...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

and then i go and spoil it all by by saying something stupid like how stupid i sometimes am

Earlier this evening, I caught my oldest son in a trivial lie. This type of thing doesn't happen often, but when it does, I like to drive home my disappointment with an overly emotional lecture that goes on about three minutes longer than it should, and sometimes involves a PowerPoint presentation with bullet points and graphics that float in from one corner of the screen and off the other, all set to the melodic inspiration of Celine Dion or Bette Midler. I think it's this aspect of my parenting skills that's resulted in having two children who rarely cause trouble, rather than the fact two laid back, typically apathetic individuals came together to create offspring who model similar behavior.

(Speaking of things that go on longer they should, talk about a long-winded introductory paragraph, why don'tcha...)

Twenty minutes into my lectures, I typically notice my audience fading (or, in some cases, disappearing entirely), so I like to conclude with a kind word or a catch phrase that reminds them, should they ever be tempted to repeat whatever bad behavior I was trying to discourage, that they don't want to sit through a PowerPoint again, so they'll nip their business in the bud (sidebar - make note of 'nip your business in the bud' as potential future catch phrase). Tonight, I tried out the following:

"I'm not stupid. I'm not stupid now, I've never been stupid, and I don't plan on getting stupid."

Seriously, does that make me sound bad ass or what?

But here's the problem. I just sat here for five minutes wondering "Or should that read 'Does that NOT make me sound bad ass?'" which absolutely contradicts the point I was trying to make to my son. Couple that with the fact that, in all honesty, I'm probably at least a little bit stupid if for no other reason than, earlier tonight, I had to cry mercy (read as: actually cry) while helping my youngest son with his homework. I honestly had no idea a rod was anything other than a stick and/or a proper name that never fails to make me snicker, but apparently - and I only learned this about an hour ago after my husband got home and was able to help our son, a rod is some sort of measurement, 16 1/2 feet to be exact. OK, that's all well and good, but don't expect me to know how many rods are in 66 feet. Seriously, don't expect that of me. Everyday Math? You win, OK? I don't do math like this every day.

Additional evidence to the contrary? I just sat here another five minutes debating whether it's 'Everyday Math' or 'Every Day Math.' Also, after telling my son that math gives girls headaches, I rubbed my eyes really hard, hard enough that you see geometric shapes, then cheered, "Ooooh! I see stars! And octagons! Wait - octagons have eight sides, right? Right?"

I think I owe my oldest an apology. My words sound awesome, but probably more so as dialogue in some testosterone-fueled action movie, where someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger would pronounce it as 'stooo-peed' and I would laugh, than spewing out of me long after any point I was trying to make was lost on the recipient (which is sort of like what's happening with this post...).

In an attempt to feel...what's the word? Unstupid? In an attempt to feel unstupid, I decided I'd toss one final zinger at my son to conclude our moral lesson.

"It would behoove you to heed my words," I said. Because I often like to speak (or should I say 'expatiate') as though I'm staging a forgotten play by Shakespeare to those among me who have no idea what 'behooves' even means. This explains a great deal now that I think about how many times I've used the word 'conundrum' while trying to get my husband to understand we have problems.

Anyway, you know who's not stupid? People who use words like 'behoove' and 'expatiate' (and sometimes 'conundrum'). Want to know how I came up with a word like 'expatiate'? I had to look it up in a thesaurus...aaaaaaaand I spelled 'thesaurus' wrong - twice - while Googling it in an attempt to bring one up online to come up with another word for 'speak.' )

OK, three times. What was that I was saying?

"I'm not stupid. I'm not stupid now, I've never been stupid, and I don't plan on getting stupid."


(I think I'd have made my point more succinctly (see also: 'in brief') had this post actually been a PowerPoint. Did you ever know that you're my hero? My heart will go on...)

(p.s. - there are four rods in 66 feet)(but I only know this after once again turning to outside help to be sure I was right about how many inches are in a foot...)(hooray, I was!)



Blogger NeuroticLover said...

You're amazing. Plain and simple. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that the foot is measured off of the statue of Charlemagne in Paris? Like, a foot is a foot, but only if we accept the sculptor got Charlemagne to sit still that long.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 1:12:00 AM  
Blogger The Savage said...

Nah... you're not stupid. You, like me, are just uninformed when it comes to mathematics.
It is the conundrum of the literary brainiac (Though it would behoove my spell-check to allow such a word as brainiac)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 5:02:00 AM  
Blogger unmitigated me said...

Actual line from a 70s SNL skit: It'll behoove ya to care for your uvula!

I taught Everyday Math. If you are ever freaked out about it with no help in sight, go on line. There are dozens of homework help lines run by libraries. Or, Skype me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 6:06:00 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

Eschew obfuscation, I always say. . .

But I always have to smile (wryly and ironically, to be sure) at some of the stuff our kids try to pass off on us. Like we were never their age, and never tried to pass off a load of crap on OUR parents. . .

