my side, and I manage to catch his right hand between my chin and my chest.

Combo breaker – 20 more points to dad!

However, Monkey is highly competitive. Yet to touch the earth from his leaping Matrix attack sequence he nails the landing with a firm right knee to my crotch. So hard and so blunt I have to question how many pelvises I now possess.

20 points to Monkey! (Still not enough… he’s no quitter!)

My head whips forward only to be met by a firm headbutt to my left eye socket.

20 more points to Monkey with a 2x multiplier!!

I whip back in the chair like a crash test dummy. Monkey capitalizes on my lack of grip on his left hand as he performs a barrel roll alleviating my many pelvises of pressure only to send the entire weight of his body across my stomach. The only small prize to this blunt landing is that the pressure has done the work of pushing my testicles back out of my stomach. However this is done with such force that I begin to worry they may punch a hole in the bag and land on the floor like a wet lunch sack filled with apples.

K.O. goes to Monkey!!

Mater runs in to the room and sees my defeated remains acting as bedding for Monkey.

Mater: Which was it today dad?

Dad: Nuts….almost throat…no knees.

Mater: Hey… 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

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