Thursday, October 06, 2011

Classic Urf!: Family Motto

This blog was started way back in 2006. After a couple of years of writing it, my friend Stacey Greenberg contacted me one day and said The Commercial Appeal was interested in the two of us writing a new column for them about parenting. Perfect, I figured, I'm already doing that.

Stacey has recently departed the column for various reasons, including, apparently, to write a hell of a lot more features. I think she has one somewhere nearly every other day. Here's one from today's CA. And, of course, she still keeps up with her blog, which was her gateway drug into "Because I Said So."

Speaking of "Because I Said So," it's only every other Thursday now, so on the off Thursdays, I'll replay some classics. Today, though, I'm pulling out an old Urf!. I have a counter on this site and it shows me how many hits I get, how people got to the site and where they are. It's fascinating to see the many different locations around the globe where people are slacking off work or school by searching the internet; to see at just what corporations, colleges and hospitals around Memphis employees are snatching a little "me" time. And, to see what they search for to get to Urf!. Far and away, one of the most searched terms that gets y'all to the site is "family motto." Lot of genealogy enthusiasts out there.

It so happens that I had a post on May 22, 2006 (only six days before the birth of GK!), titled with that exact search term: Family Motto. It would have made an excellent column, and is still a good post, a classic even. So here it is for your enjoyment.

I was recently reading a touching piece by Calvin Trillin in The New Yorker on his late wife, Alice. In the article, he mentions a family motto that he, his daughters and Alice had: "Pull Up Your Socks." Trillin recalls Alice lamenting that this motto may have been too "flippant."

It got me to thinking that maybe we need a family motto. I found it odd, in fact, that we didn't have one in place already. My family, my little fiefdom, should have a motto to look to for inspiration. A few came to mind right away: "We're Out Of Milk," "Where Is The Remote?," "Your Shoes Are On The Wrong Feet."

It will need to be a motto The Trio can take pride in, something they can shout from the top step and one day tattoo across themselves, or at least write it in their own dust. I believe any of the aforementioned mottos are a nice enough fit. Other possibilities include: "I Want," "Where's Mommy?" and "Don't Touch Daddy's Drink."

Once we come up with a decent motto, though, we may need a coat of arms - something that really strikes fear, or confusion, in the hearts of the other families at the park. Coats of arms have really fallen out of style in the 21st Century. In fact, I don't think I know one family with a coat of arms; nothing they're willing to display with pride, anyway. So what would our coat of arms look like? Perhaps a shield with a Pop Tart emblazoned on it, or a sippy cup full of curdled milk or maybe just a likeness of me looking addled. Or maybe it won't be a shield at all, we rarely use them around here. Maybe it will be a TV screen or a trash can or a refrigerator door left standing open. Other coat of arms design possibilities include: a silhouette of bedhead, a toothpaste-caked toothbrush and a pile of laundry, possibly clean, possibly not.

Once we start thinking of a motto and coat of arms, then we naturally have to consider a family song, a battle anthem. Currently, on the way to school, The Trio is enjoying "Shake Your Rump" by The Beastie Boys off the album Paul's Boutique, and "People Watching" by Jack Johnson off the Curious George soundtrack. Neither of these seem appropriate. I would have to nominate "Goon Squad" by Elvis Costello off Armed Forces, "Fly Me To The Moon" by Frank Sinatra, the version on Sinatra at the Sands, and "Run Run Run" by The Velvet Underground from The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Well, we have a lot to work on around here, so I better go. But rest assured and beware, The Trio will soon be coming to a park near you to take over your swings and your slide and your plastic tube they like to crawl through. You'll know them right away, they'll be the ones marching up with a banner reading "No Shoes On The Couch!" and wearing shirts printed with stylized pictures of a half-eaten waffle while singing "Shake Your Rump" at the top of their lungs.