Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J Is For Just Because, Or Where My Answer Falls On the Stupidality Index. A Slightly Fictionalized Memoir #AtoZChallenge


   
     How shall I lie to thee? Let me count the ways...
     My parents had daytime occupations, but they moonlighted as law enforcement officers, a covert surveillance team, and as prison guards. Mom, in particular, would have made an excellent CIA officer. She had the routines down cold. Good cop/bad cop - "Well, your father is certainly going to be upset if he finds out. So why don't you just tell me who broke that record and maybe I can talk to him about it." Pretending to have information - "I already know someone used the phone without permission. And your sister wasn't home. So..." The stool pigeon - "The dog hasn't taken his eyes off you. What were you eating?" Threat of torture - "I hope whoever ate the box of laxative gum won't have to go to the hospital to have their stomach pumped." (It was me.) The Hole - "I guess you'll just have to stay in your room all day while the rest of us go swimming." (The latter soon fell out of use, since a law-abiding member of the family would have to stay behind and "watch" me.)
     Sis was much smarter than me, but when she did commit some major trespass, she lived by the criminal code - deny, deny, deny, and when presented by the evidence, clam up. She took her punishment in silence. I, on the other hand, either admitted it (with a fair amount of blubbering), tried to pin it on someone else, or offered one of three answers: nothing, just because, or I don't know.
     The stupidality scale goes like this: one is something relatively harmless and the evidence is present. Chocolate all over my face, for example; "What were you eating?" "Nothing." Ten is a possibly catastrophic event. "What possessed you to start a fire in the backyard?" "I don't KNOW." Often I really didn't know. 'Possessed' may have been the operative word.  (Today it would be defined as 'poor impulse control/unable to foresee consequences of actions' and I'd end up with some diagnosis or other.)
     "Just because" falls somewhere in the middle. I like to think that it heralded my budding scientific bent. What happens if you pull a hair from your head and stick it in the car's cigarette lighter? (It sizzles in a most satisfactory way but creates one hell of a stink. Then you have to frantically open the car door, fan it away, and concoct a story about an asphalt truck that passed by just seconds before Dad got back to the car.) What happens when you randomly mix stuff from your chemistry set? (Again with the stink.) What happens when you push the little button on the inside knob of the bathroom door and then slam it closed from the outside? Why, it locks and stays locked! Nobody can use the bathroom until Dad gets home. And of course, everyone suddenly has to pee.  Imagine that!
     Coca Cola, vulcanized rubber and Teflon were all the result of accidents and observation. I haven't made any brilliant contributions to the world, but the clock hasn't run out on me yet. Just the other day I was caulking the bathroom and I spelled my name out on the side of the tub. Knowing that it would look silly. Knowing that I'd have to scrape it off. Why?
     Just because.
     Who knows, with a little practice it might become a new art form.
     
    

12 comments:

  1. The grown up version of 'Just because' being, of course the standard military 'no excuse to offer, Sir'.
    Funny thing is, military miscreants never get a diagnosis, just (in extreme cases) a discharge. Ewwww!

    Keith Channing A-Zing from http://keithkreates.com

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    1. I love the military version. It covers ALL the bases!

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    1. Thank you. Stupidality just feels like it should be a word. :)

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  3. Ha! Fire in the backyard? That would be great. The last one at our house was in the bathroom.

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    1. LOL I'd love to hear about that!

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  4. I never started a fire because my brother wouldn't let me have the matches. He on the other hand... Let's just say I learned by his example and managed not to do too many stupid things.

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    1. It's always nice to have an older sibling pave the way.

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  5. So many blog I can't remember to stop by. You write some funny stuff. Your childhood sounds most adventurous.

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    1. It was a GREAT childhood. It's a shame that many kids today don't get the opportunity to run wild in the great outdoors, experiment, get dirty and get it out of their system BEFORE they encounter serious trouble like fights, drugs, promiscuity, etc.

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  6. this could be true of many of us

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    1. I'm sure it is. Many of the funniest stories that people have to tell come from childhood.

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