Dadio’s nervous watching TV. He keeps crossing and uncrossing his legs on the couch. He’s a lawyer, so I know he carries a boatload of stress. He starts rubbing his nuts through his shorts. It’s always a low rub, one that doesn’t involve the penis. I’m not sure why Dadio’s nervous on a Sunday, especially since the sports guy’s doing the scores from morning football. It’s as if his nuts are a magic lantern and he’s trying to summon the genie to change the scores. Boy, can he rub.
“Itchy nuts?” I ask.
“Wot?” Dadio replies, sniffing his fingers.
“You lil’ sonuvabitch.”
Strange how June Spoon, my mother, never scolds Dadio. “Disgusting,” she whispers in private. If it’s a furious rub, she beats it and heads for the mall. Maybe June Spoon thinks it’s a man’s thing to do to relieve tension, the way women go shopping to ease feelings they’ve lost their sex appeal.
“Goddamn 49ers,” Dadio says from the couch. Now he’s mixing the rubs with tickles. After sniffing, he itches his nose. It’s quite a production.
I wonder what effect all this has on Jen, my kid sister. I know she’s seen him. She sees everything. Maybe it’s good training for married life. She’ll probably forgive her hubby for his nervous habits, even if his nuts are involved. Still, whenever Jen’s near him and he starts in, I take her out to the garden. We dig for treasure in the Land of Orchids. Somewhere, there’s a buried mayo bottle with a string of plastic pearls, rhinestones, monster cards, and a note on parchment granting a single wish.