Monday, March 19, 2007

Replacement Grandparents

It always amazes me when people a generation or so older than me still have living grandparents. I'm 22, but I ran out of biological grandparents two years ago. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an orphan or anything. Somehow people a decade older than me have grandparents that are alive and kicking - running marathons, waterskiing, attending rock concerts with their grandchildren. I have to admit, I'm jealous. As much as I rolled my eyes as far as they could go whenever my grandma remarked how much she thought I looked like the star of t.v. sitcom Blossom, or feigned interest when my grandpa told me (again) how he survived aboard a Navy ship in WWII, it would be nice to have them around again. In truth, they weren't exactly in peak mental health by the very end (I may have seen my grandma pick a crumb off my grandpa's sweater and eat it ... or maybe it was just a survival tactic learned in the Great Depression?), but it saddens me to realize my grandfather, who pushed me to paint for as long as he was alive, wasn't around when I actually did start painting. Okay, now I'm starting to depress everyone and - what I fear most - this has now become a true BLOG (which, in case you were wondering, is Latin for "free space on internet to expel annoying information about one's personal life on uninterested readers"). Let's just blame the recent bout of illness I got this weekend for this emotional interjection. Great, now I have to delete this post and make sure it never sees the light of day.

What I was really getting at:
I know they have dating websites, which back their match-making capabilities with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, but what about a grandparent-finding-service? It would be great for both parties involved. The bored twenty-something college grad who is looking for unconditional praise for her mediocre achievements, and the sad and old parent, who has never had a grandchild totter around their ranch house, bumping into safety gates and trying to defeat unforgiving child-proof lock on mysterious cabinets (a reality my parents may be forced to face someday). So what about some kind of personality profile to match you up with the perfect replacement grandparent? Just a simple questionnaire addressing pertinent characteristics that you expect your replacement grandparent to possess. In addition, you could contact the potential grandparent (via an interpreter if necessary) for any remaining questions like:
  • Do you look forward to watching reruns of M*A*S*H every day even though you fall asleep within the first five minutes?
  • Can you fall asleep at nearly any time or location, even if you are at a party with over 35 raucous guests?
  • Will you pass out at family dinners frequently?
  • Will you and your spouse wear these matching NANA and PAPA sweatshirts I have whenever we are seen together?
  • At times when your NANA or PAPA sweatshirt is in the wash, will you dress as if you are colorblind, also possibly pattern-blind, pairing a green and brown plaid shirt with striped orange pants?
  • When I am not home to answer your phone call, will you leave a message addressing the answering machine as if it were a live person, and asking it to have me call you back?
  • When we're out to dinner as a family, will you look up from your menu and ask the waiter, "Who are all these people?"
  • Have you served in any division of the U.S. military? If not, would you be willing to invent ficticious stories of combat involving the use of words such as shrapnel, rations, and trenches?
  • Each time you see me, will you ask, "You're still wearing your hair like that?" and explain how I would look so much better with a chin-length bob and bangs cropped squarely to my forehead?
Those of you who are, like me, grandparent-less, good luck on your grandparent search! I'll just keep on pretending old people whom I meet are my own grandparents, providing them with updates on my love-life and showing them my recent artwork.

2 comments:

Jonk said...

I'm surprised that "Big Brothers, Big Sisters" hasn't come up with a fake grandparents program yet.

Jonk said...

I'm oooooold! And I'm not happy! And I don't like things now compared to the way they used to be. All this progress -- phooey! In my day, we didn't have these cash machines that would give you money when you needed it. There was only one bank in each state -- it was open only one hour a year. And you'd get in line, seventeen miles long, and the line became an angry mob of people -- fornicators and thieves, mutant children and circus freaks -- and you waited for years and by the time you got to the teller, you were senile and arthritic and you couldn't remember your own name. You were born, got in line, and ya died! And that's the way it was and we liked it!

Life was simpler then. There wasn't all this concern about hy-giene! It my days, we didn't have Kleenex. When you turned seventeen, you were given the family handkerchief. ... It hadn't been washed in generations and it stood on its own ... filled with diseases and swarmin' with flies. ... If you tried to blow your nose, you'd get an infection and your head would swell up and turn green and children would burst into tears at the sight o' ya! And that's the way it was and we liked it!

Life was a carnival! We entertained ourselves! We didn't need moooovin' pitchurrrres. In my day, there was only one show in town -- it was called "Stare at the sun!" ... That's right! You'd sit in the middle of an open field and stare up at the sun till your eyeballs burst into flames! And you thought, "Oh, no! Maybe I shouldn't've stared directly into the burning sun with my eyes wide open." But it was too late! Your head was on fire and people were roastin' chickens over it. ... And that's the way it was and we liked it!

Progress?! Flobble-de-flee! In my day, when we were angry and frustrated, we just said, "Flobble-de-flee!" 'cause we were idiots and we didn't know what else to say! Just a bunch o' illiterate Cro-Magnons, blowin' on crusty handkerchiefs, waitin' in lines for our head to burst into flame and that's the way it was and we liked it!