Friday, May 19, 2006

Technicality Torments

My husband is one of these people who cannot proceed with a conversation if one little detail doesn't sound accurate. It snags him like a blackberry vine on a knit skirt, and won't let go until this is thoroughly examined and picked apart, and by that time you've forgotten that you actually came out here to pick blackberries, so to speak.

Last night I was relating something that a woman I know had told me, about her son who six years ago at age 24 did something I thought was rather remarkable but won't elaborate on here. And Paul interjected: "What? 'Jess' is 30 already? Come on. Ok, let's see, he's just older than 'Bill,' and 'Bill' is just older than Byran. Well, maybe, but I still don't think..."

We ended up pulling out an old church directory and checking dates. It turned out 'Jess' is 29 but turns 30 this year.

Then Paul was ready for the rest of the story but I had little interest in telling it any more.

He has passed this trait to his children. Recently I was talking to a woman who with her husband co-pastors a church in Springfield. She told me how, the first time she baptized someone, she was told she had to wear these big chest waders. They were made for a big man, and she is 5-feet-3, so when she stepped into the water, she started floating. Someone had to stay outside the baptistry and hang onto her wader straps to stabilize her.

I found this amusing and told it to my family. I was met with a chorus of skepticism.
"She floated?? Oh come on."
"Wouldn't she have known she'd float as soon as she stepped in?"
"Well, maybe she stepped in one leg at a time, and if you just put one leg in the water you wouldn't float yet."
"There were probably steps to get in and the deeper she went the more floaty she was."
"But still, I can't imagine she actually floated!"

I said, "That wasn't the point. So maybe she was just unsteady on her feet and she called it floating. I just wanted to share an amusing anecdote with my family that I love so much and want to communicate with, and it all blows up in my face."

Somebody come give us some marriage/family counselling.

P.S. I just realized there is actually one advantage to my family and this trait of theirs, exasperating as it is. Remember recently there was a big brouhaha about this guy who wrote his memoirs and it turned out a lot of it was presented as fact but was actually embellished or fabricated? Well. No such fears with my book. With this crew looking over my shoulder, I'd better get the details right or I'll hear about it mercilessly. In fact, when I first wrote the column about the grass-seed harvest, Paul and I locked horns over one phrase. I wrote that when the cleaner is running, the warehouse "shakes and rumbles." He said, "No, it does not. It vibrates and hums." Finally, we compromised. If you look on page 43, you will see that it now vibrates and rumbles.


  1. Somebody comment so Mom doesn't have to keep trying so desperately to get comments. :):):)


  2. Okay, I'll comment. :)

  3. As you wish, Amy.

  4. I have a brother-in-law and husband who do the same thing. But I get the most grief for not following a thought to its logical conclusion. My son, who is five, takes after his father. At the age of 4 he we were discussing where Jesus lives, I tried to explain that He lives in heaven and He can live in your heart. After thinking for a moment, he followed this statement to its most logical conclusion...Then is heaven in my heart? I have two more sons on the way. I don't know what I'll do if they demand such precision in speech.

  5. My late writing professor had the same problem with his family. His answer was that he was in pursuit of the "greater truth." :) I'm a fellow-MD'er by way of introduction. I haven't read your book yet, but your blog is highly entertaining!

  6. :)Surely you would know that I can sympathize!!!???

  7. Look, Dorcas...You can call me collect. I'll stick up for you.