POSTED BY JESSE
Since the girls wear uniforms to school all day, we do not have a dress code for the Tanner family dinner table (other than, you know, being dressed). It is advised, however, that you bring your layer of thick skin.
This family game has been played before, and will surely be played again, and I’m not even sure who started it last night, but it was probably the world’s funniest 8-year old girl, Michelle. It started with her (or someone else) declaring: “I’m going to be Jesse,” and proceeding to imitate the family member that has been named. Everyone else quickly follows suit by naming someone they will ape and soon we are sitting around the table having a “conversation” that consists of each person repeating their chosen subjects’ favorite meal-time catchphrase: Stephanie (as Danny) incessantly asked everyone how their day was, Michelle (as me) talked about watching basketball, etc.
But the real fun comes when we all take turns playing the same person at once. The script and performance are both pretty short, and I doubt Saturday Night Live will be beating down our doors any time soon, but we sure did crack each other up for about ten minutes. Even though the parroting typically consisted of a one-liner and a prop, some of them were pretty spot on. Here’s a quick review:
- Michelle: singing loud and laughing; fidgeting and clinging on other people, even if they were trying to eat their own dinner; asking to be picked up and tickled. Best Actor award: Me, for my portrayal of Michelle at meals, rocking, kneeling on, or standing next to her stool while eating…and then going the extra absurd step of rolling on the dinner table.
- Stephanie: a lot of OMGs and other “net-speak”; name-dropping of 5th grade boys that she “definitely does not like” even though their names are heard a lot; complaints about “tons of homework” that will somehow get finished before American Idol starts. Best Actor award: Danny, for his role as “slow-eating Steph”, pausing between bites to take in the scenery and chewing at a cow’s pace.
- DJ: a lot of “Oh my gosh” (note: different from “OMG”–I guess net-speak becomes less cool around 8th grade) and other teenage tone and dialect, fast-flying thumbs and a refusal to look up from a newly purchased smart phone, play-by-play recaps of what happened in Latin and science classes, and a rundown of how incompetent/unfair the rest of the world is and how it is adversely affecting her. Best Actor award: Michelle, for her cheerleader routine and broadcasting the word of a newly purchased sports bra.
- Me: donning of a baseball cap and lots of sports-talk; an eye-lock on my phone screen while announcing funny/interesting tidbits that are rolling across Twitter; responding to kids’ stories of the day with a different viewpoint on the situation or attempting to teach a lesson. Best Actor award: Stephanie, who moved to the piano to bang out some chords and sing at the top of her lungs. (am I really that loud?)
- Danny (who, of course, tried to end the game before his name came up): reading glasses and dumbbells, weird exercise positions, commenting that everything would “make a good blog post”, not knowing how to work his phone. Best Actor award: DJ, who drew the night’s biggest laugh for her depiction of “Father drinking milk from the carton”, turning up the gallon jug and then exuding faux-machismo by strutting around the kitchen talking about how it’s “my milk” because he “bought it from Harris Teeter”.
And with that, this round of Tanner family roasting was concluded.
Some people might think we’re cruel to each other, but I think if observed objectively most would conclude it’s a net positive: everyone gets a fair share and we don’t really dwell on others’ insecurities as much as their habits. And it can be funny and sometimes quite revealing to see which words and actions you put out there, and what the first thing that comes to someone’s mind when they’re “being you.”
Additionally, I have conceded that when it comes to physical pain, the Tanner girls are
kind of wimpy and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. I have induced tears from what I perceived to be light tickling and caused seemingly (at the time) irreparable damage to fingers during attempted sports outings in the driveway. I know they didn’t grow up being mercilessly flung into bushes and tackled onto tree roots by Ryan Combs, the 6-foot 6th grader with whom I played backyard football in my youth, but I had hoped to at least teach them the “brush off the dirt and keep going” routine. I don’t think it’s going to happen.
But there are different types of wimpy, and I can tell you that the Tanner girls are going to be emotionally resilient and mentally stalwart, armed to handle the inevitable rejections and insults that will come their way as they grow and learn. Hopefully, they won’t need all the good training we’re giving them in how to let things slide off your back. And hopefully they’ve already faced the toughest thing they’ll ever have to get through.