My name is Rachel, and I have a serious problem. My dad is a total clean -freak Nazi- everything has to be just right around the house, or else he goes nuts and makes everyone clean everything until he’s satisfied.
All the tables and shelves have to be dusted, all the dishes have to be spotlessly clean and put away, the pictures on the wall have to be straight, the chairs have to be lined up correctly, the carpet has to be vacuumed, and, above all, the whole house has to smell like roses (or something equivalently lovely). No joke, that man can smell a dirty sock buried underneath a perfume factory fifty miles away. Real pain in the ass!
Now that I’m in college, I have friends coming over to our house all the time for “study groups.” We do study, sometimes, but most of the time we, well, do girl stuff. You know, like read fashion magazines, worry about how fat we are or how uneven our teeth are, paint our toenails, talk about guys. Whatever. How can you think about studying when the cutest guys in the world sit in the row of desks in front of us in history class? You can’t!
Anyway, one of my dad’s biggest gigs is to spy on us when we’re “studying,” just to make sure that we’re not goofing off, and also that we’re not making a mess. For future reference, a mess may consist of: one potato chip on the floor, one M&M on the floor (especially if it’s yellow or green, because they stick out more), a pen with it’s lid off when not in use, a piece of paper torn out of a spiral notebook with the tattered fragments not torn off the spiral side, an unfolded jacket or sweater tossed “thoughtlessly” on the sofa, a backpack laying on its back or side instead of being stood up against the leg of a chair or table, or any other object(s) placed in any manner not in compliance with the general habits of successful students and future leaders. Any ONE of the aforementioned violations constitutes a mess, which must be cleaned up at once. That’s what I have to live with.
Every half hour or so, he’ll poke his balding head around the corner into the living room and scope out the situation, loudly clearing his throat if he spots a “mess” or thinks we’re not doing our homework. Most of the time we just ignore him and go on doing what we were doing, waiting for him to go away. He’s getting good at holding his ground and not walking away, but he usually does when we start talking about our periods.
That all changed last week. My mom was cooking fish for dinner one night and she forgot to spray the kitchen with air freshener when she was done. Dad flipped out, going on and on about how the house stank like a garbage dump and how we were all going to get sick and die in our sleep because of the bacteria or whatever. I was hoping that he would die in his sleep, but he didn’t. Too bad.
So now he’s always on the prowl for bad odors, and I mean always. Day and night. I woke up at four in the morning yesterday to hear him going through my closet, probably looking for my nasty old tennis shoes, the ones I used for volleyball practice. I threw a pillow at his head, but missed. “Dad!” I screamed. “Get outta here! This is MY room, and it’s the middle of the night. What’re you doing in here?”
“Looking for whatever is making the house smell so bad,” he shot back. His voice was all scratchy from not sleeping very much.
“Get out of here!” I yelled, and pulled the covers over my head. I heard him grab something and run out of my room. Psycho.
The next day I was lying on the floor in the living room “studying” with my friend Larissa, from history class. We were chatting about the tall football player that sits in front of her to the right, and how she wanted to ask him out but some bimbo cheerleader got to him first. I knew exactly who she was talking about, and I wanted to rip her little bimbo head right off her little bimbo shoulders and shove up her little bimbo—
And then my dad walked in, sniffing, and he wasn’t happy. “I’ve been searching this house for a week now,” he started, waving his right index finger around in front of his face. “And I’ve been throwing away everything that stinks, smells—everything that even remotely has any kind of odor—and it still smells like a dump in here.” He glared down at us with his big, bloodshot eyes. “From now on, I’m going to get serious about these odoriferous objects, whatever they might be. And if I find that one of you two brought them in this house, there’s going to be hell to pay. Is that clear?” He paused and looked both of us dead in the eye, pointing his finger straight up in the air. We nodded, trying not to laugh. The whole speech seemed so stupid, so Nazi-like that I couldn’t help but smile. I looked over at Larissa. She was covering her mouth with her hands. I looked up at my dad and, as hard as I tried not to, I snickered. Just a little snicker, but enough to make him mad. He lowered his arm down to his side and lifted up his head and sniffed the room again. Standing at the entrance to the room, he aimed his nose at different things and sniffed, trying to smell anything that wasn’t right with the world. Then he brought his nose back to us and wrinkled it a little. That means that he smelt something. He looked us in the eye and then moved down our bodies, coming at last to our feet. He motioned with his chin. “Let me smell your feet?”
