FAMILY MYTHS AND OTHER LIES
Every family has a number of stories, or mythologies of past events. These are the idiosyncrasies of our childhood or even recent events that our parents or siblings will greatly exaggerate and never let us forget. These stories are joyously dragged out as a verbal photo album and told over and over again. Of course, the optimal time for the most embarrassment is when a new boyfriend or girlfriend is being introduced to your family.
As humiliating as some of these stories can be, they are the building blocks of our childhood and a parent’s right to tell repeatedly. Even though we may tire of hearing these myths, we must stoically listen to them as penance for our childish misdeeds.
Some of these myths are more of an unfair branding because of a fleeting transgression or a one-time mistake. Sometimes even from the recent past, such as missing a family event or holiday. When the date comes around again, we are asked by a family member, “Will you be coming this year?” Of course the previous ten years that you suffered through...um, I mean happily attended the events are insignificant.
But current offenses aside, most of our mythology comes from our younger days and I’d like to share some of the funniest and most embarrassing from my family’s past.
All parents have a list of their children’s cute sayings, mispronunciations, or just plain confusion over the meaning of a word. For example, when we were little, my mom and dad would tell us to keep the basement door closed to prevent a draft. Forget about the fact that we could have fallen down the steps and that should have been the main reason for the door to stay closed. (Safety was not a major concern in the 60’s and it’s amazing that any of us survived intact with no bike helmets or car seats, and the fact that we all ate baby aspirin like Chiclets back then, which apparently was worse than feeding children strychnine.) Never-the-less, my oldest brother misunderstood and became terrified that a giraffe, not a draft, lived in the basement and we had to keep the door closed to keep it down there thus preventing it from eating our eyeballs. My parents think this is a charming story and have told it many times, while my brother still has a twitch whenever he sees anything with spots and has not stepped foot in a basement in 47 years.
My sister’s story or myth is a misunderstanding on a grander level, you may say. She came home from Catholic school one day and recited the story of the Immaculate Conception that she had learned from the nuns. According to her, an angel came to Mary and said, “You are going to be the mother of God.” And Mary said, “I wonder who the father is?” I can understand her befuddlement, to this day I’m still a little confused by it all.
My other brother was, according to my parents, an artistic soul, and therefore much harder to parent, because they “didn’t want to break his spirit”. This is parent speak for, “GOD this child is exhausting! Is it time for a glass of wine yet?” Like many little boys, my brother wanted our mother all to himself and did not like it when my dad would hug her. Being Italian, my dad was (and still is) very fond of hugging my mother and while he was doing just that, my brother stabbed him in the ass with a fork. He was reprimanded for his naughtiness and made to promise never, ever to stab dad in the butt with a fork again. His reply was, “How about a spoon?” Being an artistic soul, he probably drew a picture of stabbing dad in the rear, which they put up on the fridge and I’m sure still have in their archives somewhere.
Now, before you think me a bratty little sister, my myths are much, much worse and mortifying than those of my brothers and sister. Also the majority of the legends told in my family are about me, since being the youngest I was the most put upon and made fun of, but the most adorable. That’s how we youngest children survive, by being cute. Let’s face it, after 4 kids in 5 1\2 years, my parents were so damn tired, I’m lucky they remembered to feed me. (If you see any pictures of me as a chubby kid, you may recognize that this could be a slight exaggeration). Being the youngest, I had to find some way to get attention, but most of the stories told by my family are blown way out of proportion or complete fabrications.
The first myth I will tell you about has been embellished by my older and much less cute siblings. We were having dinner and someone asked me to pass the salt and I used it first before I passed it on, which apparently is right up there with mass murder. I know I did this only one time, but TO THIS DAY when dining with my parents and siblings, they ask me to pass the salt and just watch me to see what I’ll do. I mean how juvenile is that? I think that next time we eat together; you can bet that I’ll use that salt first, and then pass it right at their heads!
Well, they started it!
Now I will reveal my most embarrassing story. I have to tell you before hand that I was 2 years old when it happened, so please keep that in mind.
Apparently, when I was 2, my 4 year old brother and I were in our pjs and I was chasing him around and around the house and grabbing at his…well, his boy parts. I had recently noticed, being 2 years old and all that his parts were very different than mine and was kind of curious. It was either that or I thought he stole my silly putty, I can’t remember which.
My parents claim that this went on for a while until we disappeared into another room. I emerged a moment later screaming, with my brother now chasing me… with a toy dinosaur sticking out of the fly of his pjs.
I must state for the record that since that day, I have not been in the habit of grabbing at men’s ‘boy parts’, unless of course, they are married to me or have stolen my silly putty. However, I do still scream and run out of the room when ever I spot a plastic dinosaur.
Now that we have family of our own, my husband and I have already started collecting the funny stories about our 3 kids. We are now in the process of exaggerating and telling these myths over and over again.
I’ll start with a my oldest daughter’s version of a popular nursery rhyme, recited to us when she was 2 (Thank God it does not involve boy parts)
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And it was very expensive
When my youngest daughter was 4, she couldn’t pronounce the letter blend sp. Instead she would say the letter f, so sparkly became farkly.
“I’m not eating the finach because I’m wearing my fecial farkly shirt and it will get ruined if I fill finach on it!
She is 7 now and has long out grown her cute speech impediment. To her great annoyance though, we still take great joy in reminding her of it every few minutes.
Our son’s stories are too great to count and could fill volumes, but my favorite mispronunciation (which he still says) is piss a deer instead of disappear. I don’t even know where to start with that one, so why not make up your own joke and chuckle quietly to yourself.
It is a part of each family’s tradition to never let their children or siblings forget that they were once kids who said and did cute and embarrassing things. As opposed to our adult behavior which is just plain obnoxious and embarrassing.
So remember kiddies, we’re watching you, and every time you mess up or annoy your parents or siblings, someday we’ll be telling your new girlfriend how you stuck your head in the toilet when you were four.
Copy write 2010 C Waldman