Eric <smugly>: Do you know what USB stands for?
Me: Universal Serial Bus.
Eric <face falls>: How did you know that?
Me: You forget, I raised you once already.
Eric’s second oldest brother, David, is so much like him that it’s eerie. At fourteen, David asked me the exact same list of questions, including but not limited to such topics as:
- What does Universal Serial Bus (and CPU, and RAM, and ROM) stand for
- What is your stance on the debate as to whether zero to the power of zero equals one or not?
- Something about some cat-killing guy named Shroedinger... I don't remember the exact moral of the story, but it was not the moral I would have chosen.
They have both come home on fire to discuss with me the technicalities of what zero to the power of zero might equal, with a passion that is truly stunning given the magnitude of the not-mattering-at-all. The vast majority of these extremely complex problems have, in my mind, the same extremely simple answer. Which is “what does this have to do with anything important?”. Or, occasionally "The Ethics board for that Shroedinger guy's research was NOT doing their job".
I have come to the conclusion that “spewing facts” is a stage of development. In my family, there is this unique phenomenon that looks like masculine teen chest beating, but involves asking things like “Hey, do you know what the atomic weight of Hydrogen is?”.
A closely related and equally delightful thing is the correcting of facts, including facts that definitely don’t need to be corrected. I used to think this was also posturing, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actually about not being able to just let the wrongness sit uncorrected.
When my dad would do this, my mom would say “Lee! Quit being the knowledgeable guru!!!”
My mother, unfortunately for my dad’s ulcer, would always—very unintentionally—pronounce guru wrong.
Unfortunately, when someone accuses you of being the knowledgeable guru, that is not the time to teach them how to pronounce guru properly.
My dad knows. He has determined this via scientific experimentation.
I can’t exactly write out my mom’s mispronunciation. It’s too short on the first “u”, and too long on the second one. Kind of like “g’roo”, which I have taken to writing about as “garoo”. There is no “a” sound in my mom’s pronunciation, but garoo writes more easily, and you get the idea.
This would drive David to distraction, because it’s not quite accurate to what my mom actually says.
But he can’t exactly correct me, in my story about people over-correcting each other, for mispronouncing garoo incorrectly.
I mean, he does correct me, because he can’t help it. So does Eric.
Every time Eric mimics teenage David perfectly, I text the story of whatever he's just done to David.
Me <via text>: … And then I told him “I raised you once already” and he got all disappointed and—get this—pulled out his Rubix cube and started playing on it… Isn’t that hilarious? It’s like you guys are the EXACT SAME PERSON.
(The plan is that David will see the magnitude of my maternal endurance)
David <via text>: Rubick’s cube.