I was listening to a comedian the other day, and he was talking about his father. Basically, he noted that for the first several years of his life he thought his name was, “Oh Crap”. As in, “Oh Crap, did you make this mess?” or, “Oh Crap, why are you looking through that window?” and lastly, “Oh Crap, this beer is empty. Get me another one.” Well now I am the father and I only wish things were as easy as all that.
The fact is, my children have names, very good names actually. I only wish I knew what they were. This aggravates my wife to no end. While she was in the throes of labor and during the hospital stay for the two following days, she agonized over the names of her children. There were many factors to consider, like, “Will the future adult child like his name?” “Would the name have a horrible nickname?” “How will others treat someone of this name?” “Where might a name like this fit in college?”, and, “What will the ramifications of such a name be if they become president, a captain of industry, an NFL superstar, or an ice cream vendor at the stadium?” For my side of the conversation I said, “Bob is good.” She was not pleased with my input at all. So, we left the naming to her.
Either way, when my oldest popped out he was called the baby. My wife mentioned his named at some point, and I’m told it was written on a certificate somewhere. The thing is when everyone else called him, “The Baby”, so did I. It worked, and no one knew the extent of my shame.
Then my second son arrived. Again, was the tortured agony, and again my words were ignored. As there were now two babies. The first could no longer be referred to as just Baby, so I started referring to them as Thing 1 and Thing 2. I even bought them red shirts like the ones in the Dr. Seuss book. Everyone I knew just laughed and laughed. Therefore, as far as I was concerned, names were not necessary. This even continued after my princess was born. It just became Things 1&2 and The Girl. Life was sweet.
The problem is, they grew up. Apparently, school age children don’t like to be referred to as things, or by their gender, for that matter. Who could have guessed that? Anyway, I was educationally embarrassed. Everyone insisted I should have known their correct names by then, and I suppose I should have taken the time to learn. But like so many fathers before me, I always thought there would be more time. Not really, I figured if the right child came when I called, why worry about it? No need to change.
Well, I was told their names again and again, but as they say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Actually, that’s not true, the dog knows their names. It’s me that doesn’t. You see, somehow, their true names wouldn’t stick in my head. I ended up calling them by a series of mistakes instead of any real name like “Thing, no Bop, uh Jac, Shiel,” and no matter what the words (or partial words) were, the string always ended with a strong, “Oh Heck!!” it got so bad I started looking at their personalities instead. When I wanted one of them, I use their likely occupation as a moniker. You know like, “Hey, Artist, take out the trash!” or, “Engineer, I’ll give you five bucks to wash the car.” or “Princess, do you need help with your homework?” Of course, these were very hopeful titles indeed. The ones I would use today are quite different, but since they are now all taller, and stronger than I am, I won’t mention what they are. Let’s just move on.
As I implied, all three of my progenies are teenagers now, and I would love to tell you their actual names, but I still can’t. I am still, to this day, designationally challenged. At least how I refer to them has evolved. They are now, “You know who you are”, “Who, the heck, are you, anyway?” and “Woman”. Okay, so I have a mental block when it comes to my daughter. But at least I’ve progressed some.
I actually joked about this to my doctor at the last annual visit, and I learned something very interesting. And that is, “Never joke about anything to your doctor!” First, he asked how long this malady was going on. When I told him, since they were born, he frowned. It wasn’t a sad frown like he lost a quarter. It wasn’t a disappointed frown like his children bought beer and didn’t save him one. No, it was an “Oh My Goodness, I am talking to a dead man, and he won’t be able to pay my bill, and I’m not to be able to buy another alpaca” frown. Pretty amazing actually.
He sent me for testing. But before I could be tested, I had to be assessed. I wasn’t sure what he thought was wrong with me but I went along. I went to the assessment on-line. It was a series of two-hundred statements that wanted to know how I felt about them. I found out I like kittens better than killer sharks, but not as much as large spiders, books are more entertaining that hair styling, and I don’t like to be yelled at by the fifteen-year-old cashier at the market. But the most important thing I learned was; They sent me the wrong assessment, and they were sorry for the time I wasted.
Next came a block of mental tests, to check my attention and memory. These were administered by a rather endowed physician’s assistant with great legs. I don’t want to offend my female readers, but if you’re trying to test my focus on certain tasks, Miss America in a low-cut blouse can be an amazing distraction. I don’t know if I failed the tests but I have an interesting suggestion for my wife. Test me baby, oh yes, Test me. Well, enough about that.
Two weeks later, I went back to my doctor for the results. He informed me that all the results were normal. He also scheduled a scan of my brain and told me it showed nothing. “Nothing?” I asked? “Nothing at all,” he stated confidently. A minute later when he saw my concern and clarified, there was nothing out of the ordinary. A quick breath of relief and we continued. Seriously, I was getting ready to call the tabloids to sell them my story. Man Lives Full Life Without A Brain, Becomes Famous Blogger, details on page thirteen. I guess I really am relieved but that million dollars sure would have come in handy.
Anyway, the doctor wasn’t satisfied, so he handed me another assessment. As I was about to begin, he answered his phone. I heard him say. “Tell,,. um… Oh darn it… You know the kid, to pick up dinner tonight.”
I was shocked and quite amused. Well I put his name in the top of the paper, dropped it on his desk and left. I think a professional like him needs it more than I do.
I still had some time when I left the office, so I went to lunch with good friend of mine… you know Oh Crap