I've used the line many times with my kids - "Are you stupid, or do you think I'M stupid?" with the implied message (as you so capably put it) that I'M not the stupid one here. . . But yeah, until conclusively demonstrated otherwise, they really DO think we're stupid. . .

Which makes me wonder how many times they've handed us a load of crap and we didn't catch it. . .


Wednesday, April 20, 2011 8:36:00 AM  
Blogger WILLIAM said...

Not being stupid is Bad ass. Mixing it with Bette Midler not so bad ass.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

We deal with the Everyday Math series here too....what do they thing we are, Merry Old England?? A rod? And what happened to the 'Everyone will be using metric' mantra we heard in school?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

At least we're not using furlongs and fortnights. . .

I'm not sure about now, but when I was in college, the guys in the surveying class still used rods sometimes - something about how rods related to acres, or something like that. . .

But where I work, in the auto industry, we've been metric since the day I hired in. And it's always fun to drive in Canada, with those 'Speed Limit 120' signs on the freeways. . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Legallyblondemel said...

That's it! That's what's been missing from my own overly emotional, overly long lectures - Power Point! I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me before...

Sorry about the tears, by the way. I am not looking forward to my inevitable own when it comes time to impart how un-stupid ("erudite", perhaps?) I believe myself to be.

(I loved this, by the way. I've sorely missed your writing.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it never occur to our kids that we were one their age and tried pretty much everything they're trying??

I feel compelled to ask - "How many inches in a rod?"

I'd be surprised if there's a gal out there who has ever heard a number less than 6 as an answer to that one.

my verify word - comental. Is that to be taken co-mental or coment-al??

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

I knew you'd make me smile on this bleak day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Bethany said...

I hear you!! What would we ever do without our friend google, when "helping" our kids with math. PS I like powerpoint and it would behoove you to expatiate about your daily trials more often.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 11:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha love this!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Bex said...

Interesting... I thought behoove and conundrum - along with discombobulated and picayune were words of the turn of the century. Clearly, I have a lot to learn about the subject - as it stands. Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 2:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Love this post. Keeping it real, girl. We're all still just faking it, aren't we?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:01:00 PM  
Blogger Sailor said...

Powerpoint! I knew I was leaving something out!
Always good to have an educational post from you; and yes, they think we're stoopid, we all know our parents didn't get smart until we got to be about 22, then they wised up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger justmakingourway said...

Look, my second grader started fractions this year and it's already NOT pretty, okay? Don't talk to me about rods. *tee-hee*

My ONLY saving grace is that my sister is a math teacher. Helloooo, free tutoring!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may be as dumb as a box of rocks, but my word are you ever funny. It's funner reading your blog than any other blog.

Please note, it's making my skin crawl to leave the faux word funner in that sentence, but I'm making a funny.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous FTN said...

Heh. Rod.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger SciFi Dad said...

Erm, I have an engineering degree and I didn't know a rod was a unit of measurement.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Kate Coveny Hood said...

I fear the day when my children realize how "not super smart" I am... And it will definitely start with math. And now I will have that Frank Sinatra duet in my head all day!

Friday, April 22, 2011 3:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. C said...

Love this! Have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 23, 2011 8:42:00 PM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

What the hell is a rod? Every day Math is corrupt and wrong. Change the program NOW!

Sunday, April 24, 2011 8:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

Rod is my dad.

And the best word in the world is superfluous.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011 6:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wait until the day when they no longer feel the need to lie because, oh, they're old enough they can do junk you would disapprove of but are 'adult' and you have no say ....

.... not that I've experienced that, but both our brats are at that stage where they can chuckle and walk away when the powerpoint pops up. Or the flash cards .... whatever, different generation I spoze.

Fortunately for us, double-punishment for lying worked wonders and we had few opportunities to break out the flash cards ... but that was then.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger lime said...

by virtue of my familiarity with conundrums and behoovals i declare myself 2/3 not stupid. however, it's unlikely it will convince my kids.

Thursday, April 28, 2011 7:26:00 PM  
Blogger MsBeHaven said...

Great blog! :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011 9:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Bejewell said...

Math is bullshit.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger the weirdgirl said...

OK, my husband is a CPA and I can guarantee he will not know what a rod is. Besides the obvious. And he'll take it as a sign that I want to canoodle.

Canoodle is slang from the 1850s. Solidarity, sister!

Monday, May 02, 2011 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mary Anne said...

Here's my brilliant line, "I am a great many things, stupid was never one of them". Yeah, hasn't worked for me yet and I fully expect them to show up on Mother's Day Morning wearing "I'm With Stupid" t-shirts in my honor. Pfft.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011 7:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Martin said...

I wish i knew what's the connection of rod in mathematics...Nah! you're not stupid. your one of a kind! be proud of it!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011 5:44:00 AM  

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