Truly Duh! Moments in Personal History - Or how to live with Blondes & Men
Is there truth to the old joke that while blondes have more fun, they are dumber than a door knob? Can one measure intelligence, simply by hair color?
Fortunately for you, my friends (will we ever escape those two words?) yours truly was born into a veritable wealth of insight on this theory.
It wasn't easy being born the only brown-eyed, brunette in a litter of Aryan beauty. After gifting my father with two such samples of genetic perfection...a little girl and a little boy, my mother prayed for a child that was different. Obviously she did not understand the unlikelihood of two blue-eyed, blonde adults producing such an offspring...but still, and I don't mean to question my mother's marital fidelity...there I was. After that, she went back to her old ways and produced two more children similar in coloring to the first. I guess one of me was enough.
Growing up, I sensed that I was different. Seeking to comfort me, my older sister assured me that my brown eyes were perfectly fine...in fact, they were a lot like Penny's, weren't they? The fact that Penny was the family dog didn't seem to matter. I had been compared to the bug-eyed, wet-nosed family Chihuahua...and the damage was done.
In school, my sisters joined majorettes, cheerleading and were the very definition of popularity. On the other hand, I was a national honor society student and in my free time I engaged in the debate club, the chess club and oh yes, the dreaded math club.
Why...oh, why...did my mother have to make that wish? I wanted blue eyes...I wanted blonde hair. I didn't want to be "the smart one."
However...as I get older, I realize looking back that there were some very, very good moments. Moments when being brunette...and female...had its advantages...
Example #1 - The “You Were Adopted…Didn’t Anyone Tell You?” caper of 1973 –
Nobody but a brunette could have thought this one up...and I'm proud to say at the tender age of 10 years old, I was the sibling that thought of it...and then coerced my older brother and sister to go along with it.
My mother kept this hope chest and occasionally she would open it up and all of us would gather around to see what treasures she would bring out. She kept family pictures, birth records, her wedding gown...all sorts of goodies in here. One day, I stole into it and swiped every record that existed of my younger sister's birth and hid them. I then persuaded my older siblings, who were always available for a good practical joke, that it would be great fun to convince our younger sister that she had been adopted.
It didn't take long to have her tearfully believing that she had been deceived her entire life. When she approached our mother, she was met with the expected "of course you weren't adopted, silly!" response. She then took my sister's hand and led her to the hope chest to show her the proof. The rest of us followed. As my mother pawed through the contents saying things like "I know it's in here somewhere...I'm sure I'll find it in a second...would you quit that god-awful wailing!...you are NOT adopted" the three of us threw sympathetic "told ya so" looks at our younger sibling. Eventually I would return the documents and it only required a little bit of therapy to restore my sister's sense of belonging...
If you are an only child, consider yourself fortunate. You may have yearned for a big family...a loving bunch of brothers and sisters...but in reality, a large family is purely a test of survival skills. The good thing about having a big family is that a child grows up with their own army. Outsiders were strongly discouraged from messing with any member...that pleasure was reserved for family only!
The following example is the last prank I ever played on a sibling. It was too cruel...and it made me feel just plain mean. I include it simply as an illustration...
Example #2 – The Great Disappearance of 1975
I had convinced the wide-eyed child that of course there were things like magic...why...I even had the power to make her disappear! My youngest sibling, pushed her blonde curls out of her face and looked up at me with her big, blue, guileless eyes. "You can?" she said in an awed whisper.
"Sure! Watch...I'll make you disappear...ready?"
She nodded, sitting Indian style in front of me.
I waved my arms and said a few magical words like Abracadabra, Shazam...words I recalled from all those Saturday morning cartoons we had watched together.
"Toni? Oh wow...Toni? I did it...where are you...Toni, can you see me still?"
I looked past her...through her. She was so excited, bouncing up and down...she was disappeared.
The excitement however lasted about two minutes as she realized that perhaps this was not so good. I couldn't even HEAR her.
"Laurie? Laurie..I'm right here! Laurie...I can see you...can't you see me...can you hear me?"
