Sunday, July 11, 2010

Words of... Wisdom?

This past Friday was my mom’s birthday.


And I was thinking about all the wonderful pieces of advice she has given me over the course of my life. And then I got to thinking about all the things she and my father said to my sister and I that never made any sense to us. Things that were said often, and with enough emphasis that we began to believe them, without really understanding them.

I mean, granted I get confused easily but it wasn’t until later in my life (just recently) that I realized those things STILL don’t make any sense to me. So either I’m an idiot (quite possible) or these things really don’t make sense.

Lets examine shall we?

1. You’re making dust.

This was usually said to me when I was doing one of my chores like making my bed or folding my laundry. I would pull a sheet or shirt out of a pile and shake it out so to get some of the wrinkles. And my mom would say,

Stop shaking that, you’re making dust.


I don’t even know how to make dust. It sounds like magic to me. I am just here shaking this sheet. I might be moving dust, sure. I’ll give you that. I am relocating dust, absolutely. But making dust? I don’t think I have that kind of power. I can barely make a ham sandwich. So to create tiny little particles of floatingness out of the ether, I mean that seems out of my power.

Later on in my life studies I found out that dust is mostly made up of dead skin skills. I really wish that I had been armed with that science when I was a kid, so when my mother said to me “You’re making dust,” I could have responded, “You are too!”

2. You’re sitting there with your finger up your nose…

This statement was never used when I was actually picking my nose. It was usually used when I was being lazy or had forgotten to do something. The statement would go something like,

You’re sitting there, with your finger up your nose, while the trash piles up.

As though having my finger up my nose was the peak of happiness for me.

I am going to admit something here. I have picked my nose before. Shocking yes I know. I probably did it more than I should have as a child. (Though I’m not sure what the recommended… amount… of nose picking is for a child) Let’s go ahead and say I surpassed it. Let’s even say I was some sort of prolific nose picker.

But I would venture to say that any nose picking happened out of necessity. It was never a pleasure seeking activity like running through the sprinkler or playing Nintendo. If I was picking my nose I wasn’t just having a whimsical spelunk up into my nasal cavity, I was on a mission. This was a business transaction, not a leisure activity.

Sitting perfectly motionless with a digit stuck in my nostril? Yea, this sure feels like a party to me.

3. You’ve got a stick up your butt.

Now this doesn’t sound like something to joke about. This sounds like a serious medical emergency!

My mom would say this to me when I was in a bad mood. I suppose the analogy being that people with sticks stuck in their butt are cranky. But I think they have a justified anger.

Just like mine was justified. I mean I have a right to have a stick up my butt if I don’t want to wake up early to go to church. Right?

4. Your room is deplorable.

Deplorable? I will be honest and say that when I was a kid I had NO idea what that word meant. But the disdain with which my mother said it made me realize… it wasn’t a good thing. I didn’t need a dictionary to know that if she could smell my laundry, it was not a good thing.

Deplorable seemed like just about the worst thing you could call a room. Messy, dirty, sure. Those are words that are easy to identify. But heck if something is deplorable? I mean today that calls to mind the murderous tendencies of totalitarian regimes. But not the bedrooms of 9 year olds!

Even today when I look around my room and there are clothes scattered about I hear that sentence like a mantra in my head. It also brings to mind the Christmas gift my parents got me one year.

It was a door hanger that said “This room has been condemned by my mother.”

It seemed funny to everybody. Again, it was several years before I figured out what that word condemned meant.

5. Turn off that idiot box.

The idiot box they spoke of, was of course the television. My sister and I would have forgotten to have done our chores and would be watching cartoons in the basement and we’d hear that voice from above.

Turn of that idiot box and go clean your rooms.

And of course we would do so. Who wants to watch an idiot box? Probably idiots. And we did not want to be idiots. So off it went.

It was only when they got mad that it was called the “idiot box.” When they were in a good mood they called it “The Tube.”

What’s on the tube tonight?

It was never

Hey who wants to watch a little idiot box tonight? You kids want to rent a movie to watch on our idiot box?

And it all kind of makes sense in hindsight because I don’t watch T.V. It just sits in my living room. And I think “idiot box” when I walk by it.

And yes I have referred to some people as having a stick up their butt.

It’s probably genetic. One day I’ll probably tell my kids to “stop stretching the air” or something like that.

Maybe I should come up with some really confusing ones. That’s probably one of the joys of parenting, confusing the hell out of your kids. Yes that is what I will do. But I will have to put some effort into coming up with good ones. So I will sit here and think about it… with my finger up my nose.


Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

Happy birthday to your mom! And totally loving this. My favorite saying from my mom would probably be "you make a better door than a window." It was never said to me but it was said to my brother PLENTY of times. But it never seemed to get through to him. Hmm...

Shinxy said...

You're hilarious and I love you.

Shinxy said...

Also I just gave you an award. I don't think you -do- awards, on account of being too cool, but I gave you one anyway.

Stephanie Ann said...

When I was being lazy I always got the "You're just sitting there like a knot on a log." comment. Exactly how does one sit like a knot on a log? But the best is when my mother starts giving me relationship advice that makes no sense. For example, "He's a really nice guy and he's just perfect for you, but he's not your type." Is this a burn? I take it as one. But does it burn as bad as me asking her, "So I guess your first 4 husbands just weren't your type either, huh?"

Caroline B said...

"Were you born in a barn?"
Well Mum, you should know, I'm assuming you were there at the time......

Neurotic Workaholic said...

How about "Is that what you're wearing?" If my mother had her way, I'd look like a Land's End model.

TbR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TbR said...

My mum used to say "you're not as green as you're cabbage-looking". I still have no idea what that means.

Running through sprinklers; good times.

*Poor grammar effort in first comment.

Cathy said...

Funny! I was told "your brain will turn to mush" from watching too much t.v. Seriously, isn't all that grey matter in our brain kind of like mush anyway? Will my brain really begin to melt from watching t.v.? The scariest thing about having kids is when you hear your parents voice begin to come out of your mouth! And I thought the Exorcist was scary!!

Pat said...

It's amazing what things your parents tell you, and then, when YOU become a parent, those words miraculously pop out of your mouth and you think, "Oh no, I did NOT just say that!" But you can't help it, you see, because it's GENETIC!

JerseySjov said...

my dad refers to rowdy little kids as "fartknockers"
i have no idea what that could possibly mean.

Los Schoenys said...

When we'd get in trouble or mouth off, my parents would say, "Come over here so I can slap you!" Who would ever willingly subject themselves to being slapped or spanked?!?!? The most pathetic thing was, we usually did!

reberto.alberto said...

Hi there! is organizing a short story writing contest.

We do think that you too might have a marvelous story to tell, one that is your own! So if you can compose it in not more than few words, we would want to hear from you. Also, you stand a chance to get your story published on our site and win cash prize of USD 100.

“Then what are you waiting for? …put on your thinking cap and get writing. For registration and other information check -

Happy writing!

Nancy said...

I used to say "you're in, you're done, you're in" whenever they were not going anywhere else. Just a way of punctuating my point. And I do believe I will hear it again. I have a grandson who looks just the type that will need those pearls of wisdom someday.

Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

I guarantee that you will USE all those statements spewed by your mom & dad. GUARANTEE.