Sunday, January 1, 2012

Proper Table Setting and Other Useless Knowledge

Today, while holding down a couch in case gravity reversed, some friends of ours and we were enjoying some greasy post-drinking grub. Football was on, my jersey was shiny and red, and Sky King was sulking to the sound of penalty flags hitting the field.

Out of the blue, our friend Tommy Bahama said, "What side does the spork go on"? Instead of reprimanding him for ending a sentence with a preposition (because one of my resolutions was to be more compassionate), I told him the answer was quite easy.  Easy, if I knew the way a table is supposed to be set.

A long time ago, my mom spent an entire summer teaching me to be domestic in order to snag a husband so that I could learn to live among humans without causing too many embarrassing moments. Actually, I'm not altogether sure why she did this, but it was incredibly handy. And, I have drawn upon these things she taught me in various times of my life. I have also tried to teach many of these things to my children-thanks, Mom, for such a great idea!

Anywho, during our domestic summer, I did many things: meal planning, shopping, ironing, sewing on a button.  And, I am sure, learning how to set a proper table. Things that have to do with spatial orientation are not my strong suit however, so the lesson did not stick. I know the spoon and knife go together, and you work from the outside, in, during a dining experience. But I can never recall on which side the fork goes, nor which water glass is mine. Being left-handed hasn't helped, either.

But I digress. Let's find out, shall we?

 Aside from the fact that, sign me up for a meal with 4 glasses of wine, there is a clear lack of direction, in reference to the almighty spork. Taco Bell and school lunch programs global-wide did not invent it, however.

Let's break this down.  Spork.  Spoon + fork.  Spoon being the first reference, you could argue that the spoon is more dominant, therefore it is a variety of a spoon.  Or, you could argue that it's a catch-all utensil but has tines, and as such would go where the forks go.  Both are wrong. Or right.  Because I like to argue, and I like to win. But, I also have the answer!  When I told them, Tommy Bahama and his wife both looked at me like I was insane.  Not that this is a new development, but this time, it was a look of, "what the hell did you just say, what does it mean, and how do you even know that" kind of look.

I said, "It goes wherever the spoon goes, because it's a spoon. A runcible spoon.". (I wish you could see my computer screen, because even Word doesn't know what I know-I can tell because it is giving me the angry red line of disapproval under the word "runcible". Hey, I'm smarter than A COMPUTER!)

Anyways-in addition to teaching me how to do a bunch of chores she likely was planning on assigning to me, my mom also had this amazingly annoying habit of referring me to a dictionary whenever I wanted to know what a word meant.

Me: Hey, mom. What's a "sexton"?
Mom: Look it up.

I'd slink off.  Then, about an hour later, she would be all, "So, what's a sexton?" and I'd be all, I gave up.  And she would make me go look it up and come back to her, with the answer.  Super annoying. So then I'd have to dig the stupid book out of the trash, because I didn't like things that irritated me then any more than I do now.  And I would have to look it up. Then I would have to go back to her, and we would discuss it.

Me: Mom, what's "shat"?
Mom:  Ha!  Look it up! I'd like to see you put THAT on your vocab worksheet for the week!  (I did, it's the past tense of "shit" as in, "that dog shat on my lawn" or "while I now use convenient restroom facilities, it is true that I spent the first couple years of my life encased in cotton cloth diapers, in which I had shat")

Me: Mom? What's a runcible spoon?
Mom: LOOK. IT. UP.  And why are you reading poetry from the 19th Century, anyway?
Me: Because you put me in a classroom for gifted kids, instead of in the fun classes that get to do art. (See? I had "Future Evil Genius" on my permanent record, even then!)-Actually, I probably didn't say that, because she would have said, "Aimee, why are you being so damned dramatic?" and I would have had to sulk some more, and I STILL would have to look up the answer to my question once I was done sulking, so I probably said, "I dunno".

So, because I am totally nicer than my mom (unless you are one of my kids, then I am WAY meaner), here you go:
From Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat

They dined on mince and slices of quince,
which they ate with a runcible spoon. 

While I was sitting around avoiding ironing and waiting for Atari to be invented, I was reading poetry. And it seems that there was an owl and a cat in a boat, chowing on some grub. With some crazy-ass tool I had never heard of.

So the next day, I got to go to school and be extremely informative at lunch time. While we were all eating our greasy slab of pizza and slurping our chocolate milk out of paper cartons, I said, "Hey guys!  THIS is a runcible spoon!"

It's amazing I didn't get my ass kicked more as a child.

Or maybe I did, and I suppressed it, and all my therapy sessions are going to uncover years of physical and emotional wounds. And then, I will have to spend years in intense psychotherapy, trying to get my childhood back.

In case it takes too long, the runcible spoon goes on the right, to the right of the knife.

Dude-who do you think I am, The Oatmeal?  Or Allie from Hyperbole and a Half? (Like either one of them need more links to their already-completely-adored blogs, but I love them both, so there ya go)  This is the best it gets-y'all are lucky I figured out how to do THIS much. If I knew how to use my scanner, I would've done it on paper with crayons, so consider yourself lucky.

See? In 2012, if you resolved to learn new and interesting things, you can now totally cross that shit off your list.  You're welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Clearly the clever combination of words that are part of other words is the key to your success...

    Or more likely that popular blogs were referenced, or far more likely, brilliant bloggers saw the need for runcible references and linked to this post.