March 28, 2006

How Bobby Ewing Changed My Life

I love my parents. They're hip, wonderful people. They make me laugh and, quite often, they surprise me.

One of their biggest challenges seems to be remembering names and events. Detail isn't their thing. It really doesn't have anything to do with age - they're not that old. They've always been like this. My mom may, for instance, ask me if I remember running into Yul Brenner after seeing Cats in London. Of course, I'd reply, as I remember it vividly. It's only slightly less likely that she'd ask about the time we saw the Pope outside a church in Romania in which case I'd have to remind her that a) we've never seen the Pope and b) we've never set foot in Romania. Like I said, details.

My parents have also developed code names for actors and musicians. If they're to be believed, golfer Jack Nicholaus has starred in many fine films such as As Good As It Gets, About Schmidt and The Shining. Jon Anderson isn't the vocalist best known for fronting the once-powerful progressive rock band Yes. She's referring The Daily Show host John Stewart. Stephen Colbert is just known as The Report.

Before you say it, yes, I'm incredibly lucky to have parents who religiously watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I know that.

On Sunday evening, after the now-obligatory argument over who told everyone in the country to stock up on tuna in case of an emergency (It was the Secretary of the Interior. No, it was the Surgeon General. But it was a man and the Secretary of the Interior's a woman. It was before she stepped down...) which got absolutely no farther than it did the previous week, my parents started talking about some show I supposedly used to love as a kid. Don't you remember? It was some guy who lived in the ocean and rescued people. He was like a superhero. You loved it! I was skeptical. Actually, I thought my parents had finally lost it. I could see them, teetering on the edge between independence and jello salad in the home. That is, until my mom went Rainman on me and said, it starred Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby on Dallas. I was shocked. Three pieces of information that all fit together perfectly. I still didn't have any idea what they were talking about. But still...

Yesterday morning, I IMDBed it and, sure enough Mr. Duffy starred in The Man From Atlantis which, during the 1977-78 television season, I apparently loved.

I'm sorry I doubted you, mom and dad. But you do give sanity a run for it's money sometimes.

Posted by Chris at March 28, 2006 07:45 AM

"You do give sanity a run for it's money sometimes"

That's hilarious. And something MY parents might say about ME!

Seriously, your folks sound great. I've been blessed with awesome parents, too.

Posted by: Alissa at March 28, 2006 07:57 AM

I remember that show. I never watched it, but I remember how embarrassed I was for Patrick Duffy.

Posted by: Allan at March 28, 2006 07:58 AM

Oh man! I loved that show! Whenever my grandmother would watch Dallas, I'd start going on and on about how cool he was in the Atlantis show.

Yep, I'm a geek...

Posted by: amber at March 28, 2006 08:18 AM

Having trouble with names isn't at all an age thing because I've always had trouble with that and I'm a very young 33!

I've tried to fix it, I have, but I'm convinced I'm utterly hopeless. Even people I've known forever, every once in a while, when referring to them I'll go blank and so I'll just smile and way with a light tone "what's her/his face." You'd be surprised at how many people just laugh at that. Like I need the encouragement.

Posted by: pea at March 28, 2006 08:20 AM

That was the greatest show...can I assume you liked Manimal as well?

Posted by: jennifer at March 28, 2006 08:25 AM

This explains a lot about the conversations between you and Beth.

Posted by: fauve at March 28, 2006 08:34 AM

I'm embarrassed to say that my logic runs parallel with your parents! This is how we solve all trivia questions--goes like this:

"Oh, come know who I'm talking about."
"No I don't. Give me a hint..."
"I'm trying to come up with her damn name, let alone a hint. Let's see...she was in that movie with Robert Redford where they lived in a teensie studeo apartment."
"Yes. Oh gosh, what's her name?...umm...I think her dad was a movie star too."
"Her dad? My god, how old is she???"
"That's not the point...I KNOW her dad is famous too. Oh, and she used to do aerobics."
"Oooo...I know...Nancy Sinatra!"
"Nooooooooo...but you're on the right track."
"How do YOU know I'm on the right track?--you can't even think of who you're thinking of!"
"She used to be married to that television guy...that one that looks like he'd be really mean."
"WHAT??? I have no frickin' idea."
"Fine. Ffffffffine. FFFFFffff...FONDA! Jane Fonda!!!"

*one time when I was in 1st grade we went to Cape May, NJ. Out at dinner my mom swears she saw Soupy Sales. After all of us kids (all 7 and under) clapped our hands with glee, I remember turning to her and saying, "Who's that?"*

Posted by: Kristen at March 28, 2006 08:36 AM

I can't belive you forgot the Man from Atlantis. Don't you remember his webbed fingers and toes??

