Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Me? Sordid?

Well. I have been officially tagged by The McMullen Family for a game in which I get to reveal five sordid facts about myself. As she was tagging me, she said (emphasis added):
Who's next? I nominate... this homeschooling dad [me] because I wonder if there is anything sordid about him...
Um... I don't know what it is about me, but I seem to inspire this misconception in a lot of people.

See, this is a game that favors those who have lots of vices; they get to pick and choose which of their vices they don't want to reveal. If you have eight, you get to decide whether or not you want to reveal that little incident that involved the five pounds of butter, the hose, and the water buffalo; but if you only have five, you're out of luck.

Luckily for me, I have lots to choose from. My challenge is to winnow the list down to the five that are still sufficiently juicy to titillate my readership, while avoiding the ones that are either really embarrassing or really offensive. Or both. And, um... I do have several of those.

I'm reminded of all the jokes where people in job interviews are asked about their greatest flaw as an employee, and how everyone is tempted to say things like, "Sometimes I work too hard" or "Sometimes I just don't know when to quit." The net effect of such answers is to convince the interviewers that the applicant isn't actually very honest. I'm reminded of a similar question that happened at a recent Democratic debate, in which the candidates were asked what their biggest professional weaknesses were. Heavily edited, their answers basically boiled down to:
  • Clinton: Sometimes I work too hard.
  • Edwards: Sometimes I get so mad at injustice that I can't control my temper.
  • Obama: Sometimes I forget where I put things.
Without making any judgments as to the relative merits of these (or any other) candidates, is there any question that one of them came across as a little less abnormal than the others?

So anyway: we must first set the terms of the game. The above website defined sordid as: adj. wretchedly poor; filthy; morally degraded. And the rules are:
1. Link to your tagger, and post these rules.
2. Share five wild crazy facts about yourself.
3. Tag five people at the end of your post, and list their names, linking to them.
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.
So: here are a few of my vices and things I've done that were wretchedly poor, filthy, and/or morally degraded:

1. I've become spoiled to the point of snobbery about the way that vegetables should be prepared. I learned to cook around Hawaiians and Asians, who did everything stir-fry style: the vegetables turn out fresh, hot, and crisp. Nothing better. I can tolerate canned vegetables, barely; I can't touch frozen.

The trouble is, my mother's family is from Arkansas--and my wife's family is from rural Kentucky and Northern Alabama, where they cook vegetables until they are dead. As a result, my vegetable-intake has declined precipitously since I've been married, since my stay-at-home wife's cooking habits find much more opportunity for expression than my own.

2. For several years when I was a kid, I didn't brush my teeth. I just decided I didn't want to do it, and I didn't. It went so far, to the point where I would lie to my parents about it. This lasted pretty much until early in my high school years, when the light finally dawned that you know, this is really disgusting. Thankfully, nearly all the places we lived had fluoridated water, so my teeth didn't suffer too badly.

On the bright side, there's no way my kids are going to be able to pull a fast one on me should they decide to stop brushing. I know all the tricks.

3. There's just something about being a father to three kids under six that has re-awakened my adolescent fascination with potty humor. My attitude is, anyone who doesn't like humor based on bodily functions, shouldn't become a parent. Such humor will keep you sane during the early years, especially while your kids are going through potty training.

I remember last year when the Pillowfight Fairy was starting to have some potty-time success. One day after coming home from work, I asked my wife to tell me how the potty times had gone that day: "Could you tell me the story of the potty time?" Well, my daughter thought I was asking her, so she started in with "Once Upon A Time..." and continued on to tell this long, involved story where all the animals, and all the bears, and all the dancers, all came in in turn and pooped all over everything....

And I was practically under the dinner table, I was so doubled over with laughter. I couldn't breathe... Everything was going dark... But the Fairy didn't notice, and just kept the story going on, and on, and on....

4. Oh yeah, there was the time where I was visiting a friend at his small, conservative Christian college up in Oregon. We were hanging out in the student union late at night, with a bunch of other conservative Christian students milling about... occasionally one would play something on his guitar; occasionally a bunch of us would join in and sing along.

Well, one of us conservative Christians started singing the first few lines to Monty Python's Lumberjack Song:
I'm a Lumberjack, and I'm OK!
I sleep all night and I work all day...

He's a Lumberjack, and he's OK!
He sleeps all night, and he works all day...
The whole group of them joyously joined in!

They didn't know what they were getting into. I knew all the verses. :)

The lyrics progressed to their foreordained doom:
I cut down trees, I wear high heels,
Suspenders and a bra.
I wish I was a girlie,
Just like my dear Mama.
Sung by yours truly, and a very small but hardy group of us conservative Christians, at the top of our lungs.

I noted a distinct lack of enthusiasm in the rest of the room during this final verse. But we thought it was a blast.

5. There was the time....

No. I'm not going to do that one.

5. As one might tell from the last item, I have developed a taste for off-color humor--especially the double-entendre. I'm not particularly proud of it, and it's gotten me in trouble on more than one occasion, but it's there nonetheless. And it occasionally comes out at the least expected times.

Our Happy Boy had his first birthday earlier this month. For his birthday, one of the things he got was a set of four differently-colored foursquare balls (of the sort that litter elementary school playgrounds). As we were opening the package, I said (without realizing it), "Oh, Look! [The Happy Boy] has four balls."

There was dead silence for about one second as I realized what I had said, then I collapsed to the ground in another fit of asphyxiating laughter, while my lovely bride looked on with a wry, disapproving smile, and just slowly shook her head....


Is that wretchedly poor, filthy, and/or morally degraded enough for you?

Ok, I get to tag five more people. I don't normally do this; I'm a bit of a spoilsport when it comes to internet games like this. Nevertheless, Enquiring Minds Want To Know. So without further ado, I'm going to tag:
Hm. Maybe it's an omen, but as I was writing Chris, my fingers slipped and it came out Christ. Just as I was hitting the delete key, I realized the enormity of the implications of tagging Christ to have him tell us the five ways in which he's sordid, and um... It gave me a good laugh, but it also sent a little shiver down my spine. So I think I'll stop at three.

If anyone else wants to participate in this little confessional, consider yourself invited. :)

1 comment:

Chris said...

OK, Mr. Lumberjack. You tag, you get tagged. Check out this one here. . .


I'm still cleansing my "sordid" list; look for that sometime tomorrow or over the weekend!