Monday, July 25, 2005

Strawberry Schubert

I don't know why I was reminded of this, but I'm going to share a childhood memory with you. It's one of those memories that explains a little bit about why I am the way I am. (Thank you, Popeye.) (Shuup, Loopy.)

I have no idea how old I was, so I'm going to say that I was 8. Just because. It was either Thanksgiving or Christmas. (Wait, some clarity does occur in this recollection. Just wait for it.) The usual holiday pattern was to first go to one grandparents' house for the meal or whatever, and then scoot over to the other grandparents' house for a while. This particular holiday, though, both sets of grandparents were in the same house. The memory is of the moment that my father's parents came into my mother's parents' house. My father's father (Grandpa M) was, for whatever reason, obscured from the view of my mother's father (Grandpa J). When Grandpa J finally saw Grandpa M, he remarked: "Well, I didn't see you there! What are ya, hidin'?" Without missing a beat, Grandpa M responded: "No, I'm Handel."

If you laughed at that, I'm shocked and a little scared for you. For those who don't understand the joke, Haydn was a composer, as was Handel. My grandfather was also a composer as well as a piano teacher. But that's not the point. The point is that he heard something, thought of a funny response, knew damn well that the listener wasn't going to get it, but said it anyway. I got it, though. (Don't ask me how. I guess when half of your grandparents are piano teachers, you pick up on the names of composers.) It's that kind of wit that's in my brain now. I can't even begin to tell you how many people I've met over the years must think I'm an idiot, because I take long pauses to respond to anything they say. It's not because I'm slow. It's because I have to get all (or at least most of) the jokes and ridiculously outlandish comparative analogies out of the way before I can respond. Unless, of course, I know the listener does what I do. Then it's anything goes. (And other Cole Porter songs.) Think I'm kidding? Just ask my poor wife. She said something yesterday that, in my mind, sparked the words and music from that disco classic "Love Machine" by The Miracles. No, I don't know why. No, I can't get it to stop. Yes, that's why I'm a huge fan of MST3K. Yes, that's why most people could never understand Jerf and I when we were having a conversation.

My point? Um... my brain is funny. Or something.

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