Pack Your Temper

Cut the neck. At least once a week, Pa performed this gesture—a thumb sliced clean across his throat. When drivers cut him off, he would switch lanes, speed up and stare into their car until he got someone’s attention and that person would get a cut-the—neck. In the grocery store, when my older sister and I were lobbing bags of dried lentils at each other, one dose of Pa’s cut-the-neck stopped any further incidents of adolescent insanity. Then there was that stray cat who’d shit all over the dead rose bush. Pa would hide, wait and, when it arrived, shower the animal with Italian profanity before chasing it down the driveway with a cut-the-neck. His gesture became so commonplace to my family that it lost all impact. Not so for outsiders.

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 7. Purchase the book to read the full piece.