In my recent interactions with my 9-year-old Hurricane boy and 10-year-old princess girl, I’ve discovered universal truths that flow throughout time and all of mankind.
These I call the irrational phenomenon.
One involves the response given to a question posed. The Hurricane says, “Dad, why did Tyrannosaurus Rex have little bitty arms?”
I reply, “I have not the slightest clue.”
This should be the end of the discussion, but I know it is not because, for one thing, I am watching the end of my favorite television show and I know there is no way silence will ensue when they are about to reveal the real killer and I strain to hear the dying man’s declaration at the same time the Hurricane whispers, at a decimal level approximately that of a 747 at takeoff: “Are you sure you don’t know, Dad?”
“No, son, I do not know.”
“Well, why don’t you know?”
I finally explain that asking me the same question over and over after I have said I do not know will not all the sudden make me know. God knows I have the chemistry grades to prove such a fact.
But proving it is an irrational phenomenon. My wife will say, “Have you seen my purse?”
“No,” I reply.
She should already know that I would not see her purse if were tied inside my pants, yet she follows up with: “Are you sure you have not seen my purse?”
Well, gee, let me think, now that you have asked me 27 times … yes, I have it hidden in my underwear drawer, but just wanted to make sure you really, really wanted it before I revealed the location. “No, I have not seen your blankety-blank purse,” roars my reply before I can hit the Husband Good Judgment Button.
“I don’t know why you are always so snappy” comes the reply as the door is slammed shut.
There is also the phenomenon of speaking to those who speak a foreign language. Example, you are in Japan and come upon a nice looking Japanese fellow. ‘Excuse me, sir, do you know the way to Fourth Avenue?”
He replies, “Me no can speak English.”
So, what do I do? I turn up the volume threefold and yell at him, “Excuse me, sir, do you know the way to Fourth Avenue?”
Now I receive a response from a non -English-speaking, very irritated Japanese fellow who cusses me out in Japanese, which, by the way, is one of about 22 languages I have been cussed out in during my lifetime. I don’t know why yelling is somehow designed to increase one’s ability to understand a foreign language, but just observe and you’ll note it happens everywhere.
The Hurricane believes it will make any argument he puts forth more credible if he yells it out. The Princess follows suit. Eating dinner at my house is like going to a Metallica concert. I now wear earmuffs to every meal.
I can name a million movies where the good guys are silently trying to be real quite while the monster, ghost, killer or whatever lurks nearby. There would be no such movies if everyone was like my family. We’d just be dead as the Hurricane whispers, as learned in a sawmill, “Is he still outside right beside us, Dad?”
Oh, well, until next time, I’ll be home with the earmuffs on looking for my wife’s purse.
Email columnist T. Gamble at email@example.com.