I didn’t know what to say. It was weird enough that he went around the house all day sniffing everything, but now he wanted to sniff us! That was too creepy. “What?” I argued.
“Let me smell your feet,” he said again, this time slower and sharper.
“Because I want to make sure that they’re clean enough to be in my house.”
This time he went over the edge. But what was I going to do?
Larissa and I were both wearing white ankle socks, the same ones we wore to class that morning. I had three more classes after that one, so I was walking across campus most of the day. And it was hot outside, too. The kind of hot that makes you feel all sticky and nasty. My socks were kind of sweaty, and they were old, too. I was wearing an old pair of Adidas socks that I had had from my sophomore year of high school. There were a couple of holes in the toes and a big one down in the heel, but that didn’t bother me. My feet were pretty tough.
Larissa only had one class after history, but then she ran track in the afternoon. She was really fast, so they had her running all sorts of stuff—100 meters, 200 meters, hurdles, cross-country, whatever. Her feet were really nice and narrow, a lot softer than my feet. I noticed them when we were painting each other’s toenails. But they still stank from all the running and the heat. Her socks were really clean and bright-looking, but they were kind of damp from her sweat. Both our feet stank, but not that bad, I thought.
Dad thought otherwise. He stared us both in the eye and walked around to the back of us. We had our legs crossed and lifted up in the air behind us while we were “reading” our history books. First he came and stood behind Larissa, and bent over to smell her socks. I turned my head to watch him, just to see the nasty face he was going to make when he caught a whiff of her sweaty socks. He held his nose over her sole for a moment, scrunching it and scowling. And then he did something I never would have expected him to do in a million years. He bent over a little farther and, with a deep breath, he shut his eyes tight and rubbed his nose right into her heel. Her sweaty, narrow heel! My jaw dropped to the floor. I was speechless. How could my dad, the guy who got sick from seeing garbage on TV, actually rub his nose into a smelly, sweaty sock while that sock was on somebody’s smelly, sweaty foot? Unbelievable! Totally unbelievable. Larissa looked at me and giggled when she felt my dad’s nose rub into her heel. She couldn’t believe it either. She had probably ran a million laps that day for track, like a dozen miles or something, and my dad was actually touching her foot with his nose. What a psycho!
When he was finished with his intimate sniff, he stood up, wrinkled his nose, and waved his hand in front of his face as if to shoo any lingering smelly particles or whatever still floating around his nose. “Phew,” he said, opening and closing his eyes several times. “What were you doing today?” he asked Larissa.
“Running track,” she said, trying not to giggle as she talked. She was still holding her hands over her mouth and looking at me. She was totally stunned at what my dad did. But it wasn’t over yet.
My dad stepped over to me and looked down at my holey socks. I could feel his heart sink as he looked them over, the blood boiling in his veins. His own daughter had been harboring socks with holes in them, even when she knew his policy on old and worn out clothes. He felt betrayed. Loser.
“How long have you had these socks, Rachel?” he grilled me, standing straight up and staring at the back of my head. It made his skin crawl to see clothes that were falling apart, because he was sure that they were infested with germs and flesh-eating bacteria and whatever other small things that do bad stuff to you.
“I dunno, three years,” I said. I wish I could have seen his jaw drop when I told him that.
“You know that socks are no good after a year and a half, two years tops,” he ranted. “You have to throw them away before they get like this. What’s wrong with you?”
