Two Real Case Studies in Snap Judgment Involving My Parents
Scenario 1: My Father
I’m watching “Evening at the Improv” in the mid-90s when my father enters the room.
“What are you watching?” he says.
“This comedienne named Ellen DeGeneres,” I say. “She’s pretty funny.”
He snorts. “Looks like a lesbian to me.” Then he takes the remote and flips the TV to “The Dallas Cowboy Weekly.” In this brief amount of time my father saw through Ellen’s façade. Something about her that he couldn’t quite describe betrayed her rejection of the penis and saved my father from wasting years enjoying her unique brand of humor and clever television shows only to find out she is excited by the thought of a vagina. He went through the heartache and betrayal of laughing at a closet homosexual with Paul Lynde, but his instincts spared him with Ellen.
Scenario 2: My Mother
My mother and I are stopped at a traffic light in her car when we see a man walking down the sidewalk. In less than five seconds, my mother assesses the situation. Using her Darwin-given instincts she realizes the man’s skin is darker than hers and she locks the car door. Racist perhaps, but what if the man had thrown down his briefcase, loosened his tie, pushed his stroller out of the way, and chased down my mother’s car? What if he had grabbed the rear bumper and brought the car to a screaming halt, throwing the back door open and dragging me off into a dark alley somewhere to fulfill his mission as an evil cyborg sent from some post-apocalyptic future in order to keep me from ever writing the Internet-based humor piece that would finally turn the revolution around? Something about the man or the situation just didn’t seem right to my mother. Perhaps it was his laser-beam eye.