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Six Gallons of Dr. Pepper a Week

The last few days—well, really off and on since we got back from our trip—I’ve been thinking about my dad, who is not much different than he was when I last saw him three years ago, but who I see more starkly with every trip. For example, he cordons off his life by distinguishing more distinctly than anyone I know between his property and others’, a fact that he emphasized several times while we were there. “I don’t care what the guy does”—this was in reference to his neighbor, who last year assaulted him with a knife—“until he comes onto my property and messes with my stuff.” (Indeed, the assault even occurred across a property line, dad standing on one side, the neighbor on the other. Dad said, “If he took one step across that line I was not going to be responsible for what happened.”) To ensure he won’t be messed with, he booby traps his place with tear gas and explosives. All of which is very interesting and also worth reserving for another day.

What he also does isn’t new, since he was doing it three years ago too, but it’s surprising in that he still does it and that he still has teeth in his head. (Seeing him so little, I forget what a creature of habit he is.) Every day he stops at the local convenience store and fills up a 1.5 gallon mug—a tub, really—with Dr. Pepper. “They only charge me a quarter—sometimes, if Betty isn’t there, 75 cents—for it because it’s a refill,” he said. “I drink it all day. It keeps me from visiting the machines when I’m at work.”



That’s the kind of thing that would be wearying and worrying to put up with when it’s someone in your family, but I hope you’ll understand if I find it hilarious.

My Dad also seems a little more eccentric and habit-ridden everytime I talk to him, but he hasn’t started booby trapping the house yet.

Where does your dad get tear gas??

I wouldn’t have written it if I didn’t think it funny, too. You should know by now I’m not that sensitive.

The better question might be where doesn’t he get tear gas? I assume, though, he bought it at the Knob Creek Gun Range annual MachineGunShoot, which he attends every year. There he also buys exploding targets, 50 caliber rounds, and a couple of years ago some sort of restricted pistol, for which he had to get special permission from the ATF to own—he had to swear he was not a terrorist.

We should probably make it clear that he doesn’t booby-trap the house he lives in but rather a building that harbors only cats and spare car parts. Otherwise, I think his wife would have to put her foot down…Even she must have limits!

He might booby trap the garage. I think his wife doesn’t go there. But anyway, yes, it’s other of his properties that he sets traps. Somebody broke in once, actually, cut a hole in the chain link fence and broke out a window. That’s what got him to decide to trap it.