The Quirks

quirkI am hiding from my mom.

I’m holed up in my brother’s room, which has so much technology that it seems I could launch a thermonuclear war from my parent’s attic. On the coffee table are three remotes that control the behemoth entertainment system in front of me. I hesitantly touch a button and wince at the lights it produces.

A few footsteps betray my mother’s approach near the base of the attic steps. I remain perfectly still and cast my eyes at the ground as though I were being circled by a silver backed gorilla. She moves away. I breathe, go back to my remote controls.


I wish I remembered my brother’s induction seminar. I touch another remote, it makes the lights go away.


I have been home for 16 hours.

I have a quirky family. From my dad to our pets, we are all a little…unique.

At a restaurant, my dad recites the menu to us as though it is Danish epic poetry. “Dragonfire Salmon. A hearty Norwegian salmon fillet grilled to perfection and glazed in a kung pao sauce. Served with pineapple pico de gallo, mandarin oranges, ginger-lime slaw and fresh steamed broccoli. Broccoli? Man…”

“Dad, I’ve read that already. I can read it. We all can.”

“Parmesan-crusted Crab Salmon. A hearty Norwegian salmon fillet grilled to perfection and crowned with deviled crabmeat and crispy parmesan crust topping. Served with your choice of two sides.…”

“Please stop.” I am aggravated because my father is interrupting my pre-dinner attack plan. I will have the Kansas City BBQ burger with fries and coleslaw. An attack plan is integral do I don’t eat too much of one thing and neglect another.

It ruins the meal. My plan: I’ll take four bites of the burger, eat three fries and then two forkfuls of slaw, drink two straws of iced tea and repeat.

And my weirdo dad is interrupting.

My mom gets involved. She tucks a napkin into her shirt and wades out into familiar waters. “Damien and Chris,” she pauses. My brother and I know exactly what’s happening. She’s got our attention and now she’s thinking of a task to give us.

My mother has perfected the art of adding a task to every single interaction she has with one of her children. Do you want breakfast? Bring that table to the other room. Did you have a nice day? Pile these boxes in that closet. Good morning, today please walk the dog and clean out a spot in the garage for my truck. Carry that laundry basket upstairs…oh, and Merry Christmas.

First of all, I agree 100% with the exchange of free room and delicious board for some chores. Second, chances are pretty good that raising four kids and one dentist have made my mother a task giving machine. Surely she learned a long time ago that if she took every opportunity to give a task to the other five people in her house then maybe 25% of what she needed to get done would actually get done.

Still, my brother and I are convinced that in a past life she was the foreman of a chain gang.

She continues, “…tonight, before you start drinking I want you to bring that bed frame up the steps, OK?”

As stated in the unwritten family rules, we protest instantly. My protest revolves around the fact that I had already set aside time for matching my socks and ensuring that none of my shaving kit liquids have exploded in flight. I’m also going to count how many spaces remain in my passport and figure out how many trips I can take before it expires. Now it appears that my plans are ruined by my zany mother, Boss Godfrey.

My brother’s protest is more succinct. “Can’t. I have to show Damien how to use my remotes.”

He is not joking.

The waiter comes and my dad learns his entire lineage before we can order appetizers.

We are not the only quirky ones in our family. There are two sisters and a pet who are just as strange. One sister plans her day to the footstep, the other one wouldn’t go to the bathroom in public if she had cholera. Our dog is senile and spends most of our walks turning to me and barking because she’s wondering who this stranger is that’s walking her around and carrying a bag of her poop.

Everyone has a strange family. And if you think your family is weird and you want to feel a little better about it, just search images for strange family. I just did to find a picture for this post and it’s rather eye-opening. I have a strange family, but it’s A-okay with me, because it’s exactly what makes my family my family.

We are the Quirks.

I hear the footsteps approach the attic steps again; I am juggling the remotes on my lap. In the entertainment center, there’s half a face in lights. I had made it so there is a right eye, a left nostril and half of a smile. I am almost there.



She’s found me. I wouldn’t answer, but she might call the police and put in a missing person’s report. “Yes?”

“Can you come down here and hand me this comb?”


I put down the remotes and head towards the door. I guess I’ll have to build my entertainment system Jack O’ Lantern tomorrow night.

My family is so weird.

  1. #1 by Tiffany N. York on July 24, 2014 - 7:18 pm

    I loooove stories about zany families. It’s all grist for the mill. I plan on stealing your mom’s subtly manipulative way to get things done. She sounds like a hoot, as does your dad.

    Enjoy your time home!

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