Friday, May 7, 2010

Rogue Guest Post

Introductions are in order!

My name is Daniel Toone, and I go by Danny—not Dan. Dan is Jane’s dad’s name. And I am hijacking this blog.

Regardless of what Jane says, her last name is not Sroufe, but Toone. It’s my doing, and I’m proud of forever tagging her with an ugly and obnoxious last name. There is at least one benefit to her new surname: Now when people say her last name for the first time, they don’t sound like they’re trying to imitate a Yorkshire Terrier.

I have ADHD. If you that don’t know what that means, I will explain. Hey look! A butterfly! What was I saying again? Oh yeah, ADHD. I have trouble paying attention to things. I can’t keep a stable train of thought. I tend to focus on whatever is most interesting in whatever place I find myself in. In some cases this is a butterfly. Other times it’s cute little babies. If a teacher is talking about a subject I already know about, I am probably paying attention to the loose thread in one of my socks, or calculating the market size of strike-anywhere matches in India on my phone’s calculator. And if you think my [insert random appendage here] is twitching for no reason at all, then you are right.

Oh, and if you give me a list of rules to follow, you better learn how to summarize that list into one single rule, or I am liable to stop paying attention and not follow any of them.

A lovely little fact about Jane is that she has OCD. Forty to 60 percent of the time she’s awake her mind is obsessively preoccupied about something. That something, for her, happens to be germs. Her life is led by a complex series of rules that help her cope with the multitude of germy objects that may afflict her.

So if you extend your hand to her, expecting a handshake, expect to get a quizzical look for about five seconds as she analyzes how many and what types of things you have touched since you last washed your hands. And then she will shake your hand. If you are lucky. However, if you have greasy hair, a wrinkly shirt, a zitty face, or visible grime anywhere on your body, don’t expect a handshake. She can conclude from this minute amount of evidence that you have not washed your hands within the last eight hours, and therefore your hand is a festering trailer park with germs as its gap-toothed residents. Literally.  

A romantic haiku that I wrote for Jane when we were still courting:
Two peas in a pod
Man, our kids are screwed.

As you can tell, I’m both an irresistible romantic and an incredible poet. But more importantly, I’m a visionary. Let me explain.

Two weeks ago, Jane and I had a little tiff. Usually when we have tiffs, we just call each other names like fart-knocker or poopdeck because I drive like an old man, or because Jane doesn’t realize that she has been in the shower for 45 minutes. This tiff was different. I had committed an unforgiveable sin. I put my pillow on the ground.

Pillows to Jane are like cows to the Hindu people. You always wash your hair, face, and neck, every night, before you lay your head on them. Pillows must never touch the outside part of the bedspread, as it is unclean (although the inside part of the bedspread is clean, thank heavens). And the most important rule of all: They must NEVER touch the ground. Any pillow which comes in contact with the ground must immediately be washed and sanitized by a lengthy high heat drying cycle before it can come in contact with the bed again.

In my haste to fall asleep after an exhausting day, I lay upon the bed (on the bedspread because I hadn’t taken a shower and was not permitted inside the bed), and I pushed all 50 pillows on top of the bed to one side. A pillow big enough to serve as a body pillow kept getting in my way so without thinking I threw it off the bed onto the floor.

A few minutes go by and I am awoken from my slumber by a growl. Or a shriek. I can’t remember exactly. But it wasn’t pleasant. Jane is pacing at the foot of the bed with a sickly expression on her face. Upon asking, “What’s wrong?” the look transforms into a raging anger that could only be rivaled by a Greek chick named Lyssa. I ask again, “What’s wrong?!” And she stomps out of the room nearly in tears saying “NOTHING!” Uh oh.

Apparently, because I know that pillows are more sacred than cows, any infringement of the rules for pillows was a direct and intentional insult, a personal attack meant to strike at the very core of her soul. I didn’t really know each and every rule by heart, so I apologized and I asked her what I was supposed to do when the pillows got in my way.

Now she is much calmer, and begins to tell me what to do. I hear her tell me Rule One. I hear her tell me the Rule Two. Once I hear her launch into Rule Three, I think, “I wonder if the per-capita GDP of Uganda is higher than Kenya after you account for purchasing power parity?” Okay, maybe I wasn't thinking that, but at the very least it was “Hey look! A butterfly!”

It wasn't long before Lyssa-face was back and I was barraged by a set of words that only the devil himself could have invented.

This is why I said I’m a visionary. At the time that I wrote my Haiku there was no way for me to know that our kids would be screwed. But they are. There is no way around it. By choosing to procreate at some time in the future, we have impaired the lives of our unborn children due to the genetic traits that are inevitably bound to be passed on. They’ll be born with a complex set of rules that will govern their lives so that they can be free from germs, and simultaneously be afflicted with an attention span that makes it impossible to follow rules.

I can hear it now: “Hey look Daddy! It’s a dirty butterfly! Keep it away from me!!!!”


B said...

love this post.

like a whole lot.


Lindsay and Ron said...

So funny! You guys are a very interesting/entertaining combination...I like it a lot!