In a flash, the tears began to well up in her eyes and slowly slide down her cheeks. "Laurie?" she said in a heart-broken voice...
"Toni? Don't go anywhere...just stay wherever you are...I'm going to try and bring you back okay?"
No matter what, I truly loved this little moppet. Seeing her in tears was breaking my own heart and of all my siblings, I cared about her the most.
I waved my hands quickly in the air, mumbled the words again and looked directly at her.
"Toni! You are back!! Thank GOD!"
She flew into my arms and latched onto me as if I was her sole salvation. I could feel the tears from her cheeks as her small arms wrapped around my neck...
"Laurie! Oh, Laurie! I was disappeared...you couldn't see me! I missed you so much!"
I cried too...and I felt like the biggest monster alive. I swore then that I would never, ever do something like that again. And to this day...I haven't.
While I occasionally missed exploiting the gullibility of my fair-haired siblings, I realized that they were actually a natural source of amusement. One only had to sit back and wait. Eventually, they just couldn't help themselves...
Example 3 – The Microwave Is Magic
I loved storms...especially the ones that closed down schools or left us without power. In the winter, we would retreat to the basement, fire up the wood stove, light candles and enjoy a campfire dinner of hot dogs and jiffy pop. In warmer weather, we would open the inner front door and watch the storm as it blew trees around and lit up the skies through the storm door on the outside. It was like television...but it only had one offering...the nature channel. On the plus side, it also wasn't interrupted by commercials.
We all knew the drill. If there was enough daylight to see by, we played cards or read books. My mother would get angry if we thoughtlessly opened the refrigerator. Who knew how long the power would be out...no sense wasting what cold air was in there.
On this particular afternoon, as the skirts of Hurricane Gloria swished angrily through our community, Toni and I were sitting at the kitchen table playing cribbage. The power had been out for a while, but it wasn't dark enough to have to light candles yet. We both lifted an eyebrow when Ronda, the sibling between us in age, came sweeping in, opening the freezer door. Ooooh...Mom wasn't going to like that. Our jaws dropped however when our obviously lunch-minded sister pulled out a frozen entree.
Toni kicked me under the table...wasn't I going to say something?
Understand, I had pretty much taken Toni under my brunette wing...sort of as my good deed for the whole disappearing incident ten years earlier. Under my tutelage, it was a very rare occurrence that Toni would ever open her mouth and have chunks of stupid fall out.
I glared at Toni before turning to Ronda and the frozen pot pie our sister was currently unboxing.
"Ummm, what are you doing there Ronda?" I asked innocently.
"I'm having lunch, idiot...what does it look like!" she said as if I were the mentally deficient one.
Toni sniggered softly and covered it with her fist. This would be interesting to watch because our entire house ran on electricity. EVERYTHING! While I knew the eventual outcome of this particular scenario, I contemplated exactly how long I could prolong its pleasure. This one just simply could not be rushed...
"Mmm..." I said sagely, biting the inside of my cheek so I wouldn't start laughing...
"Oh! I suppose you think I'm stupid right? I KNOW the electricity is out," she explained.
I simply nodded...encouraging her to continue this train of thought.
Toni, however, could bear no more...
"So...how are you going to cook it?" she asked in blonde-speak. She was good like that...able to go from 135 to 75 IQ in seconds flat. Toni was sort of bi-lingual...speaking both blonde and brunette with ease. This is why, years later, she would be known as the family's version of Switzerland.
Ronda snorted in disdain. "Duh! I'm going to microwave it!"
Frighteningly enough, this young woman would later in life become a nurse...an obstetrical nurse. Comforting thought, huh?
Ronda came up with many goodies...and this one is another one of my all-time personal favorites...
Example #4 – The Trouble With Daylight Savings Time
Ronda worked a lot of night shifts in the early days of her nursing career. As luck would have it, she was stuck working weekend nights during the arrival of daylight savings time. When asked if she had remembered to set her watch back an hour...she responded thusly...
"No...I think it's only considered a holiday for the day shift."
The whole issue of complex ideas like...well, Time for instance...often eluded my siblings. It was really a good thing that they had me to explain things to them...
