Rel-a-a-a-x

relax

When my son was was a teenager, his constant motto was: “Rel-a-a-a-x!” When someone got too tense, my son would waggle his hand and say his magic word. This usually worked, because the person would break up laughing.

One of his cousins who ran a home-based T-shirt business considered printing shirts with that motto, but feared my son had the word patented.

For example, I once took him to the parachute drop at Riverview, a famous Chicago amusement park, to see if I could get an emotional rise out of him. Instead, all I got was: “Rel-a-a-a-x, it was too fast; you are only up there a few seconds.”

Another day, I let him go on an airplane ride with a pilot who did all sorts of rolls and loops and even let my son briefly take the wheel. Afterwards, I thought he’d be bursting with emotion. Instead, he said: “Rel-a-a-a-x, it was okay, but not fast enough.” Foiled again!

One day, however, the perfect situation arose that would put him to the supreme test. While throwing out the garbage in the alley, I found the receptacle cover on the ground. As I picked it up while throwing in the bag with my other hand, I was startled to see a large striped head pop up and sneer at me with defiance. It was a raccoon. I told him not to go away and rushed back into the house to arm myself for the battle of the ages.

Rummaging quickly for something to defend myself, all I could find were two tennis balls and a racquet. Since I didn’t plan on getting too close, I ruled out the tennis racquet, but armed myself with the balls. When I was about 10 feet away, he gave me a “not you again” stare while sitting on top of the pile, bearing his teeth, daring me to come closer. With my first throw, I missed him by a foot, but my second hit him squarely in the back. He merely gave me a “Was that your best shot?” look.

Returning to the house for reinforcements, I bumped into my son about to leave. All at once, I realized I had the supreme opportunity—the absolute pièce de résistance. I asked him to throw out the rest of the garbage. Would I finally get an emotional response, or would he tell the raccoon to “rel-a-a-a-x”?

I waited a minute or two, then came rushing out to meet him on his way back to the house. He didn’t say a word, so I asked how it went. “Rel-a-a-a-x,” he replied. “The cover was lying on the ground, so I tossed in the bag and put the cover back on.” Foiled again!

All these years later, it seems nothing much has changed. Now, my son has a grandson with whom he likes to romp. When the 3-year-old gets too wound up, my son good-naturedly gives him the magic word, though without the hand waggle. It never fails to elicit a chuckle as the little guy processes the word with a twinkle in his eye. Though he is not yet the master of pronunciation, his reply shows he’s well on his way: “Bel-a-a-a-x!”

I found this picture that I took when my son went up in that plane.  That's him behind the controls.  I was trying to get an emotional response from him but all he said was..."Rel-a-a-a-x!

I found this picture that I took when my son went up in that plane. That’s him behind the controls. I was trying to get an emotional response from him but all he said was…”Rel-a-a-a-x!

(photo courtesy of Neil Overy/Dreamstime.com)

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, “What do I need that for?” But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, “Jerry’s Corner.”

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written … enjoy!

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, “What do I need that for?” But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, “Jerry’s Corner.”

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written … enjoy!

  • Big Joe Joe

    Word of the day: Rel-a-a-a-x

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