Who doesn’t know cry uncle? ‘Cry uncle’ is when you admit defeat, surrender, or plead for mercy, especially in an informal physical contest of some kind. Many of us know cry uncle from the horseplay of our youth where someone would try and endure physical discomfort inflicted by another person until they cannot take it anymore and shout out, “Uncle!”
We had our own version of cry uncle. The local shopping center movie theater (Montecito shopping center in San Rafael) had a brightly lit sign in the parking lot that displayed the movies being shown and named the principal performers. One night we noticed that the giant letter ‘P’ from the name Audrey Hepburn was missing. It had fallen off the sign and was lying in the parking lot underneath the sign, cracked from it’s fall.
We thought, what better place to have a big red plastic ‘P’ than in our bathroom?—a letter representing the main activity there. So we took it home and hung it on the shower door. At times, the big letter ‘P’ became part of a cry uncle contest. You would bring it out into the living room and jokingly hold it up like the Statue of Liberty in front of a Waldo and ask, ‘what does P stand for?’ P had a different meaning outside of the bathroom,… it represented the word ‘proximity’. The Waldo would then refuse to cry uncle by refusing to emote the word ‘proximity’.
But then, each time they would refuse to answer the same question ‘what does P stand for?’, you would move the big plastic ‘P’ closer to their face… closer in ‘proximity’… and ask again. Eventually you would have the big red plastic letter P up against their face, pushing it harder and harder against their face until they would give up and shout out, ‘Proximity!’
And there would be the imprint of the letter ‘P’ on their face.