The donkeys and chickens get up early. So did we. Beautiful morning. Here’s what it sounded like.
You would think visiting a place like this would be a great time for the dogs to run free. Not so much. Our dogs acted like they want to get frisky with the donkeys, and they acted awfully brave as they pulled at the leash. When I gave them enough slack to get closer, they looked back at me like: “Have you lost your mind?”
On this morning I am thankful for: hot coffee, a hotter fire, quiet kids, a happy wife, and problems that aren’t really problems at all. On this day of feasting and excess I will attempt to digest all that I have to be thankful for… and acknowledge how easily it can all be lost.
Last night my family started taking a personality test around the dinner table. The wife had found some website that would ask you about ten questions and then tell you exactly the type of person you were, if you would amount to anything in life, and whether you would spend any time in jail. She went first and then told us she was “I” “N” “F” “C”, or something like that. The rest of us all looked at each other. What the heck did that mean?
“Each letter stands for something about you,” my wife said, but did not elaborate.
I quickly came up with “Introvert”, “Nice”, “Funny” and “Crazy”. I could see the kids coming up with their words, too, but nobody wanted to say what they were thinking in case they were wrong.
Introvert was a no-brainer when it came to my wife, and that surprises some people because she can get sweeter than your grandmother’s tea in about five seconds. She teaches kindergarten and she’s good at it. She’s bubbly. And she dresses like she wants to audition for Welcome Back Kotter. (Of course those surprised people don’t see her crawl into the house at the end of the day.)
Maybe “N” was nurturing. Anyone could see that. As a little girl she had a toad farm and a gay college friend once called her a “Natural Born Breeder.”
Except it turned out “N” was for Intuitive.
Wilkins held up his hand. “Why wouldn’t that be an ‘I’?”
The rest of the kids nodded.
“Because ‘I’ already stands for introvert,” my wife said.
Wilkins rolled his eyes. “That’s just stupid.”
“F” stood for feeling.
“Like what?” Jacks asked.
“What?” my wife said.
“Feeling what?” Jacks said. “You don’t just feel. You gotta feel LIKE something!”
My wife took a deep breath.
“P” was her last letter and it stood for perceiving.
Wayne had been looking up her results on his phone. “This says that INFP’s are flexible and laid back.” Heads nodded. “They have deep caring and are genuinely interested in people. Their sincerity is sensed by others, making them a valued friend and confidant.”
“Nailed her,” Beth muttered.
I nodded at my daughter. People always dump their stuff on my wife. I’ve thought about carrying around a blow up couch and trying to turn a buck off of it.
Wayne went on. “Oh yeah, Dad, this says INFP’s can sometimes appear irrational and illogical in conflict situations, not really caring who is right and who is wrong.”
The rest of us exchanged looks.
“And when their value system is threatened, they become aggressive defenders.”
No one moved.
“Well, let’s see what you are,” my wife suddenly said. She began asking me a series of questions, each of which had four answers. A typical question would be “Are you this way because you learned it, or because that is just the way you are?” And I would have to say I agreed with that statement all of the time, some of the time, rarely, or never.
“I have a feeling if I take this Briggs and Stratton Test I’m gonna be “D” “U” “M” “B”, Wilkins said.
My daughter hung over my wife’s shoulder as she kept reading questions and feeding in my responses. About halfway through the test my daughter said, “That’s not what he said.”
My wife shushed her and read the next question.
I held up my hands. “You mean you are changing my answers?”
“Only when you respond incorrectly,” my wife said.
With my wife’s help I came out as an INTP. I never found out what that meant, except apparently the INTP’s get to clean the kitchen.
When I was seven I had surgery on my right arm for a bone marrow infection. The scar looked like the doctors were not as worried about the cut as they were with saving my arm. When I wondered what other people would think of that ugly gash, my dad draped his arm over me, smiled and said, “Tell ‘em you were playing pool down at the bar and got in knife fight.”
I also have a small circular scar on my chest. It looks like someone jabbed me with a lit cigar. I don’t recall ever being tortured. One doctor who looked at it said it might have come from some rare kind of spider.
I have scars on a hand that got jammed under a skateboard at a high rate of speed. I remember that one. It hurt. I was about 12 years old. After the wreck I ran to my house, yelling for my mother, convinced this one was pretty bad. She washed off the blood with a garden hose, took one look at my hand, and told me to “stop being a baby.”
Forgive the quality of the photography. We got to listen to Deacon John in the oldest Jazz Hall in the U.S. last night. The weather was perfect and Deacon John can still go. The structure itself is small, so they open up big windows and the crowd listens from outside. Food is served out of an old church next door. Beverages can be had for a “donation”. NOLA has no shortage of magical musical places. Add this one just north of the city to the list.
We walked to dinner last night with the family to celebrate the wife’s birthday. It is probably a mile or two from our house to downtown, across a nice college campus. Yes, a little warm, but that seems to be the best time for conversation with our kiddos. No electronics or TV or distractions. It is amazing what you can learn on a short stroll when they are “forced” to interact with you.
A few days ago I got in the shower and accidentally water-boarded myself. I mean it. I was so tired I stood in front of the shower head with my mouth open while water poured in. As a reasonable husband, given that torture was involved, I assumed the spouse was behind it. So I started confessing like crazy. After all, petty crimes had been committed.
“Fine! Sapporo is NOT the Kia of Asian beers,” I yelled. “It is REALLY expensive, but I like it A LOT.”
The water did not stop.
“Yes I lied! The lawnmower was working fine, but the Saints were on TV.”
Still the torture went on. I began confessing to crimes I had not committed, gurgling pitiful lies through self-inflicted mouthfuls of water.
I was standing in my living room with my mother. Two eight year olds were battling with Lightsabers around our knees. Since I wasn’t wearing a protective cup at the time, I was shielding my crotch with both hands, not the most intelligent look for having a proper conversation.
“Believe it or not,” my mother yelled over the bedlam. “One day you’re going to miss all of this.”
I mean, I know that’s what is supposed to happen. In a perfect world, I’d live to be this arthritic, stooped old guy and I’d think back affectionately to those times of screaming Lightsaber duels, but, at this rate, I wonder if I’ll have this half fried brain and look back on my life and say, “What the hell just happened?”
Miss it? Really? These days I can’t even pull off something as simple as a trip the bathroom. One of three things will happen if I sit on the toilet at my house, and not one of them is something that should happen in a restroom.