Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Dork Origins Vol II

I think it's an established fact that being a dork is inherent. It's not something you learn, or become, it's something you are, no?

I observed something the other day that confirmed it for me: dorkism is genetic and, as such, there is very little hope for my children.

Mom and Dad took me and the kids out to Friendly's (The Viking stayed home, sick). Ice cream and pleasant chatter was enjoyed by all, we got to get out of the house, grandparents got to see their grandchildren, all was merry and bright.

As we were leaving, things took a weird turn. Friendly's has one of those wretched toy machines in the vestibule. You know, those ones that for only $2 provide you with the joy and amusement of using a joystick to steer a metal claw around a plexiglass cage to snatch a cheap, ugly, useless toy and drop it down a chute? I don't know what it is about them, but my children are powerless against their charms. Every time we're there, they beg for money for it and every time I say no and roll my eyes.

This time, my mother took pity on them. My Boy offered to pay her back out of his own birthday money and that was too much for her. She coughed up the $2 which Red Headed Snippet stuffed into the slot. That's when the magic began, beautifully executed in tandem by my mother and father.

Mom barked out the orders. The target was carefully selected. Mom manned the joystick. My Boy manned the "drop" button. Dad and Red Headed Snippet were placed strategically in order to pinpoint the exact location of the target, "No, a little more left...no toward you...no back..."

Mom practically quivered with anticipation as she gave the command to My Boy, "NOW!" He hit the drop button forcefully. They all watched, breathless as the claw hit the target dead-on and then, with a slight swish of metal, closed lamely on itself and slid over to the chute, empty.

A gasp settled over the team, but their spirits were undaunted. Again, working together like a well-oiled machine, they aimed at the target. Again the drop was made. Again the claw failed to snag the treasure.

After the fourth attempt, Mom turned to get the manager, "This toy is stuck. He wants this little brown dog and it's stuck." The manager looked at her sideways for a second then said, "I'm sorry, we don't own that machine. I don't even have the key," before turning back to her work of watching ice cream melt.

Peeved, but undeterred, Mom turned to Dad and gave the order, "Shake it loose." Dad, still a beefy guy despite his age and pasta gut, grabbed the machine in a bear hug and rocked it back and forth. I threw my arms over my eyes, anticipating flying sparks and shards of glass, but nothing happened, outside or inside the machine. Brown toy dog was unmoved. I had a vision of a bear shaking a hiker out of a porta-potty as Dad grabbed that machine again.

This time he rocked it so hard it banged against the wall, then the floor, then shimmied forward a few inches. It made quite a racket. I looked over my shoulder to see that all noise and activity in the entire restaurant had ceased. All eyes were on the nutjobs who were trying to break open the vending machine. And the manager looked pissed!

All I can figure is the manager ducked back into the kitchen with a throbbing vein in her forehead and hissed, "SOMEONE get those people out of here before I throw hot oil at them!" because a very nice and calm waitress came presently to assess the situation. Somehow she and I managed to persuade my rabid parents to allow My Boy to just pick another toy. He had been saying, "It's okay, I'll take the blue bunny instead," but they wouldn't hear of it. The bunny proved to be much more accessible than the dog and we finally slinked out of the Friendly's with what little dignity we could scrape off the sides of the toy machine.

It was with the first blast of cold air hitting my face outside that the previously mysterious origins of my dorkiness became obvious. Only a dork would mobilize an entire team with military precision in order to obtain a cheap stuffed toy for her grandson. Only a dork would pick up a vending machine to shake said toy out of it. It all became crystal clear at that moment and I was never more aware of who I am and where I come from.

So, thanks, Mom and Dad. You've made me what I am today.


Ash said...

I wish I could say it's hereditary, but neither of my parents are dorks, both are alcoholics but not dorks. my daughter is also not a dork. she refuses to put herself into situations where she might be laughed at.
I, alas, am the only dork, which is why when I do something dorkish, and my five year old daughter says "way to go, mom" in a sarcastic tone, I know I am alone in this world.

Help me.

Mert said...

ROFL! I love this story Pippa! perfectly written. I come from a long line of dorky (and crazy) people. John and i are both dorks, and though we tell Anna she is a dork too, she refuses to admit it. We explain to her that both of her parents are dorks... but no, she wont relent. Eeven when she makes her dorky bucked toothed bunny face and talks like Goofy.

I wish I had been there to cheer you guys on!

Factor 10 said...

Oh, pippa, those machines are EVIL.

Don't worry Ash, you have a spare! Her royal wombattyness may be pure dork (or it may just skip generations in your family)!

Ash said...

factor: sort of like a gene of dorkness? it's either in the DNA or not so much? I wonder if science can figure that out, because I will do everyhing in my power to make sure my grandchildren do not inherit a gene that allows them to walk around with a static cling sheet stuck to thier backs for an entire day.and yes, I went to the grocery store, the dr's office and to the dry cleaners. no one pulled it off or told me about it. not even my own kid.


Factor 10 said...

LOL, I once had a pair of undies come sliding out of my jeans--they had apparently been stuck to the inside of my pant leg. Imagine my horror, and my funny walk down the supermarket aisle, praying that the guy at the end would pick his freaking spice and LEAVE so I could get them before they fell all the way out. I kept having visions of the store's security thinking I was stealing something, and then I'd have to show them the undies, and then show them the pair I had ON, to prove ...well, you get the point.