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Missing Left Sock Beast
sistercoyote
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Coyote Musings
Coyote handsome
his coat the same brown
as the dust from which he rises

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What is the sound of one hand slapping Schroedinger's cat?

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The Quantum Duck goes "quark, quark."

September 2010
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Missing Left Sock Beast [userpic]
Holidailies, Day 5: Holiday Memory (or, My Family is Inappropriate)

I swear, I must be the only person in the continental United States who can't stand donuts in general, and who really doesn't like Krispy Kremes.

But I digress.

One of the prompts over on the Holidailies site is to write about a Vivid Memory from Last Year's Holiday Season. Okay; seems pretty straightforward, right?

Here's the thing. I have a vivid memory. But I don't know if the events I remember happened last year, or the year before that, or the year before that. Most days, I can barely remember what I had for breakfast by lunchtime, let alone when a particular event happened.

So here I've got this memory I can't quite place in a year. But memory is a fragile thing. How do we know that what we remember happening really happened? Let alone whether or not it happened in the way we remember it happening, or with the emotional nuance with which memory colors it. I have an icon on another site that says "Things need not have happened to be True," and I think in some ways memory is just like that.

The memory I'm pretty sure happened last year, but might have happened the year before, or the year before that is this:

Mom was sitting at the dining room table, playing solitaire on my Mac. She likes to do this. I don't know why. My father was out in the garage terrorizing the dogs doing I have no idea what, and I was putting together the Christmas Eve "Feast." In my family, this consists of setting up the TV trays like a buffet table: several kinds of cheese, carrots, celery, several kinds of dip, sweet and not-sweet pickles, popcorn, cranberry bread (made from scratch), green and black olives. Those are the things guaranteed to be there, with the addition later in the evening of pizza. My father likes that unshelled nut mixture that's sold everywhere during the holiday season: Brazil nuts, almonds, chestnuts, walnuts, and probably some other type of nut that I'm forgetting. Hazelnuts, I think. But we haven't bought those in recent years because the smallest container we could find was a five-pound bag, and really only my father eats them. Last year, however, I had discovered the nut mix in one of the "by the pound" bins at my parents' local grocery store, and had bought a fist-sized amount just for Dad.

Some of you already know where this is going, either because you've heard the story before or because it seems pretty obvious.

So I was puttering around in the kitchen, slicing cheese to put on one of Mom's good crystal plates and add to the smorgasbord, when Mom asked: "Where are your father's nuts?"

Now. What you have to understand about me is that I almost never catch a double-entendre. Particularly not when I'm the one saying it. Mom's question, on the other hand, was not subtle, and I nearly choked on my own spit from the force with which I inhaled to attempt not to laugh at what was, in her mind, probably an innocent question. I had that split-second moment of several appropriate-for-friends responses flash through my mind, none of which I can recall, and finally settled for: "I put daddy's nuts in a bowl" as the most accurate answer. To say "I put the nuts in a bowl" and thereby avoid having to think about the subject any further just didn't occur to me.

It's worse, I think, when the person who said the thing with two meanings only picks up on the second meaning when it's reflected back to them. My mother thought this was the funniest thing she'd heard in weeks. Or something. And as she was laughing at me, my father walked into the kitchen, which limited my options for regaining my dignity to pretty much one thing: "You said it first. I behaved myself."

Which neither of us wanted to explain to Dad. In fact, I don't know if he ever got an explanation.

As the subtitle says, my family is inappropriate. Although it's rarely a sexual innuendo sort of inappropriate (I would say never, but the preceding story would make a liar of me). Usually, we have conversations about whether or not a decapitated head retains consciousness for any amount of time at the dinner table (or where the dog barfed last). Or, as during this year's Christmas Tree decoration, end up discussing what in the body would have failed if a person suddenly went "Crunch tinkle tinkle." (No concensus was reached, but both my sister and I laughed until our noses ran.)

We are not very proper people. We sometimes eat with our fingers, or reach across the table (with a "pardon my boardinghouse reach," naturally), or put our elbows on the table. We're lucky if the forks match, and very seldom have to worry about which one to use first (I honestly can't remember the last time I had a sit-down meal at my parents' house where there was more than one fork per person on the table, with the exception of the serving fork). We have all of us been known to find things funny when we should probably be somber.*

This is my family. We're inappropriate. We fight and we offend each other. We don't expect non-family members to understand.

*of course, my mother would be positively horrified by this paragraph. "You make us sound completely classless," she would say. I think she'd be missing the point, and also the word "sometimes."

Comments

I love donuts, but loathe Krispy Kreme. Way too greasy.

In our family, the double entendre would have been deliberate. One time when my brother and I were in high school, Mom decided to teach Mark how to make chicken fried steak:

"Well, first you beat your meat"

Mark turned three shades of red and went "Aww, Mom", while Mom laughed.

I find all donuts to be too greasy, and Krispy Kreme I find the worst of the bunch. Give me a croissant any day. :)

I get my general obliviousness from my mother, so we often say things that other people think we've said on purpose, but we really haven't.

I laughed at your mom and your borther. I hope that's okay. :)

Thanks, and thanks :)

apis_mellifera suggested I add you. She thinks I'm starting on a journey that you've started already. I hope you don't mind if I read. :)

I don't mind at all. I'll add you back so you can see most of my entries. :)

Also, I laughed at your icon. Years ago, I bought my father a card with a cow, a chessboard, and a hula dancer's backside.

Yep. It said moo chess grassy ass.

I need that card for my dad. :)

Hello fellow Holidaily-er. I've never understood the appeal of Krispy Kremes either. I usually like donuts, theirs just aren't very good. :-(

And speaking of memory, my favorite podcast Radiolab had one on memory and forgetting. It's long (at almost an hour) but it's really good and I highly recommend it. You can find it on iTunes or on their website. It talks about how most of our memories aren't really what happened. It's good.

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2007/06/08

Thanks for the link - I'll check it out!

Your family and mine would get along just fine.

Which is why I'm fretting about the upcoming holidays in my sleep. To Jim Morrison.