What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me! What’s wrong with him? He’s the one going around, smelling people’s socks. I didn’t answer him. I just looked down at my history book and waited for him to stick his nose in my heel like he did to Larissa. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him start to bend over and get his face near my socks. I could feel the heat coming off his face. Larissa’s smelly track socks got him pretty nervous, so he was dreading smelling my feet. As he got closer and closer, I looked over at Larissa and grinned. She grinned back, reading my thoughts (she’s so good at that). I glanced back over my shoulder, and when I saw that his face was a few inches away from my right foot, I pushed my sole up into his face and rubbed it against his big, pointy nose. I could feel his nostrils sucking the sweat and lint out of my old, deteriorating socks. I could hear the panicked thoughts running through his mind as he was trying to figure out what just happened to him and how to make it stop. I could sense the beads of sweat pouring off his forehead and accumulated around his neck as he found out just how stinky my socks were, and how big of a mistake he just made by smelling them. I looked at Larissa again. She was laughing silently, her face was all red and tears were coming down her face. I could only imagine that tears would soon be coming down my dad’s face, too, but not for the same reasons.
It was a second or two before I heard my dad shudder and felt him step back, almost falling back against the wall behind him. Then he caught his balance and stood straight up, clearing his throat and wiping his nose and eyes. “That wasn’t funny, Rachel,” he said, really calmly but sternly. I didn’t care. That was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen happen to my dad in my entire life, except for the time he flushed his glasses down the toilet and had to call the plumber to get them out. But this was right up there with that time.
He waited around for a while, probably trying to catch his breath and stop himself from puking. His face was all red, then pale, and then turned a shade of green. “You’re going to have to take those socks off,” he finally told us, holding his nose as he asked.
“What!” I shouted back. “Why?”
“Because they’re too smelly for this house.”
“So, I want this house to smell GOOD, and right now it stinks worse than ever.” He rubbed his eyes with both his fists again. “So, take those socks OFF.”
“Fine.” I looked at Larissa with this pissed off look, and she looked at me the same way, only a little more disgusted. She thought my dad was really creepy, and that he just wanted our socks so he could sniff them while he masturbated or something. But I knew that he would never go near them again. He probably just wanted to throw them away. I reached back and pulled my right sock off first, then my left sock. They were still a little damp, so it was hard to pull them off because of the moisture making them stick to my foot. I just hoped he didn’t want to smell my bare foot next. Larissa turned around and sat up straight, pulling her legs in towards her. Her socks looked a lot cleaner than mine, but they were still pretty sweaty from running track, so they were hard to pull off her feet, too. She had nice, long toes to go with her long, narrow feet. She was a pretty fast runner, too. I could never run that fast. My feet were short and wide, good for jumping up and down and diving for the ball in volleyball. That’s another sport of stinky socks and feet. It’s a good thing I wasn’t still on the team, or else my dad would have fainted or puked all over my feet or whatever.
Larissa and I handed our socks up to my dad, and he grabbed from our hands really quickly and meanly, like he was mad. Then he stormed out of the living room and went to the front door, where he threw them outside on the welcome mat. I was so pissed. Even though those were old socks, they were still MY socks. He should’ve bought me a new pair if he was just going to go throw them out like that. Larissa still had that disgusted look on her face. Those were one of her best pairs of socks, and he treated them like they were garbage. What a prick.
When he was done throwing them out, he slammed the front door, glared back at us, and walked into the kitchen and told my mom all about what just happened. She rolled her eyes and went back to folding the laundry, like she didn’t care. And she didn’t, that much. If things were dirty around the house, it was OK with her. But what happened next was not OK.
Larissa and I went back to talking about that guy that sits in front of her to the right and how she wanted to ask him out, when all of the sudden my mom put down the laundry she was folding in the kitchen and tip toed over to the front door. She opened it really slowly and quietly, looked around outside, and stepped out the door. She came right back in with our socks, all balled up and dirty. She made sure my dad wasn’t looking, and then, without warning, she took the ball of socks and put them in her mouth and walked back into the kitchen. Larissa and my jaws dropped. I couldn’t believe it. Not only is my dad a total clean-freak Nazi, going around smelling people’s socks, but now my mom is a smelly sock-eating lesbian.
My family is so weird.
This story is taken from:
Special thanks to: zanoah