When I was a toddler, my dad followed me around with a video camera. Not one of those itty bitty hand-held ones you can strap on to your iPhone or whatever. This thing was massive. Bigger than me. He would set it on a tripod in the corner and let it record all the dumb shit I did all day. So naturally, he got The Spaghetti Incident on video.
The scene: Oklahoma City, 1994-ish. I was little enough to still need my high chair, but old enough to eat regular food. In our pristine, white-walled, white-carpeted dining room, we were just finishing lunch. It must have been a weekend, the whole family was there. Me, dad, mom, and grandparents. Mom had made spaghetti with red sauce for lunch. I was finished eating, and as usual, went to hand my dad my plate. We had gotten into this habit because I tended to make a mess when bored and left with colorful, staining food.
However, dad was turned away from me, helping my grandpa with a particularly stubborn yogurt lid. Impatiently, I said “Daddy, I’m done,” in hopes that he would take my plate from me so I could be set free from my high chair prison. No response. I repeated, “Daddy, I’m done,” this time a little louder.
Still nothing. The yogurt lid must’ve been a doozy.
Finally, I sighed an exasperated little sigh,and let go of my plate. It turned exactly once, and splat on the now formerly white carpet. My dad froze, finally set down that damn yogurt, and slowly turned around, a crestfallen sigh escaping him as he looked at the tomato sauce splattered floor, wall, and high chair. I looked at him with big innocent eyes, and said, “I said I was done!”
And that’s why from that moment on, there was a tarp under my high chair.