Perhaps if you have a male life-partner, or are a mother of boys...or have ever encountered someone of the Male Species at any time in your existence (did I miss anyone?)...you may have noticed a curious phenomenon. Since I've dealt with it quite a lot in a house full of male creatures, I've decided to give it a name: the Y-Chromosome Location Deficiency. Husband demonstrates it--"Do we have any barbeque sauce/laundry detergent/mouthwash (etc.)?" The answer inevitably falls into these categories: 1.) "Yes, and it's right under your nose, if you'd just move your gaze a tiny bit behind or beneath or beside the spot you're currently standing; or 2.) "I don't know, dear, as I'm not at this moment in the exact place where we store whatever-it-is, but I'll bet if you go look there, you'll find out!" (And yes, it does come forth dripping with that much irony when I deliver it...) Tragically, it seems to be a genetic curse, as Derek shows unmistakable signs of the affliction as well. If anything, his is WORSE: "Mom, have you seen my socks?" (I lift one finger and point to them, well within his reach.) "Where did I put the crackers?" (At eye level, on the pantry shelf where snack foods have been residing for the entire dozen years Derek has been alive. Sigh.)
So yesterday when he came to me, an undertone of panic in his voice, and announced that the TV wasn't working properly, I knew better than to rise to the hysteria of the occasion. Apparently I didn't seem concerned enough, since he felt compelled to launch into a detailed explanation of what wasn't happening when he pushed the button, blah blah blah. However, being two floors removed from the site, and in the middle of another task, I shooed him away and promised I'd come help as soon as I could. A few minutes later when I meandered downstairs, he had managed to launch his PS3 and was embroiled in a game, so all appeared well for the moment and I knew I could wait to fix the Electronic Emergency.
After dinner I finally remembered to examine the offending device and try to diagnose the problem. It instantly became crystal clear to me...the power strip, which supplies electricity to the satellite box that controls the television's operations, was disconnected from the outlet. I'm not kidding. The thick black cord with its conspicuous three-pronged plug was lying there on the ground in plain sight. Oy. In a flash I deduced that the Ladies Who Clean had detached it in order to vacuum earlier that morning and then had simply forgotten to put it back. I didn't mention the incident right away, instead holding off for Reading Time, when we're all four in Husband's and my room, hanging out and bonding together. This is a special part of the day when we enjoy sharing passages from our own books with each other, recounting episodes from our respective days...and engaging in warm and fuzzy bouts of teasing, as only a loving and supportive family can. In this atmosphere of socializing...and stuff...I couldn't help relaying Derek's observational failure, "Your son (because it's a y-chromosome thing, so I'm obviously 100% off the hook on this) couldn't figure out that the TV wouldn't work...(I paused for dramatic effect...that's the x-chromosome in action) because it was unplugged!"
Husband rolled his eyes and shook his head with the world-weary attitude...of one who deeply understands such an malady, as a fellow sufferer. Meanwhile I got another cheap chuckle out of it. BUT...almost too muffled to perceive without my Mom Superhearing...from the other side of the room, where he was cozily nestled in the reclining chair, Riley muttered in a tiny voice, "Humph...Midvale School for the Gifted!" And the room fairly exploded with hoots of raucous laughter. This is the classic comic strip to which he's referring:
Husband must be credited with teaching them this, as he uses the phrase whenever anyone does something...less-than-brilliant. But for our younger son to effectively utilize both biting sarcasm and The Far Side to thoroughly slam his brother? Well, I feel like we're doing our job--bringing the art of the Literary Insult...and the genius of Gary Larson...to the next generation: Proud. Parental. Moment (sniffle).