Ray Smit’s humour column

Those certainly were the days my friend, says Parksville Qualicum Beach News columnist

Some people are born shrewd and some have shrewdness thrust upon them. My father was a disciplinarian but my brother was a free spirit. Dad’s rules were indissoluble commandments to me but little more than a strategic challenge to Jay.

When I was nine, my favourite show was Horror Theatre on Friday nights. There was always a double feature. The first film was a classic sci-fi favourite like Frankenstein or The Invisible Man. The second feature was a bloodcurdling B movie like The Screaming Skull or The Brain Eaters. Jay and I desperately wanted to watch both but dad was adamant that we go to bed after the first film.

We soon fell into a pattern, dad would turn on the set at 11:30 p.m. and by 11:45 p.m. he’d be snoring loud enough to wake the dead, so to speak. When the first movie ended, he invariably woke up and sent us to bed. After a few weeks, Jay cleverly deduced that the blaring music over the final credits was waking dad up.

The next Friday, as we neared the end of The Time Machine, Jay crept up to the TV and slowly turned down the sound. He waited until the second feature began and then gradually turned it up again. About halfway through The Creature Walks Among Us, dad woke up. “Movie not over yet?”

Since dad didn’t specify which movie, Jay felt no guilt about saying, “No, sir.”

“Make sure you go to bed when it’s over,” he muttered and then fell asleep again.

It took months before dad uncovered Jay’s little ruse, but not before I’d become terrified of zombies, ghouls and especially 50-foot women. To this day, I’m sure it’s the primary reason I never got married.

About a year later, dad bought our first colour TV and Jay inherited the ancient black and white set. He soon stopped joining us for Horror Theatre. In fact, on Friday nights Jay’s room was unusually dark. Dad smelled a rat. One night he flung open Jay’ door and there was a big white dot on the middle of the TV. That’s because older sets emitted rays that remained on the screen for several seconds after they were turned off. Dad had caught Jay red-handed.

When it came time for Jay’s 15th birthday, he made a strange request. He asked for a 3×4 black accent rug for his room. It wasn’t until years later that I knew why: Every Friday night when dad checked Jay’s room, it was pitch black. Naturally, dad was immensely pleased that he’d won their war of wills. But one night, when Jay was 18, he invited me into his room for a demonstration. He turned off the old TV and pointed to the familiar incriminating white dot. Then, suddenly, he flung the black rug over the top of the set and all was dark. For three years he’d never missed a double feature. And dad was none the wiser.

Like I said, some are born shrewd and others have shrewdness thrust upon them. Jay just happened to have a double portion.

Ray Smit is a regular NEWS columnist.

Just Posted

Retired Nanoose Bay teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Country music star Aaron Pritchett back in Qualicum Beach to play benefit concert

Singer to headline Thalassa restaurant fundraiser for Ronald McDonald house

Qualicum school district sees utility costs go down

Capital funding opportunities promote clean energy and drive efficiencies

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

‘It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community’

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read