And I’d like to think why she loves me

I’ve never grown up.  Ask my kids.  They’ll tell you.  Ask my wife.  She’ll roll her eyes and maybe sigh or smile and say, “Yeah, didn’t happen”.  Take for instance nearly every family dinner or banquet or wedding reception we’ve ever attended.  If we find ourselves seated around a table longer than ten minutes or so after we finish eating I’ll start looking for something to do and the longer we sit there the goofier I get.  I’ve been known to fold my napkin into the shape of a boat or a sailor hat and put it on my head or tie it into knots and bop one of the kids on the head for fun.  I’ve also taken that same napkin, especially if it’s cloth, and tied knots in each corner and worn it as a hat as I semi-screech: “Whot!  Is there a penguin on the telly?!” in my best Monty Python impersonation.  This sends the kids into hysterics and my poor spouse running for cover if she stays at the table at all.  I can’t blame her.

Any self-respecting adult with a modicum of good sense and manners wouldn’t act this way especially in public and at a nice, dressy affair.  But let’s unpack that last statement a little, shall we?

I take umbrage with the idea that acting in such a nonsensical manner has anything to do with my self-respect.  I see it almost in the opposite way.  Because I have an abundance of self-respect, I recognize my personality leans toward eclecticism, oddness and irreverence.  To deny those inclinations would be to have no respect for who I am (despite my spouse’s assertion that maybe I should quell those urges).  Perhaps she’s right in some ways; I don’t tend toward adulty behavior.  It’s why I gravitate toward the kid-table at family get-togethers.  It’s why I am an inciter, sort of a Woody Woodpecker, in our family’s cartoon carnival.  Any good sense is a casualty of my nonsense.

Likewise, manners, although I know how to use them and can actually trot them out when needed, go out the window.  I find manners stifling and after constraining myself with them throughout the meal I feel like I’ve put in my time.  I think they deserve their due but there’s a limit to everything and mine is somewhere around the 12-13 minute mark; then all bets are off.  Furthermore, I abhor a façade.  Anything fake, phony or insincere especially as it concerns our personalities seems like such a shame so the mere fact that others (the public) are around shouldn’t mean I’d act any differently than I would if we were sitting around our own kitchen table.  And clothing?  Formality?  Please!  Same argument I’m afraid, folks.  Still, I realize this sort of approach or philosophy isn’t for everyone.

Many, perhaps most of you, are shaking your head, maybe even ‘Tisk-tisking’ me a little.  You know the sound.  It’s the sound of disapproval your mom made when she found you sitting on top of the car when she came out of the store.  Actually, she didn’t make that sound right away.  First there was the spanking.  In fact that sound may have taken a few years to come out, after she’d had a chance to gain some perspective.  I’d like to think she had to mature a little and understand her youngest kid but I’m almost certainly giving myself too much credit.  The thing is I don’t feel this behavior makes me any better or worse than anyone else.  My actions after the dishes are cleared are no more a reflection on my value or worth than are my inabilities to hang more than three spoons on my face (I’ve tried, my nose and both ears are my record).  Far beyond being a liability I think a case can be made for my idiosyncrasies being an asset.

When the whole clan was at these functions and they drug on and on someone had to entertain the children.  I might get pushback from the other adulting side of our household but I’ll assert that while my spouse was making conversation with the other adults I kept the children amused, happy and out from under the table (for the most part).  The practicality of one of us filling this role comes down to logistics.  Ever try carrying on a conversation with someone with a toddler on their lap?  Yeah, how’d that work out for ya?  How about if you were the one with the toddler?  Five seconds after the exchange could you recall anything, anything, the other person said?  Such was my role, as diversion for the kids, in an effort to keep some semblance of order or at least our version of it.  And let’s just be honest, this is my wheelhouse.

Even as a kid I was the one hiding under clothing racks in department stores, singing to myself, making odd noises, playing with my toys in the dark and of course the sitting on top of the car incident.  So, yes, I’m weird like that but I know what it means to be bored.  Bored to death and wishing like anything I could just take off and go run in a field or hang from the monkey bars; but knowing I couldn’t.  I escaped to my imagination back then or did odd things like dismantle words and put the letters in alphabetical order (too much information?).  The point is I learned things back then to occupy my time.  Today the argument has been made by someone close to me that maybe I should try and converse and interact with the other people sometimes now that I’m an adult and I get that, I do.  The thing is that won’t always be possible or maybe even preferable.  It’s my assertion that keeping oneself occupied and out of trouble and non-distracting is a skill that’s best taught at a young age.  I hope that I’ve passed that “skill” on to our progeny even if the non-distracting part is sometimes a stretch.  In the end, that’s just us.

We’ve always just been “us” whatever that may be on any particular day.  Are we an acquired taste?  Probably.  However, I’d like to think we’re genuine.  We are who we are and that’s all that we are.  It’s all we can be and probably all we ought to try to be.  Which is nice.

Every week I write about life, mine and I hope in some small way, yours.  I think we’re more alike than we really know (except for maybe the Monty Python thing).  If you would like to read more, head over to my blog by clicking here.  Once you”re there I hope you’ll decide to subscribe for free.  Subscribing is easy and just means you’ll get an email on Saturdays with links to the week’s posts.  If you want to subscribe now, just click this.  Wherever you sign up please don’t worry, I never sell or share emails so you won’t get a bunch of junk.