Ellen Nordberg, Author

The Road Runner, the Identical Twins, and the Garage Door Opener

Young boy hanging off a sculpture

Exhibit A:

We’re late for gymnastics class and I yell downstairs to my five year old boys to grab coats and get in the car. I dash into the bathroom only to hear the garage door go up. Then go down again. Then up. Then down again.

Twin boys monkey around on a sculpture of children under an umbrella

I wave my hands quickly under the faucet. Then the door goes up again, but only for the amount of time it takes me to turn off the spigot. Then I hear a grinding clunk like an elevator getting stuck between floors. I slap my hands at a towel, and dash to the garage.

Fortunately my boys have not yet learned how to lie well, cover their tracks, or at least just run and scatter.

One boy stands frozen in the doorway to the garage, his finger repeatedly jabbing the control panel with no result. The other boy stands under the half raised garage door, his hand still lifted above his head clinging to the dangling tattered rope.

Both of their faces look like Wile E. Coyote as he goes off the cliff.

It takes me all of three seconds to recreate the crime: one boy pushes the button for the opener, while the other hangs on to the rope attached to the door, riding up to the ceiling before dropping down to the cement. Then they reverse roles.

With the door stuck partway up, I take a turn at the button. Nothing. They’ve burned out the motor and we’re trapped in the garage! I launch into an angry meltdown scene worthy of Sharon Stone in “Casino.”

Then I call my husband out of a meeting to devise an escape plan. I run out of patience with the engineering explanation of the overdrive circuit, and end up going “Medieval” on the unbudgeable manual release chain to get the door unstuck and free the car. Finally, we make it to the gym.

Several weeks later at a BBQ of five twin families, I relate the garage door riding tale to my fellow parents. My twin mom girlfriends show the appropriate expressions of horror: How unsafe! Someone could have gotten really hurt falling on the cement! The garage door opener might have been permanently damaged!

Then I turn back toward the grill and catch the faces of the dads, who look like they’ve just been told of a new an invention that would allow someone to ride a unicycle up a tree.

“You know,” one of them says. “You gotta give them credit. It’s brilliant.”
“Yeah,” my husband agrees, sipping his beer. “Too bad we didn’t have electric garage door openers when we were five.”

All the male heads seated around the deck nod like NFL bobble-head dolls.

As the moms roll their eyes, shrug their shoulders, and hand out popsicles to the kids, I think about how perhaps my boys have learned their lesson and this would be the last time such an experiment of mischief would be conducted.

But if the reaction of their father and his friends is any indication? Doubtful.

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6 thoughts on “The Road Runner, the Identical Twins, and the Garage Door Opener”

  1. I would not even venture a guess as to how many times I have heard this story over the past several years and yet I am still amused and glad to see it in writing!

  2. I can totally see your boys doing that. This had me laughing pretty hard, because on our block with 14 boys nobody even blinks when someone is gushing blood out of a knee!

  3. Just wanted to tell you that I REALLY enjoyed your article titled “Training the Boulder Way”. Really great article. Thank you! No matter how good you are, you are pathetic in Boulder so just enjoy the ride!
    Curtis Jones

  4. Ellen,
    Jenny Graap forwarded me this as I just moved from Jersey to the Denver area in July. We played lax together at Cornell for a few years as she was 2 yrs older than I am. II laughed so hard imagining this scene and have to agree with the dads…how impressive that they discovered how to do that!! I was a preschool teacher for 10 years in Lab Schools and can appreciate the antics of children and how their creative curious minds work! :-). They discovered true Cause/Effect! Yet all us moms can relate to your reaction and going medieval!! Heehee Would love to hear more!!!

  5. Ellen,
    Your posts bring back such memories of me and my identical twin. I’ve always wanted to write about it, but wouldn’t come near the creativity you have in your writing style. I love it! Let’s exchange stories soon. I can share bizarre coincidences and a few naughty twin tricks myself!


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