FOOD & FAMILY - Spock-speak it isn't, but live long and prosper anyway


I am not Spock.

Aside from the obvious differences of not being male, from another planet, or possessive of pointy ears, my main divergence from the world's most recognizable Vulcan is that I am not so fully steeped in logical thought that I am impervious to feeling stupid.

Now there is a distinction between feeling stupid and obsessing over what other people think -- regarding the latter I try to sail through life doing my own thing, not stepping on anyone's face in the process, but simultaneously not letting what I think other people think affect the way I act. This, I'm sure Spock would say, is logical.

Unfortunately, I am not so thick-skinned -- green or not -- that I can slip on the ice in front of a group of people and limp away, dignity intact. (Quite frankly, how would Spock react in this situation?)

But real life happens and stupid things intrude upon our lives, and we frequently find ourselves extricating our fragile egos from less than desirable situations, ones, incidentally, that we usually bring upon ourselves.

Yesterday I was working with Scott, the Incredible Computer Man, to set up my new laptop (as far as I know, other than my parents, I am the last person in thisregion of the countryto have a laptop), when he pointed out that I might want to purchase a wireless mouse for ease of use.

"OK. So show me where that plugs in."

One reason that Scott is such an Incredible Computer Man is that he addresses all questions as if they were intelligent ones.

The Norwegian Artist possesses a similar talent. Years ago, in our dating days, I was being attacked by a Christian who wanted to drag me, trussed up and gagged, into the Kingdom by arguing me out of all rational thought. In contrast to this Attacking Apostle, the Norwegian Artist patiently answered questions that he knew the answers to and freely admittedwhen he didn't know the answers to others.

"So, did John the Baptist write the book of John?"

You know, a good Catholic girl really should have known the answer to this, but I never could keep track of all the saints, and John is such a well-used name. The Norwegian Artist smiled and said something along the lines of "No, he didn't really have the head for that."

This uncanny ability to phrase things in unusual ways is apparently genetic, the most memorable incident within our family involving the College Girl back when she was called the Flaxen-Haired Toddler and she wore a new dress to church.

"So, did you get any comments on your dress?" I asked, having made the dress and wanting others to recognize its stunning impact, yet amazing simplicity.

A look of concern passed over her face as she looked down at the dress: "No. Do they wash out?"

Tired of Being Youngest once frustrated her Pictionary partner (that would be me) by drawing a hand and a Christmas fir and circling the two over and over until the timer ran out and the pen tore through the paper to the table below.

"It was a palm tree!" she wailed.

In addition to our ability to make memorably embarrassing comments, we all manage to mangle the pronunciation of the English language to such a degree that outsiders assume that we are first generation Norwegians and Poles, as opposed to third.

"Sew -- Krates was an amazing man," the Son and Heir observed regarding Socrates. He was also impressed by Geh-- Heng -- Iss -- Can.

College Girl talked about the importance of Koop-er-ation on her first day at a new high school.

Tired of Being Youngest wondered if the Jenners on Netflix (Genres) reflected someone's inability to spell general titles.

A kind friend mentioned that frequently, people who read a lot also mispronounce a lot, because much of the vocabulary that they encounter is rarely heard in everyday speech.

Honestly, when is the last time that you said, aloud, exacerbate or egregious?

It should not be any surprise that agood portion of us in this family look up when someone barks out, "There's an elephant on the ceiling!"

And, while cynical and jaded people look upon this tendency as, well, stupid, I consider it a positive sign that, while we may be very, veryliteral in the way we speak and think, we have not descended to the level of cynicism and jadedness of the jokers who laugh at our ingenuousness. We stop, realize that we have said something of less-than-stellar intelligence, laugh, and move on.

Carolyn Henderson is manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. Find more of her writing at


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