Skip to main content

Marcello's Mischief: That Damned Jelly Bean

It was a sunny, Sunday afternoon in May.  The year was 1993; Slick Willy (Bill Clinton) was president, Zack, AC Slater, and Screech were household names, and Vanilla Ice was already a one hit wonder.  On this Sunday, as was customary we had our big, Italian style meal in our dining room which seemed perfectly equipped to deal with such fanfare.   Despite the familiarity of our Sunday ritual, this Sunday seemed very different from the other Sundays.  For starters my dad was actually on time; he did not make us wait until the Italian league soccer games were over.  Part of this stemmed from the fact that the Seria A soccer season was over.  I don't know if it was out of sheer boredom, but my dad was on time and we had our meal at a reasonable time.  Everything seemed right; we were all excited about the prospects of beginning and ending our meal earlier.

Marcello, had different plans on that fateful afternoon.  Instead of going along with the rare punctuality of the moment he decided upon an entirely different course.  I don't know if it was out of sheer compulsion, or a sick sense of humor; my brother seemed bent on disrupting this rare picture perfect family gathering. With a blink of an eye and a sinister grin my brother hatched his plan of attack...

While our father was talking in his usual animated fashion my brother quietly placed a licorice jelly bean into his San Pellegrino mineral water.  I didn't see this happen, but once I saw Marcello grinning, his chest perched like a Peacock I knew that something was awry.  I knew from that moment on that our little peaceful Sunday gathering had come to end.

I watched for what seemed like an eternity; curious yet terrified, secretly appreciative, yet silently afraid.  My father for some strange reason kept talking and talking, gesticulating, ranting on and on.  I could not handle the suspense. I wanted to run to the bathroom, but a great part of my was mesmerized, I wanted to see how my father would react to the jelly bean assault.

Without looking my father took the glass and in shot like fashion proceeded to drink the jelly bean laced water like it was Grappa.  About 2 seconds later my father turned around and spitted out all of the water on our youngest brother, Daniele.  My brother and I began to laugh profusely, we couldn't contain it.  Our laughter was explosive just as the jelly bean laced water that came out of my dad's mouth.  Almost immediately after my dad screamed out, "Who did this?"  he grabbed my brother's hand and began his CIA style interrogation. The showdown had begun, it was high noon in the Crincoli household.

He told my brother that he had to admit to the deed or else everyone else at the table would have to wait until he did so.  My brother did not budge, my father did not budge. A minute soon turned to a half hour, a half hour, to an hour, an hour to 2 hours.  Throughout this showdown either one of them blinked. The tension in the air was unbearable. Our dad in his frustration tried to coerce Marcello through tightening his grip on his arm.  Still our brother kept laughing, digging in, instead of relenting.  He even managed to stick his tongue out at our father at different times during the interrogation.  2 hours passed, and the third hour was rapidly approaching, with the setting sun appearing until finally a break...

The phone rang and the call was a long distance one for our father.  Our father had no choice but to answer the call.  Those were the days before the cordless phone, before the caller ID, before the cell phone.  The phone line was simply not long enough.   The stalemate was finally broken.  My brother emerged victorious, he had won, he had done the impossible. He broke one of the most formidable wills in the world.   Despite this awesome victory I hated my brother.  He had deprived us of a peaceful meal.  However, a part of me admired him also. He accomplished something that no one in our family had done up to that point; he defeated our father.  In his usual twisted manner he left the table giggling, unruffled.  He even managed to take another jelly bean. We all gasped when he did this, but he calmly walked away with it. What he did with that jelly bean is still a mystery.  One thing for certain was that my brother through his use of the licorice jelly bean was able to break the will of our father; albeit ruining the serenity our Sunday afternoon meal in the process.


Popular posts from this blog

10 Great Quotes from The Book of Sirach

The book of Sirach is a book that is often overlooked in the bible. This is unfortunate since this book contains many wise, practical saying on how to live a virtous life. The book was believed to have been written between 200-175 B.C.E.

Here are ten quotes that I feel best reflect this timeless work.

1."Do not become a beggar by feasting with\borrowed money, when you have nothing in your purse." Sirach 18:33

2."In all you do remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin." 7:36

3.."Glory and dishonor come from speaking; a man's tongue is his downfall." 5:13"

4."A wise man is cautious in everything." 18:27

5."One who trusts others is light minded." 19:4

6."If you pursue justice, you will obtain it and wear it as a glorious robe." 27:8

7."Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but no many as have fallen because of the tongue." 28:18

8." In all of your work be industrious and no sickness will…

George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and The Afterlife

I was stunned, as was most of the world was when I heard about the passing of George Michael on Christmas day.  Michael possessed enormous talent was and one of the most successful acts in the 1980's and early 90's

Shortly after Carrie Fisher died.  Fisher was famous for her legendary role as princess Leia from the Star Wars movies.  Strangely her mother also died the day after.

2016 was a notable year for celebrity deaths.

Some names include Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie,  Doris Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali.

As a Catholic these deaths got me thinking about the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death.

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic, emperor, philosopher king wrote about the passing nature of life as he reflected, "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."

Even though I agree mostly with Aurelius&…

Me vs. The Almighty

There is a famous scene in the Bible where Jacob wrestles with God.  Jacob fights with God until God takes out a bone from Jacob's thigh. Interestingly, God eventually relents and stops fighting with Jacob. After this dramatic incident, Jacob is renamed Israel which literally means, "he who struggles with God."

I can relate to this story.  Many times in my life I have argued with God. I still do. (my wife can attest to that.) Many times I have criticized his tactics, his ways, and his wisdom. In my worst moments, I have even used choice language. I have a complicated relationship with God. Like Jacob, I have wrestled with God. (thigh bone still intact)

Recently I approached a priest friend of mine and told him of my struggles with God.  I expected that he would chide me for my lack of respect and informality. What this priest said was illuminating and encouraging. He told me that it was OK at times to be angry with God, God understood. He, in fact, encouraged this honest…