Tricks We Play on Others

And by “we”, I mean me.  And I shouldn’t have said tricks.  I meant illusions.  As I’ve mentioned in this space before, my long list of pseudonyms is mostly an annoyance to my wife and to my office manager, who has to constantly update the phone list and print new business cards.  My most recent wonderous and inspiring name for myself is Burhan Robusta.  It needs to be said in a deep voice with an exotic accent, as said by a man with a dense black goatee, broad chest, and a large sabre.  Somehow my wife doesn’t see the importance in all this, so she conveniently “forgets” my new names.  Maybe I’ll “forget” to take out the trash.  Then who will have the last laugh?  Burhan!

One other long-running trick involves the scandalous implication that my mother smokes pot.  This is not, repeat NOT, true.  But my sister and I have been plaguing her for years with this accusation.  It began over a dozen years ago when my mother was dropping off my sister at a friend’s house, missed the turn, and said, “Oh sh#t.”  My sister and I took the opportunity to finger-point and fling acrimonious and completely hypocritical commentary at her about the Importance of Using Proper Language.  This cussing incident was recounted at home, with a few artistic embellishments, like the fact that a police officer was chasing us, and that she was busy chucking empty beer bottles out the window.  Over the years the story included a heavy joint hanging out the side of her mouth while she screamed obscenities at policemen and passers-by.  Even now when my wife and I go to the garden center to pick out clay pots, I say we shouldn’t let mom know they have a great pot selection or else she’ll be on a plane the same day, jonesin’ and all. 

Poor mom.  She was the head of the ethics committee or some such thing in college.  Though how anyone got through college in the sixties without a cloud of blue smoke around their head is a head-scratcher.  Little did she know that one missed turn in the mid-nineties would forever brand her as a toke-head.  But this is what we do for family—we make fun.


Burhan Robusta


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Writer, architect, father, husband.

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6 comments on “Tricks We Play on Others
  1. Babs says:

    OK Burhan…the real fact of the matter is that I was late to daughter's friend's house, made a quick turn left where it was clearly marked "No Left turn Under Penalty of Death" (sign had been there for years), and perhaps emitted a mild expletive from my mouth when the policman stopped me for turning left. My response was perfectly polite and pleasant, "Why ossifer, I used my "turn sniggle –from P.SW early vocab.– and I never noticed that sign before. He didn't buy it– another expletive when I pulled away and….it's all family fun.

  2. psoutowood says:

    Wait, so you were pulled over? I must not've been there. And I am right about the ethics committee?

  3. SusannahB says:

    Tim and I have a sister named Lisa. She's 23 (she's always been 23), and Mom and Dad like her best.

  4. Babs says:

    Well yes–I was pulled over–even think your sister had another friend in the car, can't remember. Yes–President of the Women's Judicial Board. Pretty hilarious, yes??

  5. SRWood says:

    As soon as I return from my secret commando raid I will address the questions of dope fiends, plausible deniability, and the fact that to my knowledge certain people have never, never, sold their fourth child into Ringling Brothers slavery or played high-stakes Eel Poker with Arctic Eskimo-Pirates. Where is the commando raid? An undisclosed location. Suffice it say that my equipment includes a 16-foot extension ladder, chisels, and snippets of brown apelike hair. From a Chewbacca costume. Which I keep in my closet. It was traded to me years ago in return for "keepin' yer mouf SHUT and don' tell th'others." I can say no more except STAY IN SCHOOL, KIDS.

  6. Crissy Po says:

    So if I remember the name "Burhan" you will always take out the trash? My memory has suddenly improved ;P

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