Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Terminological Inexactitude

Jim The Small Child Nephew is under the impression that the family car is unable to move once it goes to sleep in the garage at night, highly obnoxious videos his Aunt Beth showed him on her computer don't work on the one at his house, and school is a wonderful place where nothing but fun is to be had.

He'll recover, someday.

Or not. I was twenty-nine years old when Julie The Nephews Mama and I had the following conversation as we drove past a convenience store that was once our father's major supplier of Miller Lite:

"Oh, the Pony Keg is still in business! I wonder if they still have that weird rule."

She looked at me. "What rule?"

"You know. The one where little kids aren't allowed in there."

"What?"

"Yeah, remember? We used to want to go in with Dad, and he told us that they didn't allow little kids inside the store, so we had to stay in the car."

After six years of college and university instructorship, it had never occurred to me that said rule suddenly came into effect immediately after we'd trailed after him into the store and began clutching at and whining for various forms of candy.

It's an act of desperate self-preservation, I think, the lying. After fourteen million consecutive high-pitched "But why?"s, it makes perfect sense to tell a child that one cannot have the overhead light on in the car after dark because then the driver is completely unable to see out the windshield. (Jim's paternal grandfather, many congratulations. Your eldest son believed this well into college.) And children buy it: These are the people with the allowance money and the access to the snack pantry. You're going to believe them.

At least the deception never seeped into our careers. Josh The Pilot once gazed trustingly at his father when he announced that IFR stands for "I Follow Roads," so named because it was a procedure in which pilots simply look at the ground and track along highways in order to navigate.

Oh, and as it happens? The truth is in the opposite direction.

"It would be funny," Josh says darkly when he discusses that he accepted this with great seriousness until shortly before his flight training began, "if it weren't so sinister."

Will The Baby Nephew was administered his final bottle feeding the other night. He is highly displeased with its replacement, the evil non-comforting sippy cup. Someone forgot to inform him, as my grandparents did my uncle when his pacifiers vanished, that the Easter Bunny took them.

oh, and Santa was asking after you just the other day at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

10 comments:

college gal said...

I'm so glad that there was someone else out there whose parents told them that lights in the car at night were bad for the driver!

And coincidentally, I only learned the truth on a road trip during my first year at college, when map reading in the dark was discovered to be impossible :-)

PS: Thank you for the thank you card, it was very thoughtful!

Toni said...

An ex-boyfriend who grew up in Vermont believed well into adolescence that geese flew in a "V" pattern in honor of the state name.

(No, he did not still believe this when we were going out.)

Adrian said...

Parents like to fill our heads with all sorts of mis-information. It's part of the fun of being a parent.

When my sister was an adolescent, decided she wanted a little something more to fill out her sweater - if you know what I mean. She asked my Mom what to do. Mom told her to stick her thumb in her mouth and blow. My sister said she nearly burst her eardrums from blowing!

red pill junkie said...

My dad didn't have neither the time or patience to try to lie his way out of my nagging questions.

He just bought 3 sets of enciclopaedias for me and my sisters.

tamar said...

adrian-
My stepdad told me that I had to go out back, dig two holes and lay on the groud. Oh, and also that I had to make sure to water them. I developed young and was a B cup by 8th grade, but this was nothing next to my stepsister who was a D cup by 9th grade.

I never did try the 'burying' them tactic, but I did wonder if my sister had. :)

SaharaChick said...

My siblings and I grew up believing that the truck playing music around the neighborhood sold MUSIC and not ICE CREAM. To us, it was simply the music truck.

I didn't learn the truth until I was about 13! I'm sure your in-laws will share the same lie with their grandkids.

Josh The Pilot said...

Dear sister,
I don't remember the "music truck" story, but it's quite plausible.

Like Country the brother-in-law's parents, my folks also told me that the driver can't see at night when the car interior light is on. I knew it was bologne from the start because I could see fine out the window whenever they had to turn on the light for a moment. Sometimes now I drive with the light on simply because I can.

jaarsrep said...

By the way,JTP, "I Follow Roads" is an an old flying joke. It is not something I made up. You can find it here www.auf.asn.au/navigation/enroute.html and you can find it here www.safetycenter.navy.mil/MEDIA/approach/vault/articles/0055.htm.

I think I remember the time I told you that (to be fair, I've said it a number of times). On my face, I installed a kind of grin that meant "Understand-this-is-a-joke-and-isn't-it-great-that-we-can-have-a-little-fun-with-this-acronym-riddled-profession"! Too bad my communication was missed.

And, by the way, roads (or railroads!) are still a reliable way to navigate!

MacKenzie said...

What, Driver's can see when the light is on! Of course, as a woman in her 20s, I realized this long ago, and not today while reading your post. Otherwise, I would just be a dork.

notoriousmac said...

When my sister and I were little, my mom soberly informed us that the car was physically incapable of running unless all seatbelts were securely fastened.

This belief was further instilled when my sister tried to sneak her seat belt off once in the middle of a drive. Mom heard the "click" and *immediately* started slowing down the car, saying, "Uhoh, I think someone's seatbelt is undone. I hope it gets fixed before we get in an accident."

Personally, I think it would be a brilliant feat of engineering (barring those times when one would *have* to unbuckle, duck, and roll while the car is still moving, but whatever). Until then my sister give our friends the same sober line (and we're adults with real licenses!).

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