Posted by: kalisah at March 28, 2006 08:37 AM

I ADORED The Man from Atlantis and I really really like his webbed feet (hands?). I liked Dallas too but it got a little hokey in the end when they brought JR back.

Posted by: Pamalamadingdong at March 28, 2006 08:47 AM

That's hilarious. I have a crap memory too, but when I've got the details right you can bet I know what I'm talking about. I love that they call Stephen Colbert "The Report." Hee!

Posted by: Fraulein N at March 28, 2006 09:03 AM

Hi Chris. My kids call me for answers to some of the silliest things. My son was managing a bar in Bakersfield a few years ago and called me long distance to ask who the tight end of the '49ers was. I said Brent Jones.

His customer wanted to know if he called the sports editors of the newspaper. "No, I called my mommy".

Posted by: ann adams at March 28, 2006 09:09 AM

I honestly thought they were talking about Jacques Cousteau for a minute there ...

Posted by: s@bd at March 28, 2006 09:35 AM

I knew it!!! I knew you were a dork!

I liked that one too!!!

Posted by: linda at March 28, 2006 09:35 AM

Once my parents (who don't watch "The Daily Show") saw Al Franken on Oprah. He was dressed in his powder blue sweater and blonde wig and doing his Stewart Smalley self-affirmation therapy thing. They totally thought he was a strange-acting therapist. Had no idea that the whole thing was a put-on!

Posted by: wordgirl at March 28, 2006 09:48 AM

My mom has a thing with peoples' names where she never calls people the right name even after you corrected her 2.5 million times. I dated a guy my freshman year of college named Herb (yes I know, it's funny, but he was cute so I excused the name) but she always called him Buck. It drove me nuts, but then I found out it was genetic. Until I married my husband (Aaron) my grandmother called him Steve. No clue why. I'm just scared that I'm going to be like that some day since I already have just about every other trait of my mother's, including looking almost exactly like her.

Posted by: Jessie at March 28, 2006 10:09 AM

I can't believe I missed out on such a classic show!

When I was in college, my mom and I spent 6 months trying to remember "Lew Zealand and his Boomerang Fish Act" (from the Muppet Show). Every time we'd talk we'd get as far as "something somebody and his something fish". Finally I woke up in the middle of the night one night and shouted it out. Thankfully no roommate, so nobody called the nice young men in the little white coats.

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at March 28, 2006 10:33 AM

My mom is the same exact way. She is crazy and has a language barrier and often times make stuff up for, apparantly, the hell of it.

Then, every once in a while, when she tells me something SO outrageous and SO stupid and I just happen to do some background work just to see how wrong she is.... it's true.

Son of a!

Posted by: melati at March 28, 2006 11:18 AM

My parents aren't nearly as bad as that, but my MIL is *worse*. I swear. We (me, my husband, his three brothers) have a running bit where we put all the names she gets wrong and all the words she mispronounces together in some Twilight Zone-esque storyline.

We all think we're quite funny. She ends up flipping us the bird.

Posted by: candace at March 28, 2006 11:29 AM

I must be unlucky. I've been stuck with uptight, seldom funny doctor parents who got a divorce after 30 years of marriage. They can remember about anything unless it's where they last left their keys.

I wish they'd watch "The Report" so maybe they'd laugh a little. And be in tune with pop culture. At Christmas we played games as a family and my mom didn't know who N'Sync or Justin Timberlake was. I knew then my mom was from another planet.

I think I've got to have two of the most unsociable, unintersting, unfunny, but extremely intelligent parents in the universe.

Posted by: Jay Wilkins at March 28, 2006 11:32 AM

my mom calls me all the time to answer trivia questions for her. i have a freaky ability to know things like that. but yesterday, when she was cleaning the sugar bugs who go potty on your teeth off my teeth, they had a soft rock station playing. she asked me who sang a certain song and i told her i did not know. i let her down. but really... how can you expect me to know the hits on Warm 106.9? Really. Gross.

Posted by: jodi at March 28, 2006 12:40 PM

My mother still remembers what I liked to have for lunch when I was 5.

Posted by: Queen of Ass at March 28, 2006 01:54 PM

HAHAHAHA. You know, it's inherited and comes with age. My memory is starting to go too. I used to pride myself on my razor sharp memory. Now I don't even remember the hubs taking my hamburger and eating it. RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE.

Posted by: statia at March 28, 2006 02:06 PM

That was so funny. Sounds like my mom and step-dad. I'm impressed you were able to find it.

