Should'a Worn CaprisOften the best thing you can give your mom is the gift of laughter. For if even for a minute you can make her forget her Orwellian existence the hellions have imprisoned her in you can score big. Our elementary school was bordered on one side with Farmer Levi's orchard of peaches and pears, along with a well-worn hole in the fence to grab snacks at lunch. One day at recess, brother Dudley and his special Ops team crossed the DMZ into enemy territory. It wasn't more than a few minutes before the special code word was uttered: RUN!!!
One by one the troops scampered under the fence, commando style, with Dudley pulling up the rear. From a distance he heard a faint "dud, Dud, DUD!" what the...? "dud, Dud, DUD!" - it was Dudley's classmates chanting for him! As he neared the tunnel under the fence he could smell Farmer Levi's stinkin' cherry wine breath. The chant reached a crescendo -- "DUD!, DUD!!, DUD!!! As Dudley slid under the fence, he felt a tug on the cuffs of his jeans. Dusting himself off on the other side, he stood up and immediately felt a draft down below. Farmer Levi had yet another pair for his barn door.
We all assume that Dudley ran home in his underwear, but memories fade, and no one really seems to know how the story ended. We do know that while Dudley was most certainly traumatized by the incident, he believes his underwear saved him - and to this day still wears them on special occasions.
Points wise this was a very tough one to grade. If Mom could ignore the indictable offense, it could score very highly on the humour parameter, but mom confessed to me that this had happened very shortly after we moved to town leaving a few people in town thinking that we were a band of thieving nomads. Time was on Dudley's side though, as the humorous side of the story overtook the negatives, and with this being an oft retold story at family gatherings, Dudley still scores the occasional residual point for this event.
So that's it for look at "Favourite Son Pursuit" Rasmussen rules. Just ahead we look at some more advanced tactics for those of you that want to take this sport to the next level. Just remember, like anything else in life, the more you put in the more you get out. It's all well and fine to play this game at a hobby level, but consider that your mother gave you a semi-pro or even pro commitment for upwards of 18 years. Are you pulling your weight?
Favourite Son Pursuit (FSP) Advanced Strategy Considerations:The following advanced strategies are presented on the assumption that you have fulfilled the prerequisites and have a solid foundation in the basics of FSP. This blogger will not be responsible for any damages to any sibling relationships, parental unit relationships, or any loss of son ranking. There are no guarantees, implied or assumed.
Event Timing - All of the life events depicted may seem disconnected and events unto themselves. However there may be a significant advantage to be gained by simultaneously both scoring and negating of the points scored by an opponent. For example, if you know your brother was about to publish in the University of Phoenix Online Journal of Academics Who Need to Pad Their Publishing Totals, then the timing might be perfect to announce to Mom that you have been nominated as one of Maclean's magazine's top 500 influential bloggers in Calgary SW.
Playing The MEDI Card - If you plan to even consider playing the "MEDI Card", please read this very carefully as the technique is fraught with land mines. This involves using your medical condition to strategic advantage by eliciting sympathy. In short, don't do it. Mom is fond of saying that she hates "pity parties" . If you really believe this, be consistent, throw your card away and renounce membership pronto.
Keep the Game Close - Ask any parent of a Barnum & Bailey-sized family, and they will tell you the answer is PARITY! To heck with worrying about making it to your 80s -- If you want to survive your parental years, you had better focus on getting every kid into the playoffs rather than hoping for one Gretzky out of the bunch. In practical terms, this means that moms are not fond of endzone celebrations, piling on, and commanding leads. Just remember, if you are bold enough to take a commanding lead, you had best be the humblest bumble you can be.
Level the Playing Field - Pool Your Intelligence - There may be times in this game we begin to feel a tad uncomfortable about Mom's ever-expanding role in the game. The ideal appearance of a Mom in this game is a look of mild disapproval and ignorance. Signs that your mother is taking on an inappropriate role in the game are: 1) you catch her spiking the ball in the end zone, 2) In the fall she sends out preseason scouting reports on all of her boys, 3) she announces that she has signed up for one of those new FSP "Fantasy Leagues" where each mother has an opportunity to draft her own selection of sons. This last one should be particularly troubling to any player invested in the game.
Alternately you may become disenchanted with the height of the pedestal and the increasingly regal behaviour of your Mom in the rarified air. It's time to act. Here is a real-life example:
Doc, the FIRM's gift advisor noted that we could be saving an enormous amount of both money and time by banning the purchase of cut flowers and mandating that brothers purchase the longer-lasting orchids for mom. Doc even went as far as to standardize the number of flowers and buds in order to take the pressure off the boys. Mom disapproved of the change at first but now feigns a love affair with the orchids to save face. A win/win/win/win/win/win situation for the boys. "I can now afford to buy a decent Niagara wine instead of that cheap Okanagan swill" gushed the normally staid academic.
The Lone Voice of Sanity?Out of the cacophony of farts, whining, and "say uncle"s, you could hear the pleas as clear as day: "Will you kids grow up!" While her exhortations typically were directed towards my elders, all of us were on the receiving end at some point. These typically included a multi-pronged verbal attack on our maturity and intelligence, with a not-so-vague Darwinian insinuation that we were not as high up on the evolutionary scale as previously thought.
Lest you think that my sister was all sugar and spice, she was not. She was more than that. But Linda deserves far more space than I have here so I will leave her for another time.
The Verdict: Case # 1482. The Rasmussen Boys Vs Mom Raz.No doubt you are wondering how she got so high up on the pedestal. Some compare her to the cat who climbs up on the roof knowing it can't descend, but content that her 10 minutes of fame when the firemen arrive will be worth it. Others suggest she resembles more a treed bear who climbs ever higher seeking to avoid all the hullabaloo below. Knowing that she enjoys the occasional dose of hullabaloo, the truth is likely somewhere in between. One thing is for certain, she didn't climb up there on her own. I'm guessing there are at least six other suspects we need to bring in for questioning.
And yes, she does look in no hurry to climb down. And why should she? To face the heinous crimes she is supposedly guilty of? Of the cardinal maternal sin of naming a favourite? There is no evidence that can prove that she had a favourite - rather that she made each of us feel like we were the favourite. That out of a bunch of butter knives, we were the lone steak knife. (A stretch for some maybe - paring knife?)
Equally worrisome, was the charge of betting on her own team. Verdict - GUILTY! This second charge comes with no jail time. - What self-respecting mom would not bet on her own team?
I used to think that any parents of a big family would be content if all the delinquents managed to avoid incarceration. Maybe that was shooting a bit too low? Off the record Mom stated that she thought that her greatest accomplishment in life was that all of her boys "got along with each other".
I suppose the right thing to do would be to let her believe that we have a special bond - that when we see each other after a long absence we give each other deep meaningful hugs, not half men hugs. The real truth is is that we would love to be beating the living tar out of each other still, but our bodies cannot withstand the physical punishment (nor the hospitalizations). Not to mention the fact that my parole officer would be none too pleased =)
: Finally cornered for a comment before posting, Ms. Rasmussen offered the following statement: "Every one of my boys is special. I have never, ever, and will NEVER play favourites with my boys." 1
1. except on weeks when I'm mentioned in the blog