Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Did Someone Say Apple?

Ever have one of those days when some cheesy '70s tune, or worse yet, the Elmo's World theme song, just will not leave your head? Y'know, you find yourself singing, humming or even whistling the insidious melody subconsciously, in your car, while on hold, as you cook dinner, during lovemaking…okay, so maybe I get this worse than the rest of you, but I'm sure you get my point.

Well, as I've learned of late, it's possible to have a similar experience with a word. Employing meticulous methods of scientific research (i.e., me, sitting in our leather chair and fiddling with my laptop while Max tears the living room apart), I have discovered that if one hears the word "apple" more than 900 times in a day, a state of temporary insanity is induced. This happened to me the other day, while Sarah was at work. (Not sure I've mentioned this before, but she's an O.R. nurse at a major Bay Area hospital.) I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but at some point, I found myself dreaming up some pretty sadistic uses for a Granny Smith.

It's really quite amazing how quickly a word can evolve from adorable new novelty act to exasperatingly mind-numbing torture device. A week ago, if Max said "apple," I ran for my camera. At some point today, he said "apple" and I kicked the dog. To be fair, it should be noted that Max isn't meaning to be repetitious—he apparently has "apple" confused with "food," or perhaps "eat", because he said it about every single item at the expansive produce store in our neighborhood. The faster I moved in an effort to distract him, the faster he let the "apples" rip.

In keeping with my recently adopted "burning at both ends" theme, it's occurred to me that Max saying "apple" 78 times in 30 seconds isn't unlike Jackson asking me for money dozens of time during a single summer morning. Actually, at least the toddler has the advantage of cuteness. Jackson is certainly more fragrant, but that hardly works in his favor, as anyone who lives with a 14-year-old boy would surely attest.

Yep, that's right, I said 14. Because, as it just so happens, today is Jackson's birthday. Not that the number 14 sets off some kind of longevity alarm, but each passing year of his life seems to be a more powerful reminder than my own birthdays are that I'm getting older. Somethings happens to us when we have that first child; it's a dividing line separating two completely divergent lives—the parent, and whatever it was that came before. I can barely remember that Tony now. I think he went through a lot of jobs and was completely flummoxed by women. But he had a lot of fun, too.

Some days, when my skull is ringing from the repetitive stresses of having kids, I wonder what the hell I was thinking all those years ago. But then I see Jackson's face light up when he's happy or Max being the goofy, hilarious, uninhibited toddler most of us wish we could still be, and it's all worth it. Well, all of it except that damned Elmo's World theme. Holy crap, I hate that freakin' tune.