Example #5 – Australia
Truly I wanted to beat my head against the wall as I attempted to explain the concept of seasonal, date and time differences between our country and that of Australia...for the third time.
Michele: So let me get this straight...our today is their tomorrow? It's Saturday...here...but Sunday there?
Laurie: Yes...very good!
Michele: And when it's summer here...it's the opposite there...fall...no wait, give me a second I can get this...winter?...is it winter?...there.
Laurie: Yep...I think you have it this time. Our summer...their winter. Very good!
Michele: So when it's say...July here...it's actually December there. Do they have different calendars then? I've never seen one...they must look really funny. It would start in July! How silly...do you think you could get your friend to send one to me?
I slapped my forehead and then covered my eyes while I shook my head...
Laurie: No, no....let's start at the beginning again okay?
Years later, when no longer living amongst the loving bosom of my family, I despaired that perhaps I had lost my own personal comedy central. I worried that perhaps out there in the cold cruel world; they would not be able to find a brunette to guide them properly through life.
To my immense relief, I discovered that one did not need to have a blonde around to have fun. It only required the presence of the male gender...
Ex#6 – Explaining Combustion
I was actually touched that my fiancé wanted to make dinner for me. What woman doesn't admire a handsome man wearing an apron moving about the kitchen? That it was hot dogs with french fries and not exotic cuisine didn't matter. He was cooking for me....sigh, how romantic.
It was probably therefore a bit insulting that every few minutes I was compelled to stick my head into the kitchen to make sure that things were okay. Call it female intuition, the instinct that my kitchen was in grave peril, but while Danny could do a lot of things...handling those complex little machines like blenders, toasters...the stove...seemed like asking for trouble. Everything looked okay. The griddle was on the stove, the hot dogs sizzling...the little fry baby plugged in, heating up and waiting for french fries to be dropped in. I ducked back out....and popped back up like the kitchen gopher about ten minutes later. Hot dogs still sizzling...close to being done just right...fry daddy plugged in heating up...hmmm...it was heating up ten minutes ago...
"When are you going to put the french fries in?"
"Well it is strange isn't it? It doesn't take this long when you do it. How long does it take before it starts to boil?"
I pulled that plug from the wall faster than you could say the word "kaboom"...
One ex-boyfriend did not fare as well...
Ex#7 – Deep Frying Turkeys
What could be better than roasted turkey fresh from the oven? Why a deep fried one of course, according to some. But...if that's really good...what if you could have both? A deep fried fresh from the oven turkey...mmm...mmm.
At least this was Jeff's reasoning the year he invited me over for a fresh cooked turkey dinner. I had no idea he was this domestic. What a turn-on! A rugged man from North Dakota who could cook.
Of course, I had no idea what method of cooking Jeff was employing...or it wouldn't have surprised me to discover, upon my arrival for dinner, that he'd also invited about twenty fire fighters and a couple of police officers. Evidently word of his culinary skills had travelled, because half the neighborhood seemed to be clamoring for leftovers...gathered around the property as they were.
Eventually, I discovered the truth. Jeff's turkey time bomb had exploded inside his oven, taking a good chunk of his kitchen with it. Luckily, he was nowhere near it at the time and the noise of it sent neighbors scurrying to their phones, madly dialing 911 to report terrorist activity in their neighborhood. The police and fire squads were on hand in minutes and managed to not only save the greater portion of Jeff's house...but also about a third of his kitchen.
He never offered to make dinner for me again.
Yes, Jeff was also a blonde...it was a given that eventually something like this would happen when you add in that damned Y chromosome.
So when I think about that whole business about blondes having more fun...and being mentally inferior to the brunette, I have to pause. I can see why it would appear to be true...especially the having more fun part since it didn't seem to require much to amuse them. But intelligence-wise, they are no more "dumb" than your average male.
My only advice would be to keep a brunette close at hand, preferably of the female persuasion, to assist with the complexities of day to day life. If occasionally they decide to have a little fun of their own at your expense...just smile and hand them the therapy bill.
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