“Tell us another one!” Thing #1 demanded. Thing #2 then echoed his request.
I had just finished an anecdote involving the time I had ridden an elephant, and was struggling to come up with another interesting tale that did not accidentally take a wrong turn — such as the many times my father, the night owl, suggested we watch a movie he had seen in the wee hours the previous night. My father and I then endured embarrassed periods of silence when body parts that normally featured clothing jiggled unencumbered across the screen. Each time my father uttered his mantra, “Whoops, I don’t remember that part.”
I do my best to avoid the equivalent of nudity in what I relay to the boys, but the problem with my free-wheeling approach to story-telling is that I often do not remember all of the twists and turns until I get to them. Sometimes these potentially interesting details are likely not appropriate to share with people who until somewhat recently believed in Santa Claus. At times, in fact, these details, and these stories, are probably better off stashed in the bowels of my memories.
When prodded by Things #1 and #2 for a story, my mind frequently takes me to the memory of my grandmother, seated at one end of the long dining room table one Thanksgiving, loudly announcing, “I’m sixty-five years old and I’m going to say whatever the f*ck I want.”
My grandmother, who I still miss each and every day, was never exactly shy. Minus the profanity, which was not her typical style, I was not aware that she had ever actually suppressed a thought.
I know my sub-conscious is attempting to lead me to a place where I too can get comfortable with saying whatever is on my mind, but my sub-conscious is missing some key elements of this equation: 1) my grandmother had tenure, whereas I am a teacher’s assistant in the school of parenting, 2) the fact that I still clearly remember her announcement thirty years later is a good indication that it might have been a bit more shocking that intended, and 3) whatever I say can and will be repeated until the end of time (see recent mistake involving muttering—I thought to myself—that one had to be careful with the title of “Tuck Everlasting”).
So tonight, like many to follow, I will strive to find a happy place between: “I went to college and nothing happened,” and, “Let me tell you about the time I pledged a fraternity.” Wish me luck.