I’m sure I’ve used that title before.
Mister Bubby: That’s so retar—
Princess Zurg: You can’t say that word!
MB: I was going to say retired. That’s so retired. It’s like something Grandma would do.
Elvis has developed a friendship of sorts with a boy in his class who enjoys playing video games. Elvis has gone over to his house twice now for video game play dates. This is a record number of play dates for Elvis, just so you know. Elvis also enjoys video games, especially NCAA Football and Madden. He is used to the PlayStation system; his friend has Xbox and Wii, which Elvis is not so familiar with. His friend (who is also on the autism spectrum) is obsessed with video games and video game manuals, so he is very, very, very good at the games he plays—much better than Elvis because Elvis has not had nearly as much practice with these games (nor with the systems). So while Elvis likes going over to this friend’s house, he also gets frustrated after a while and wants to do something besides play video games. (Believe me, if he were winning, he could play video games all day.) The last time we were over there, Elvis asked, “Why does S only want to play video games?” And S said, “Because I’m a gamer!” Since then, Elvis has been calling himself a “gamer” and making pronouncements about what gamers do and do not do. “I want to use the PlayStation. Because I’m a gamer. Gamers don’t go to the grocery store. I don’t want to do anything this weekend. I’m a gamer.” “Gamers don’t do homework.” “Gamers don’t clean the room.” You get the idea. The good news is that he’s open to correction. This leads to pronouncements like, “Gamers do their homework. Yep. They do do their homework.” “Gamers go to school.” “Gamers take out the trash.” And sometimes he will ask me whether or not gamers do something. For example, this is the conversation we had the other day:
Elvis: Do gamers go to the bathroom?
Madhousewife: Everyone goes to the bathroom.
Mad: Because…everyone has to sometime.
Elvis: So they won’t be an android.
Perhaps it’s best not to explain my 10-year-old’s familiarity with this song.
Girlfriend’s birthday party is on Saturday. Three weeks ago I promised Sugar Daddy I would “thin” the amount of toys stored in the family room so that they’d all fit in the wardrobe we bought for that purpose—the idea being that if all the toys were out of sight, all the kids we’re inviting to the house will not start playing with all the toys we own. That’s a reasonably good theory, I think. I mean, why not? I’ve been meaning to pare down our toy collection for quite some time. It’s just such a daunting task. Girlfriend is really the only kid we have left who is young enough to play with toys, but not only does she play with toys, but she has friends over and they play with toys, and we host our church choir practice at our house most Sundays and the children of choir members are welcome to come play with our toys, and I keep worrying that I’m going to get rid of some kid’s favorite toy. Isn’t that an absurd worry? You might think it’s just an excuse for not doing the work, and it is that, but it’s also a genuine neurosis. Why do you think I still have all these toys in my house? I’m lazy in general, but I’m intermittently not lazy; I am, however, consistently neurotic. I never stop being neurotic. That’s why this task is so difficult for me.
I have difficulty letting go of possessions. I hate my possessions—especially the ones that aren’t really mine—but I’m also inexplicably attached to them. I can’t…seem…to get…rid of any of them. I’m not talking hoarder-level mental illness, just a mild-to-moderate mental illness that makes me afraid to make decisions I or someone else might regret. You don’t need to give me advice about getting rid of stuff. I know all the advice; it’s good stuff. I mean to follow it someday. I just haven’t yet because cuckoo! cuckoo! cuckoo! You know how it is.
Anyway, I promised my husband I would do this because I knew it was a good idea, but I also knew I had at least a fortnight in which to accomplish it. (Unrelated aside: Why don’t people say “fortnight” anymore? Do the British still say it? I wouldn’t know because I don’t talk to many British people. Or Canadian people, for that matter. Canadians might say “fortnight,” and I would have no idea. The point is, Americans don’t say it. Most Americans don’t. Obviously, I do, because it’s an extremely useful word—as is “fortnightly,” which is even more rarely used.) I should not promise to do things when I have that much time to do them. It always seems like a lot of time, until the time is almost up, and then it’s not nearly enough time to do much of anything. Certainly not something as daunting as confronting my neurotic attachment to possessions that should not have any emotional significance for me.
Never suggest that I’m ambivalent about leaving behind the toys-toys-everywhere phase of parenthood. Don’t even joke about it. It’s not funny.
Mister Bubby: I don’t get the point of having a Facebook.
Mad: Well, you’re the one who wanted one.
MB: But what am I supposed to post? “I took a dump today”?
Mad: Preferably not.
PZ: The other day I had really bad diarrhea.
Mad: Thank you for sharing that.
MB: Once I had diarrhea and I pooped my pants in PE.
Mad: I really don’t need to know any of this.
I was looking through random files on my laptop and I found this blurb I wrote a couple years ago:
“Last night I dreamed that I was watching Brokeback Mountain. I’ve never seen Brokeback Mountain, so my subconscious just had to make it up as it went along. In case you were wondering, when it comes to filmmaking, my subconscious is an uneven talent. I understand that the real Brokeback Mountain had some scenes that made some viewers uncomfortable. My version didn’t have anything like that. There was a scene where the two cowboys drank beer and made Jiffy Pop”
And that’s where it leaves off. I vaguely remember that dream, now that I read about it. It’s a shame I was apparently interrupted during the course of documenting it. I know you all feel the loss as deeply as I do.