Harvesting The Sticks

Is there anything worse than being unable to turn on the TV without having to endure some story or sound bite featuring Kim Davis or Donald Trump? Of course there is! There are literally thousands of things that are worse than idiots yammering away on the magic picture box. But, as my fellow entitled American friends can attest, any awareness of situations taking place beyond our immediate vicinity or circumstance is typically minimized or ignored altogether when we’re consumed with the myriad of catastrophic minor annoyances we face on a regular basis.

Aside from the obvious … realizing too late that there’s no toilet paper, discovering the show you intended to binge on has been deleted from the DVR, giving another driver the “it’s okay to change lanes” gesture and not receiving the “you’re the best!” wave in return, and, of course, Tom Cruise … one of the things worse than Trump-Davis all day, every day, is coming down with writer’s block right when things are getting interesting.

I know that I’ve missed a number of opportunities to mock Davis’s hypocrisy and Trump’s … well, his everything, basically. The man is an ego-maniac, wrapped in narcissism and dipped in ridiculousness. And before anyone accuses me of racism, I want to make it very clear that I don’t have anything against Oompa Loompas – some of my best friends are orange! I don’t like the man for a number of reasons, but not one of them has anything to do with the color of his skin.

I started writing about some of the astoundingly backwards, clueless things that are part of Davis’s and Trump’s belief systems, and why I disagree with them and you should, too. But a few paragraphs in I could see that I was heading toward a political soap box, and thought it best to veer off that path and approach things from a different angle. Turning the tables on myself and examining some of my beliefs that others might consider ignorant or delusional sounded interesting until I remembered that everything I believe, think and stand-for is rational and correct, so I scrapped that idea, too.

But it occurred to me that I haven’t always been the pillar of logic and wisdom you know and love today. The truth is that I was actually a child during the first years of my life; and it was during that time that I held some decidedly strange ideas about the world around me. I know now that most of them aren’t true and feel I can safely share them without offending anyone or finding it necessary to walk a political tightrope.

We had various rodents, reptiles and amphibians as pets when I was growing up, but never dogs or cats. My mom claimed that she and my brothers were allergic to them. But since my brothers, as adults, have or have had pet dogs, it’s clear now that she was lying about their sensitivity to pet dander. Probably because it was easier than trying to come up with a believable reason that taking care of one dog or one cat would be more difficult than caring for the 30-plus rabbits that populated our backyard. So it’s likely the result of having limited access to canines and felines contributed to my belief that all dogs were boys and all cats were girls.


Even when I was pouting I was adorable!

It’s also possible my mom’s decision that I’d look adorable with a Pixie cut (and she wasn’t wrong), meant that for a number of years 100% of strangers recognized my cuteness, but only about half correctly identified me as a girl. So in my limited experience, gender was whatever you looked like on the outside at any given time. And to me, dogs looked and acted like goofy, loud, rough-housing boys, while cats were like the sophisticated, mature sister who was barely tolerating the boys and their antics.

It wasn’t just animals I painted with a broad brush, people were also subject to categorization based on outward appearance. For instance, it was my belief that all old people were grandparents. It didn’t matter whether or not someone had children, or if those children had children. The title I assigned was based on hair color/quantity, wrinkle concentration psi (per square inch) and the ratio of natural to man-made fabrics in their wardrobe. And if it was a close call, the intensity of the moth ball aroma emanating from their person was a reliable tie breaker.

Once of the stranger beliefs I had was that I couldn’t think. I don’t remember the conversation verbatim, but I know we were in our pale-yellow Plymouth Valiant on the way home from K-Mart when something prompted me to as what thinking was or how it was done. The answer I got involved seeing things in my brain with my mind’s eye, which made not even a little bit of sense to me. But that was the norm rather than the exception, because my parents took great delight in testing the gullibility and naivete of their children with a campaign of misinformation, exaggeration and lies.

For example, when heading south on Interstate 5 between LA and San Diego, motorists will pass by a sizable tomato farm near Port Hueneme (pronounced why-nee-me, for you non-Californians). I’m sure most go whizzing by without noticing or caring about produce that thrives on a mixture of ocean breezes and carbon monoxide fumes. For us, however, it was a big deal.

The thing is that when one is growing thousands and thousands of tomato plants, it’s necessary to provide an equal number of wooden stakes for the plants to climb. But if you’re a kid in my family, you have no clue that what you’re seeing is a tomato farm. Instead, you’ve been led to believe that you are gazing out over a very large and very productive stick farm. Maybe because it’s the only working stick farm we’d ever heard of, or because it was kind of amazing that acre over acre, they grew in such a uniform size and shape; but probably because when you grew up in the technological dark ages, sticks were a valid source of entertainment, but we were always excited to see if the crop looked ready to be harvested.

As good a memory as watching sticks grow is, I don’t recommend making a habit of telling lies to your children. Believe me, once they discover the deceit, they’ll use it against you as often as they can. Instead, if you’ve got nieces or nephews or any other little people in your life, lie to them, instead. It’s just as rewarding, but without all the potential for future repercussions. Seriously … I only needed about ten minutes to convince my niece that, before she was born, her dad had been a lumberjack and her mom was a helicopter pilot. But it took her parents quite a bit longer to get her to understand that it wasn’t true.

The only thing better than making a mess is leaving it for someone else to clean up!

One Comment

  1. Thank you for a very entertaining read – certainly brought back some memories of my equally deceitful parents! A common one was that if you pulled a face, and the wind blew, you’d stick like that – but my parents also invented loads of their own :). Mir xx



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