Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Idiocy Gene

The human species would not survive without females, and not for the obvious reason, either. The thing is, the males would never survive their teen years, when the Idiocy Gene kicks in, without the oversight of women.

Scientists used to think that the Idiocy Gene stimulated the male brain with the neurological message, "Act first, think later." Recent research has shown, however, that the actual neurological message is, "Hey, guys! Watch THIS!"

It's been my experience that the Idiocy Gene is triggered around age 11. I think it has something to do with the beginning surges of testosterone. I was involved in this exchange a few years ago with my eldest son when I first recognized it:

Son: Mom, can you sew me a suit?

Me, beaming: Sure, honey. What did you have in mind? Double-breasted would look good on you.

Son: I want it to be like one of those leotards with long sleeves. And it needs to have wings attached at the wrists and ankles. And Garrett [the next-door neighbor boy] needs one, too.

Me (red lights and sirens going off in my brain): Uuhhh, what do you guys want these suits for?

Son, with a tone of excited anticipation: Me and Garrett are going to jump off his barn roof and FLY!

Me: Yeah, I'll get right on it.

I always hoped my younger son would escape the effects of the dreaded Idiocy Gene, but alas, I witnessed the full fruits of it last week. Coming out of my bedroom, I heard some whispers, immediately followed by a loud, thumping sound, like a bunch of lumberjacks doing the hokey-pokey upstairs. I looked up in time to see my younger son riding his now-wheeless skateboard down the carpeted stairs, surf-board style. If I'd known ahead of time, I could have set up the CD player to play the appropriate background music, "Wipeout," when he crashed into the wall at the bottom of the stairway.

Meanwhile, my girls were seated at the dining room table, having a tea party, demonstrating that girls don't have the Idiocy Gene. At a tea party, no one gets hurt and no load-bearing walls are knocked down.

And the Idiocy Gene is not just in my boys, either. When my fifteen year old nephew was here last month, he came home in need of first aid after attempting to roller blade down the slide at the local park. I was nearly overcome with sympathy and compassion as I rolled my eyes and threw a bandaid at him.

Of course, my sons and my nephew come by the Idiocy Gene naturally. My husband was blessed with an abundance of it in his youth. By the age of 20, his body was held together mostly with sutures, staples, Krazy Glue, and a couple of rubber bands. He holds the world record for Quickest Ending to a Family Vacation, you know. His parents drove to the lake, and before his dad even had the car engine turned off, Husband went out on the dock, messed around, fell off, and split his head open on a boat prop. If I'm not mistaken, his family spent a part of every vacation taking in the sights and sounds of the nearest emergency room.

Well, I must retire to bed. I've learned that the Idiocy Gene really surges when a mother is not around, so I have to be up early in the morning before my boys decide to play hockey with hard-boiled eggs. On the roof. Blindfolded.

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