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Monday, January 18, 2010

How parents mess up their kids...

We're not talking balloon-boy level exploitation here, but just goofy little cultural things that make kids realize not everyone does things the same way. Usually, however, it's an embarrassing incident that reveals to them that their family is just weird.

What my parents did to us:
My parents used to get a craving for Chinese food every now and then, and considering that the kids were pretty little, they thought we wouldn't like to eat anything exotic. Dad had a solution. When he went to pick up the order, he'd get the Chinese food place to include some French fries. French fries not being the restaurant's specialty, and long before the days of fast food, these particular French fries were limp, greasy and barely edible. Certainly not on a par with what we have now come to recognize as French fries. Anyway, we kids ate them and found that if you had enough ketchup, they were fine. Growing up, every time we had Chinese food we also got these Chinese French fries. :-)

It seemed quite normal to me until I went to university. I got a rude awakening on the French fry front when out for the first time with a bunch of friends and we went to a Chinese restaurant. I naturally asked about French fries, and was thoroughly ridiculed. I'm sure they thought I was nuts. No, not nuts. Just twisted by family culture, lol.

What I've done to my kids:

I used to watch the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show on television when I came home from school. I liked the show, especially Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and Fractured Fairytales. I don't quite know how it came about, but one of the episodes, I don't remember which, included the pairing of the gride and the broom. That stuck in my brain -- I like the symmetry of it. Gride and Broom. When my kids were little, instead of calling that thing you scoop up sweepings with a dust pan, I always called it a gride. They are adults now, and know that a dust pan is a dust pan, but maybe it's a gride too. :-)

I can't wait until my kids mention "gride and broom" to someone else and get razzed for it, as I did with the Chinese fries. Somehow I am sure that will amuse me.

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