If A Ridiculous Childhood Is A Crime, My Parents Are Guilty
Of nonsense in the first degree
Inevitably, there comes a moment in all my relationships where someone asks me what my childhood was like. This usually follows reading a column I have written about being terrified of the telephone, or my older sister discussing my digestive schedule with my boyfriend or my tremendous need for validation.
And also inevitably, I find myself explaining what it was like growing up in my family not through a descriptive narrative but through a series of nonsensical anecdotes, as I feel it more effectively paints the picture.
Take, for instance, this one trip in the car when my sister and I were probably 9 and 10 years old. They suddenly stopped the car, wordlessly got out and began performing some kind of ballroom dance in front of the headlights. It was only when they concluded their dance and my father dipped my mom that we saw a road sign behind them that said "DIP." Then they just as silently got back into the car and continued to our destination, facing forward and not looking at us …quietly waiting for the groans and laughter they were sure to hear when we finally processed what had happened. This was nonsense at its finest — premeditated nonsense, which at its essence is truly an art form.
It became something of a ritual with my parents, each of them taking turns being the straight man for the other to elevate the most mundane routines and errands into something funny — even when the audience was only the other. Once, when my dad was flying home from a business trip and my mom was scheduled to pick him up from the airport, he called and left a voicemail for her stating, "I'm coming in on Twah flight 455. Again, that is Twah flight 4-5-5." He then hung up and called back a minute later with this, which he delivered deadpan: "Boy, am I embarrassed — that's TEE-DOUBLE-YOU-AY — again T-W-A flight 455."
My daughter is obviously genetically predisposed to behaving in this manner. This weekend, after I had asked her repeatedly to clean up her bedroom, she went upstairs to presumably finally do it. Instead, she came back downstairs with a movie clapperboard I was not even aware she owned and said, "Scene One. Mommy gets annoyed." >clack< "Scene Two. Mommy asks me to clean my bedroom again." >clack<
My dad would have adored her.
And even though he is related only through marriage, my husband is no different. This morning before work he decided to try on a suit and a sport coat to get my assessment of propriety for our nephew’s bar mitzvah this week. I met him upstairs in our bedroom to watch this fashion show, where he was modeling the suit he intended to wear, then pushed a button on the iPad and "I'm too sexy" provided the soundtrack for the strutting around the room that followed.
If life is at all fair, my daughter will have children who also possess the nonsense gene.
Paybacks are hellaciously funny. >clack<