Saturday, July 25, 2009

Amy Chamberlain is perhaps one of the smartest women I know. And I happen to be lucky enough to call her my friend. Among other things, she is a gifted writer by God-given talent as well as formal training. She is so gifted, in fact, that even her every day emails are fit for the press, though she would beg to differ. She lives with her husband and son Christopher in Dubai but comes home during the summer for a couple of months where she and "C" stay with her parents. The following is printed from an email with her permission (emphasis added) and finds a welcome place among the other entries on the humorous and hair-pulling realities of parenting.

"Times Tables Make for Good Times"

Because Christopher doesn't do any chores here at Grandma and Grandpa's, and because his overall work ethic is questionable at best, I am forcing him to learn the times tables this summer (also I should mention that his school has neglected this job thus far). C has taken to this activity with the same gusto that he'd take to having his fingernails pulled out. Our five-minute daily sessions follow the same basic emotional arc, which I will share here for your enjoyment:

Stage I: Anger. "I'm NOT going to sit here and learn these stupid times tables and you can't MAKE me." Duration: 30 seconds.
Stage II: Bitterness. "This is the meanest thing you have ever done to me." Duration: 15 seconds.
Stage III: Fleeting, Weak Effort. "I guess I can do this...I think 3 times 4 is twelve. Or something." Duration: 5 seconds.
Stage IV: Tears. "(self-explanatory)" Duration: 2 minutes
Stage V: Reluctant Acceptance. "All right. Fine. Let's hurry and get this over with so I can play my PSP. Show me the next card." Duration:2 minutes and 10 seconds.

Christopher, not to put too fine point on it, my friend, but what your mom has outlined here looks a lot like the five stages of grief. Having passed though these myself many times in any area related to math, I can confidently say that you are welcome at my fire anytime. Given, of course, that it generates enough light by which you can operate your PSP.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"I'd like to thank my family and friends..."

One of my very favorite cousins got married last weekend so I drove to California with the boys to participate in the festivities. It turns out that the reception was held at the home of Keith Merrill who happens to be an LDS filmmaker. Most of you won't know this but I knew Brooks would so I called him to brag.

"You'll never guess whose house I'm pulling up to right now," I say feeling smug.

Showing off his superior person's knowledge of cinematic trivia, he replies, "Well, just make sure you get to see his Academy Award before you leave."

It's his nonchalant tone that gets me. He knows I have no connections to make such a personal request so I immediately put my Great Brain to the task of pulling it off. Within fifteen minutes I had found, photographed, and emailed the proof to him.

"Check your email," I say in triumph over the phone. His hearty laugh sounds in my ear a moment later.

Winkel:1 Briggs:0