Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tales From The Lebowskis - Kyle Rudedawg is a Smartass

I've mentioned before that growing up, I had some cousins who were more like the brothers I always wanted. Jimmy and Charlie Easterbreak were like my older brothers, and Chris and Kyle Rudedawg were/are like my younger brothers. Both of them are good kids (although less "kids" every day), and I've got a ton of great memories about them both. However, of the two of them, Kyle has inherited the legendary Lebowski wit and penchant for causing trouble a bit more than his older brother, who inherited the stubbornness and love for family a bit more. Kyle has been a rare case for a few years now. Most pre-teens/early teens, if they are considered "funny" by their peers, are downright obnoxious seeming to everyone else. Kyle has stayed genuinely adult-level funny since he was about 10, although not without the occasional bout of adolescent obnoxiousness.

Kyle likes to be provocative, making (and holding to) wild claims such as "Meghan Thirty maliciously pushed me down the stairs when I was two years old" (we don't THINK that one is true, anyway) and "The Beatles sucked." These are not one-off statements, these are repeated claims that he regularly reasserts. I think he enjoys watching the reactions as people (either my sister in the first case or my uncles in the second) work themselves into a frenzy arguing with him. He understands, as has been passed down from our grandfather, the man, the myth, Jaja, that "the shit don't stink unless you stir it." Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if that was stamped on a Lebowski coat of arms somewhere.

Kyle also has the gift of creative interpretations of "truth." I distinctly recall an incident one summer where Derek Dynamo, our cousin with Down's Syndrome, came up to where the adults were sitting on the porch of my parents house to complain that the other kids were throwing rocks at him. Chris and Kyle were sometimes troublemakers, but that sounded a little too evil to be the truth, and Derek sometimes has trouble communicating clearly, so we sent him back down to the basketball hoop to instruct his cousin Kyle to head up to the porch. Kyle arrived and stood ready for his interrogation. "Derek said you were throwing rocks at him." His eyes widened then narrowed again, a thoughtful look crossing over his face. "Derek's lying." "So you weren't throwing rocks at him?" Pause. "No." "Were you throwing rocks at all?" "No." "So what did happen?" "I don't know," and he paused again, then, "but I didn't throw any rocks at Derek."

Hmm, there was something fishy about this. We sent Kyle away to serve Chris, his older brother with the summons. Chris came up to the porch and was very forthcoming with his information. "Were you and your brother throwing rocks at Derek?" "What? No, Kyle threw the basketball at his head." "...Get your brother back up here." Kyle, upon his return, protested that he had told the complete truth, not a single rock was thrown. If we'd only ASKED about the basketball, he would've told us. Smartass.

This was pretty in line with his approach to mischief. He's clever enough to cause trouble in ways that generally evade detection, at least for a little while. When he was in like 1st grade or so, they used to all get out little carpet squares and sit in a circle for story time. Usually it was a mad dash for the kids to get to sit next to their best friends, but Kyle would approach the teacher every time instead and ask sweetly if he could sit next to her. Touched, his teacher would always agree. It took weeks of her scolding the children sitting directly across from her for disruptive laughing before she realized the true culprit was the child sitting directly beside her, in her blind spot, pulling faces and other such japes with impunity. Eventually the jig was up, but man did he have a good run.

Kyle is an artistic kid too, he enjoys drawing. Once he made an entire comic book of single page strips himself, hand-drawn. Now, it was typical child artwork, crooked lines, not the neatest text, etc, but it was pretty good for a kid. The strips focused on a trio of characters, one of whom was a complete screw-up, hated and mocked by the other characters and seemingly fate itself. Typical child "it's funny when bad things happen to someone" humor. One strip was about a set of three music concerts the characters held, one per character. The first two held a rock and rap concert respectively, and were met with wild applause. The third was something crappy, and was booed and had things thrown at him. Ha ha. The true humor lay in an unintentional printing mishap. You see, the signs on the stage for each concert were the genres plus the character's names. So first was Rock Joe (or whatever his name was). The last was like Country Tim or something like that. The middle character was named Ed. Ed gave a rap concert. Oh, and this is where I'll mention that all the letters were capitalized (e.g. ROCK JOE) and Kyle had issues with spacing. His sign read "RAP ED" or, with the spacing issue, "RAPED". It was completely unintentional on his part, but there it was. The 9-year-old's comic with the word "RAPED" emblazoned in the middle.

Kyle has one incident in particular that he recently described as the greatest moment of his life. Of course I had to respond with "you must have a pretty crappy life, then", but he is genuinely proud of this one. He was probably 6 or so at the time. Our cousin Devon Dynamo was converting her mother's attic into a bedroom for herself and I was watching Kyle that day during the summer, and we went over to help her with the painting. Now, it should be mentioned that Devon is a fairly emotionally reactive individual, and is a bit of a talker herself, periodically something of a wiseass too. So there we were, painting in the disgustingly hot attic, and Kyle is saying all sorts of funny nonsense, but Devon is getting annoyed with him. Now she must've been about 14 or so at the time, and was every bit of her a 14-year-old girl, with all that comes along with that. She had had enough of Kyle's yammering, and told him so.

"Kyle, my god, every year your mouth just gets bigger and bigger," she smirked, half-annoyed, half-proud of her line. Without missing a beat, Kyle, 6-year-old Kyle, turned his head and smirked back even bigger, then casually tossed out the following line, complete with his then-inability to say the letter R, "Yeah, well, youah THIGHS just get bigguh and bigguh evewy yeauh." He was DELIGHTED with himself. And Devon? Well, I've yet to see her so angry again. There was murder in her eyes. I'm fully convinced that if I weren't present, Kyle would've been thrown down the stairs face first after a brutal beating. I literally had to hold her off of him. And he just laughed and laughed.

Kyle Rudedawg is a smartass.