Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Cross and Other Things

This week's Writer's Challenge from Mama Kat offers these finger tickling topics:

1.) Summer’s recent post “I’m Sensitive And I Want To Stay That Way” talks about how her sensitivity works for her and against her, but that she embraces herself for the way she is. What is your cross to bear?
(inspired by Summer from Le Musings Of Moi)

2.) What is one of your life mottos?
(inspired by Marcy from The Glamorous Life Association)

3.) How do you deal manage the “death” talk with your kids?
(inspired by Ashley from Ashley’s Closet)

4.) Describe a funny or favorite gift that you’ve gotten or have given.
(inspired by Kat from I Play It By Year)

5.) Is your husband a gamer? Does your child have an obsession with dogs? (ahem) Does your friend talk constantly of her undying love for Edward? Write a poem to the item your loved one is obsessing over.

So off we go to the writing races.

#1 - My cross is that I cannot stand to not know and understand. I am driven to know how things work and why. I read and study voraciously - especially science and math. Thus far you are probably shrugging your shoulders and asking how in the heck that is a cross to bear. Well, the bearing comes from the fact that when you have ingested so much knowledge, you cannot help but answer questions.

When someone rhetorically asks "Why is the sky blue?" you cannot help but answer Raleigh scattering. Which then often leads to the exclamation "I can't believe you knew that!" But after about the ten thousandth time you take all the fun out of it by answering the question, people are apt to either groan or to stop believing. And then when you prove it to them, it becomes even more intolerable.

But I have learned to live with this cross. Anymore if I give someone the answer and they refuse to believe, I just tell them to look it up. It is enough for me to know. And I can also use my skills for other things, like this:

This is our Trivia Bowl Team holding the trophy after winning the annual contest for the third or forth straight time earlier this year.

Actually, I introduced the picture primarily to introduce some of my fellow afflictees. From left to right, we have:
1) A lawyer, CPA, and high school classmate from 37+ years ago
2) A high school teacher who taught one of the Son's AP courses
3) Me in all my wondrous glory
4) Another person of many arcane knowledge facets
5) A financial advisor, CPA, and high school classmate from 37+ years ago
6 A surgeon and fellow animal lover
We have been the champions 5 out of the last 6 years. (One year we had too many subs and came in second by *one* question.) This is one way to turn a cross into an asset.

#2 - My life mottos are simple:
"Be the best you can be."
"If it is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly."

#3 - We never really had a "death" talk with the Son. It was more the passage through experiences with death as he lost both of his grandfathers. In both cases there was a period of increasing debility from cancer in one case and Alzheimer's in the other. When my dad died, my mom had a very good idea and took all the grandkids aside and had them chose things to be buried in the coffin with their grandfather. Thus dad had the things the grandkids deemed important to him and their relationship with him placed in the coffin with him. Things like fishing gear and ... It seemed to help them accept the finality of his death and make them feel like they had a chance to say their good-byes and participate in the send-off. I think it was very effective for all of the grandkids no matter what their age.

#4 - One of the funniest and more memorable Christmas gifts came from a beloved aunt when I was in college. This particular aunt had a wicked sense of humor and great ability in handcrafts. So that year she hand knitted warmers for "that certain part of the male anatomy" and the associated hangy bits in correct anatomical form and interesting colorations. She then stuffed them with paper so they held their shape and wrapped them up for all the males in the adult gift exchange. The looks on everyone's face as people pulled their gift from the wrapping and realized what it was made it all worthwhile. I always figured it was fitting. And boy did I have stories to tell when I got back to college after Christmas - especially when I could pull the real thing out of the dresser to silence the scofflaws. {*grin*}

#5 - It's getting late and I'm giving in to my obsession with the bed.


  1. Your trivia bowl record is amazing! Congratulations!! My dad was similar in that he always read a lot too to learn how things worked.

    I think you got that motto wrong: If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right!

    Visiting from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

  2. Wow, Look at you and your team! I am glad I read your post today for this reason alone: voraciously. I love that word! Great mottos to live by!

  3. My son would love you!! He has been taking apart things since he was 2! My future engineer I tell you (he is 12 now!). Love the post!!

  4. Your aunt! That would be a VERY memorable gift!

    My boys wrote letters to their grandmother and we put them in the casket. I didn't take my little ones to the open casket funeral, by the participated in the graveside service. I wanted them to remember her like the last time they saw her, not dead in a coffin.

  5. I would love to be on a Trivia Team.

    And the 'hangy bits'...I almost snorted Coke Zero out my nose on that one!

  6. Those are great mottos to have!

    Stopping in from Mamma Kat's!

  7. Stopping by from Mama Kat's…

    Perhaps I am more of a conceptual learner and never bothered with the details. Perhaps this is why I don't like Trivial Pursuit (I'm never good at trivia)

  8. Congratulations on winning...again! That's awesome! And I love the picture of all your smarty pants friends...boy you're a giant aren't you? How tall ARE you!?!

    And I really think you could have managed a poem about your bed. It's a fairly easy word to rhyme with you know. ;)

  9. I almost spit out my drink when I read about your aunt's gift. What a great gag gift!!

  10. Auntie's gift? Inspired!! We need more women like that in our lives. And, speaking of women, I couldn't help but notice that the trivia team looks like a bunch of Old Boys. Where's the Sacred Feminine?

  11. In answer to sometimessophia - she was at a family re-union quite a ways away. She is a retired librarian and playwright who last year played while her husband was in the hospital, at his insistence. He died later in the year; they had been married 40+ years. The high school teacher was her sub on this years team.

  12. I always justify my not knowing ANYTHING science or math-related with "Ignorance is bliss." But your trivia team looks really blissed out so I may be wrong! : )

  13. Dan,
    You sound like a fascinating guy to know. I'd love to sit down and have a chat with you. I know I'd learn a lot.

    People often ask me the same question ---how do you know that? I read a lot. Plus, I have a wide range of interests so I keep my eyes and ears open. I know a little about everything and a lot about some things. I do have gaps, though. When I watch Millionaire or Jeopardy, I am lost when it comes to popular music (even what was popular when I was young) and most TV questions. I'm also rather hopeless on sports. But then sometimes I'm lucky and just happen to know the answers in categories I never imagined I knew anything about. And what is nice, is that if I don't know something, my husband can usually fill in the gaps.

    Congrats on your win. What contest is that? I once participated in a national trivia contest sponsored by Mensa. Our team didn't fare so well.


You know you want to ... so just do it!!!

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