Posted by: Melissa at March 28, 2006 02:27 PM

Hey! I do that! I say things that I totally don't mean and try to put together pieces of information that TOTALLY don't fit.

James, thank goodness, knows me well and always follows the ridiculous thing I'd just said with, "Did you mean..." whereupon I sheepishly smile and say, "Oh. Yeah. What did I say, again?"

Posted by: Emily at March 28, 2006 02:50 PM

ha! that is SOOO my mother-in-law. with the making up of names and transfering them in her mind and such. (minus the coolness part of watching hip shows like the daily show - "my GOD, isn't he a democrat?!?")

Posted by: Sarcomical at March 28, 2006 02:51 PM

The man from Atlantis....ahhhh. I remember an epsiode where the bady guys at a mining shaft tied him up in some type of troff(sp?)/slide/mining thing and he was dehydrating and his sidekick or helper or someone poured water into the top and he had to wait for the water slowly trickle down to reahc him....cliffhanger an all.

How about Marine boy?

Posted by: Bill at March 28, 2006 03:27 PM

My thought process on this post went something like this...

...Bobby the,YEAH!...ATLANTIS!

And then my head exploded. Woah.

Posted by: Pammer at March 28, 2006 03:30 PM

I am not old enough to remember this stuff heh. Feeling a bit like a baby over here.

Posted by: Heather at March 28, 2006 05:08 PM

I'm glad my parents aren't the only ones who disconnect with reality every once in a while. Gives me hope that they aren't just going senile very early.

Posted by: Kerry at March 28, 2006 06:00 PM

So, since you're pickin' on poor ol' Mom & Dad, do I get carte blanche (is that how it's spelled?) on correcting your grammar and spelling?

"But you do give sanity a run for it's money sometimes" should actually be But you do give sanity a run for its money sometimes.

Sorry, nitpicking, but it's fun to do that to someone like you who never seems to have spelling and grammatical errors. And I'm feeling anxiety about pushing the "Post" button because eventhough I normally spell quite well, surely if I'm being critical of someone else I've made an error in here somewhere. I'll take my chances.

Posted by: HR Mommy at March 28, 2006 08:58 PM

Oh wow - I knew it was Man From Atlantis as soon as you threw out those three coherent details. I'm not sure if I'm proud of that or not.

Posted by: Cassia Zoe at March 28, 2006 09:29 PM

OH! And thanks to Jennifer for mentioning Manimal! I loved that show!

Posted by: Cassia Zoe at March 28, 2006 09:34 PM

That is so funny. I just love your stories. And the rainman reference cause I totally use that all the time!

Posted by: Bethany at March 28, 2006 10:34 PM

I was robbed! I never saw that show and I still kind of think that Patrick Duffy is hot stuff. No need to tell me how lame I am, I already know.

I've got one for ya, at work when a dog is acting up, I invariably call it by my three year old son's name. Apparently I say his name a LOT in connection with bad behavior.

Posted by: Contary at March 29, 2006 02:46 AM

Please tell me your mom is one of those parents that (after 40) is required to name every sibling, aunt/uncle, cousin, pet before arriving at the name she gave you at birth?

My mom (in addition to many of the isms you mentioned) does this too - and it makes for hysterically funny moments.

"Russel, Randy, er, Dean er..." Long pause "Gregory..."

And note the full form of the name - because NOW she's flustered. And it's my fault.

Did I mention I too miss Bobby Ewing.

Posted by: Greg at March 29, 2006 11:39 AM

LOL my parents are also Daily Show and Colbert Report watchers. Sometimes, though, I fear Mom takes it all seriously.

Posted by: amy at March 29, 2006 02:52 PM

I am sorry to say but your parents sound alot like me. I am so screwed some day because I'm as old as you are (meaning we are both young pups) and my brain is already doing this wierd stuff.

Posted by: Lisa B at March 29, 2006 10:59 PM

This IS a perfect post. Puts me in mind of the Bud and Jan Show, which I am sorely missing this month. Thanks for the smile, Chris.

Posted by: vicki at March 31, 2006 05:45 AM

lol, my mom is famous for doing this, we never know who or what she's talking about.

Posted by: mongakim at March 31, 2006 10:19 AM

Great post. Congrats on your Perfect Post Award!

Posted by: lucinda at March 31, 2006 02:39 PM

That's me. I try to order New Balance beer in resturants instead of New Castle.

Posted by: colleen at April 1, 2006 10:33 PM

Nice site

Posted by: stacey-keebler at April 3, 2006 05:48 AM