Forsoothsayer in print

Posted on December 5, 2005


No, my book deal hasn’t come through yet.
All I’m doing these days is studying, but I haven’t reached that point of delerium seen last April when I posted about really unfunny shit I did with my study group/friends that appeared hilarious under the influence of 18,495 cups of coffee. You guys should thank God I was not moved to reproduce the list of food puns we made on my Edible Friend P’s name. Anyway, this being the case, I am devoid of material and will publish for your edification an editorial I wrote for the school paper which I abused my power to print. Enjoy.

I spent most of my summer in so exciting and leisurely a fashion that I am reluctant to describe it here lest bands of resentful, over exhausted third years attack me with photocopies that they spent all summer making. While I lay on beaches waited on by adoring swains and ignoring the need for “advancing my career”, or anything beneficial like that.
Instead, I will address a topic most of us have gotten a chance to refresh our memories about over the summer: how weird our parents are. When you’re away from them you think fond thoughts about how nice they are, or at least that they’re all right, considering. Then you go home. Jerry Seinfeld was, as always, perfectly right about parents – you need a 1200 mile buffer zone. Or in my case, one ocean, a sea and 1.5 continents.
Middle Eastern culture is not one that deals kindly with individualism of any sort. This being the case, I’ve been wondering why someone hasn’t addressed my parents’ eccentricities and nipped them in the bud before they came to attention of my sister and I. Perhaps this article will aid the proper authorities.
To begin with, the less weird one – my dad. Pack rat does not describe this man’s activities. When my sister and I were growing up, not once did we actually have to purchase a pen/ruler/protractor/scientific calculator/dead body. These treasures, and more, were to be found precisely stacked in my dad’s cupboards. I can say, “Do you have a philips screwdriver that also converts into a magnifying glass?” and a whole box of these will be produced. He just loves to collect things, particularly things that have a connection, however remote, to engineering. I returned home this vacation to find that my closet, my sister’s closet, my mom’s closet and my dad’s closet were all filled with my dad’s clothes. He has even purchased other containers placed oddly around the place for further storage. Now and then he makes vague references to giving stuff away, but so far he is only up to things from the 1960’s. That he brought with him from Egypt to get a head start on the storing.
His latest craze is eyeglass cases. I opened a drawer not long ago and found no less than twenty seven cases. Because all of us wear glasses, I suppose they pile up over the years, but that’s an insane number. I bought a new pair of glasses over the summer and my dad managed to extract from the guy an extra case (apart from mine) that he spirited away to add to his collection. My mom went there to buy a pair of her own and the proprietor asked her how she liked the particularly large case that my dad had apparently requested “for my wife”. She had to feign knowledge and satisfaction. He admits he has a problem. It’s not like we need to protect our glasses because we’re a family of white water rafters or hang gliders. They mainly stay on our heads or bedside tables.
My dad’s most amusing peculiarity lies in his complete inability to place his bare feet on the floor. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s carpeted, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. When he takes off his shoes and socks he instantly puts on flip-flops, holding his feet aloft if they’re not right close by. My sister and I often run off with them, leaving him to yell from afar because he can’t come after us – his feet would touch the floor.
My mother is another matter altogether. While my father’s peculiarities are known only to his family, I have often caught my mom’s acquaintances staring at her quizzically and a little fearfully. One of her most annoying quirks is that she asks that all of us ring the doorbell even if using our own key to enter the house, because she says she needs some warning. I have flatly refused to do this on the grounds that the reason I have a key is because I in fact live there and that she should just get used to the fact that keys are traditionally used to let people into their own houses. My dad has given in and now rings the doorbell before unlocking the door. I have recently realized that, in some baffling attempt to accustom the doorbell or something, she rings it even if she knows no one is home. I don’t know whether it’s time to call in professionals or what.
My mom has a thoroughly erratic way of setting the table. She will take out a random array of plates of different sizes and some cutlery and just put them there all spread out. If you use one she will replace it with something else. Usually I go back and put away around 5 plates and the weirder utensils. It’s a system we have now. I used to ask at first “How many people do you think are eating?” and “Do you even know what this utensil does?” but a decade later I have given up. Recently I tried to return a teaspoon that was laying all alone in the middle of the table seemingly unattached to any meal but apparently my mom left it out there on purpose to remember to take it to work with her because there was a tiny speck on it which she said was an example of corrosion pitting (she is a metallurgical engineer). I accepted this and left it out.
When I told my mother I was writing this article, she suggested that it would be a fitter tribute to her to publish, in installments, her novella. This improving tome is titled “I Will Not Die Before My Time” and seems to feature some sort of revelation from God received while at sea in a vividly described storm. This from a woman whose entire experience with water vehicles has been of the paper boat variety. I politely declined, since I am not in fact the media mogul she thinks me. Plus, it sucks.
My parents kept it interesting at least. My roommate here is startlingly normal and so far hasn’t done anything remotely newsworthy.

Posted in: law school