I heard my Grandma June’s voice this morning coming out of my own mouth and it scared me a little. Zac was dragging himself out of bed, angling for a sick day. All the Middle School symptoms were presented: headache, sore throat, and body aches. It’s a good strategy, naming multiple symptoms that can’t quite be measured. He was just a few steps from putting the thermometer on the hot light bulb, which doesn’t work because LED bulbs put off very little heat. Back when bulbs were glass spheres of incandescent heat, and thermometers were full of deadly mercury, I’d pull that trick and give myself a 109 degree fever. It took me a time or two to realize that this is the temperature of human lava, demanding MUCH more invasive medical attention than saying “ahhhhh”.
This morning Grandma said, “Zac, your best bet is to just get out of bed and pushing through the day. You’ll feel much better before long.” I didn’t mean to do that, it just came out, probably because I heard it 39 times during my 8th grade year. She was usually right. I’d come home after school, bounce to the kitchen, eat patty-shaped processed chicken product fresh from the microwave, then head straight for the Brothers Mario.
I teach my Communication students that most of our communication skills were acquired by the time we were 12 or so, shaped mostly by how our family interacted. We spend the first dozen years learning how to communicate, then spend the rest of our lives learning again (and again and again) how to communicate better. Relational dysfunction, cultural expectations, social behavior — it’s your parents/grandparents/guardians.
I was ok. He’ll be ok, too. I didn’t mean to mimic the voice of Ardith June, but it was bound to happen at some point. Admittedly, it came in handy today.