Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rules, Like Thumbs, Were Meant to be Broken

Following a fairly recent conversation with coworkers regarding microwaves, microwaveable entities, and the science and technological oddities of all things microwave (50+ hour weeks had killed the part of our brains devoted to object permanence, leaving us unable to converse on anything not directly within vision), it came about that when you put aluminum foil in the microwave, it shoots blue sparks. Being familiar with the effects of metal in the microwave from an unfortunate office incident a couple years back involving a knish, an errant mustard packet, flames, and about 10,000 iterations of the word "shit", this wasn't news to me, but when I asked how everyone else's experiences had come to pass, it turns out that not one but two people had made their discoveries by actively placing foil in a microwave and hitting "Start". Now, growing up in the country with little supervision, I'm no stranger to doing stupid shit "just cause"--like you've never wondered what an electric fence feels like--but there were certain hard and fast rules that were never to be broken, ever, not out of respect for authority figures, but because we had been imbued with such fear for what would happen if they were to be broken that life as we know it would come to an end.

Don’t eat wild berries
I lived in the woods, so while this doesn’t make most people’s top ten list, this was a pretty sound bit of advice for the old madre to pass along, although I suspect she was more worried about the potential for tooth stain than poisoning. I don’t know what it was, but for some reason, every friggin berry I encountered on my forest explorations looked irresistible. I have no explanation for it, I read Babar, was well-fed, and was given free reign over a houseful of unhealthy and hence delicious junk foods--mounds of Mounds, heaps of Peeps, Storeos* of Oreos—but every single berry I encountered sang its own little siren song, and I have no idea why. I’d like to think it was a manifestation of a primal urge to procure my own food and thus sustain life, but honestly, I think it’s just ‘cause they were pretty colors. In retrospect, I’m a little amazed I grew up to be, you know, alive.

*Storeo: a full or more than adequate amount or supply

Don’t open the refrigerator door without knowing what you want
Blah blah waste of electricity aside, between the yelling and the torture--they didn’t actually use the Spanish Boot, they just kept it in the corner as a reminder that they could if so inclined--if you were to convert the amount of energy expended by my parents in getting me to shut the fridge thatmuchquicker into viable energy, there is no way that the efficiency balances out. I’ve decided that when the time comes to raise children of my own, I’ll make them sign a contract stating that they may leave the refrigerator door open for any amount of time, as long as they slip me twenty bucks upon reaching the financial stability of adulthood.**
**I’m also assuming that by the time I reproduce, we’ll have found a cheap, renewable fuel source, and 20n (where n=number of kids) will turn me a pretty sweet little profit.
Don’t run with scissors
Actually, I don’t really know my parents’ stance on running with scissors. I don’t even see how the circumstance in which an adult would be required to make a ruling on this would even come up. What six-year old needs to get anywhere with such a sense of urgency that they’re required to run, let alone the sort of situation that requires cutting devices? I think the bigger issue at hand here is time management. If we’re going to come up with arbitrary societal rules involving sharp objects, I think we should be devoting more energies to more fatal combinations of things like “Glass is not a baking ingredient” or “Don’t put knives in your mouth.”

Don’t swallow chewing gum
This was not a rule in my household, but seemed to be a pretty central tenet upon which all of my friends’ and friends’ parents’ entire concept of anatomy and science was built, in that the piece of gum that you spend hours chewing must never, ever be allowed to pass beyond the golden gate of your epiglottis, as it would automatically turn evil, and you would die in a manner that no one has any evidence or record of. To this day, I consider it a dealbreaker if a man still believes that he will fall ill should he swallow gum, as to me it’s indicative of the sort of tenuous grasp on rational thought that leads one to be afraid of monsters under the bed. Some day, I’ll meet a guy who considers swallowing gum a dealbreaker, and we’ll have the least exciting breakup ever.
Don’t go home with strangers
Honestly, this really only needs to be said once, and even that’s pushing it. Who the hell (under the age of 18) goes home with a complete stranger, when given the option? I’d like to think there’s some sort of Darwinism in effect here, as kids that stupid really aren’t helping the gene pool. Though strangely, I feel a little less animosity towards children that go home with strangers offering candy, as at least there’s some sort of validity to the transaction, depending on the candy. Still, I feel like you could probably save some time by just laying out a general “Don’t be a fucking idiot” maxim to the kiddies, and this’d be covered.
Don’t get Them wet, or feed them after midnight
This was my pet, Gizmo. Cute little thing, got him in the back of an old thrift shop from some Chinese Guy when they ran out of my usual supply of jade buddhas. Dude didn't speak much English, but he kept repeating, over and over again, "Don't feed him after midnight. And never get him wet." And he seemed really serious about it, too, so serious, in fact, that I never did either. Except once, and he ate my dad. Just kidding, they don't make Chinese people in Northern NY.

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8 Comments:

At April 24, 2007 10:28 PM, Blogger LizMc said...

You had me at Gizmo.


(you had me at gizmo.)

 
At April 25, 2007 6:02 PM, Anonymous Jessexy said...

Dude, that last sentence killed me.

 
At April 26, 2007 12:51 PM, Blogger Jen said...

I've done every one of these things and I managed to live through it all. And I didn't even stain my teeth!

 
At April 26, 2007 2:02 PM, Blogger The Forechecker said...

My wife always swallows her chewing gum, and she also tends to get her inner ear clogged up with waxy buildup to the point that she hears things like she's underwater. The connection to me is obvious, but she refuses to let me perform the at-home biopsy to prove it...

 
At April 26, 2007 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so funny, because all those rules are pretty standard in my house, but that last sentence...oh man.

 
At April 30, 2007 8:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Jones said...

Trust me, EVERYWHERE a 6-year old needs to go comes with a sense of urgency! And, often, they happen to be carrying scissors around.

 
At May 01, 2007 4:49 PM, Blogger Princess of the Universe said...

This is honestly the most hilarious blog I've ever read...
Though I must admit, I am scared of the monsters under my bed.

 
At May 02, 2007 11:10 PM, Blogger LizMc said...

I accidentally lit some Chinese food on fire today. True story.

 

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