I’ve come to the conclusion, in later years, that the men in my family actually do have emotions.

There was a time when I wasn’t quite sure about that.

It really started when my older brother told me:

although at first I thought he said

I wasn’t sure which one he said, and I wasn’t sure what he meant anyway, so I kept my mouth shut.

See, I didn’t have the emotions of any kind of fish at all. I got really, really angry, and sad, and everything, usually over really silly stuff. Like that time I ran away.

My version of running away

See, I didn't want to run away. I had it pretty good, with food and stuff like that. There were times when I wanted people to think that I'd ran away:

We lived on an acreage, and my parents had planted rows and rows of trees to create a windbreak, because the wind in Nebraska is - WELL -

The windbreak wasn’t very tall when I was a kid, but it was tall enough for me to play pretend run-away in, so I grabbed a beach towel, and laid it behind the tallest of the scrubby trees.

I think I got the beach towel because I didn’t want to get dirt all over my legs. That would be a dead giveaway that I wasn’t truly on a daring rebellious runaway adventure, but just sitting by myself in the windbreak. Plus, dirt - yuck. I wasn’t a very good farm kid.

I sat there for a while, chuckling with glee, imagining the hurt and regret my family would be feeling.

Wouldn’t it be great to make my grand re-apperence, and they’d be all panicked and worried and in despair. They’d probably make me cake.

Chocolate cake.

The experience begins to sour

After a couple of hours lying in the field, my zeal for revenge started to cool a bit. I was getting hungry.

But no - I remembered the original insult, the reason I’d ran away - or at least pretended to run away. I tried to make myself angry and frustrated again.

But my heart wasn’t in it.

It was too late, though. I’d already gone too far - I’d disappeared, without a trace, without telling anyone where I was going. I was sure to have upset my whole family, and they’d probably be out searching for me. Maybe they thought I’d drowned in our lake, or been abducted.

I’d burned my bridges. I was surely going to have to face some sort of terrible consequences for my prolonged absence. 

But there was nothing for it. I couldn’t worry them any more. I wasn’t angry any more, I just didn’t want to get into any more trouble - I hoped that they weren’t all out looking for me. Maybe they’d called the neighbors and started a search party! Maybe they'd called the police!

The anticlimax

When I came inside, mom was cooking dinner. No one had missed me - my time as a fugitive had been completely overlooked by everyone.

They didn't even miss me.

They didn't even MISS me!

I resolved to run away again soon. Maybe I’d pack some food, then I could stay away FOR DAYS.