This week’s topic is “favorite things”, but since Louise and Jennifer already wrote clever lists of favorite things, I’m not going to do that. I hate to compete in games I know I’m going to lose. It’s a character flaw, and I’ll never change. So instead,I spent the past two days listening to my own endless blather and coming up with a list of my favorite things to talk about. Besides changing it up from what Jennifer and Louise have perfected, this has the added benefit of allowing me to talk even MORE about the things I like to talk about. So here they are:
THINGS I CAN’T SHUT UP ABOUT LATELY
(1) POLITICS!! Thank God for my friend Jules, who is as obsessed as I am with this quadrennial clusterfuck we call a presidential election. We spend our morning walks dissecting everything from Bernie Sanders’ perpetual slouch to Hillary’s horrible urine-colored suits to how Ted Cruz’s face’s resembles a giant naked butt to Donald Trump’s….well, everything. But that’s just the start. All day long we text about the nuances of delegate selection, convention rules, and polling. We know exactly how many delegates are up for grabs in each primary, we follow fivethirtyeight.com with a devotion that borders on slavish. Not even my son talks about sports as much as we talk about politics. When we hit the road in November to get people to the polls for Hillary (or Bernie, but who are you kidding, Bern? It won’t be you) it will be five days of immersion therapy that will only manage to turn us off the subject for about a month.
(2) STEPHEN CURRY! Oh, my GOD, Steph Curry, what a marvel. He’s like a fey little pixie, dancing all over the basketball court rolling basketballs off his fingertips like fairy dust. At least on this subject I’ve got more than one person to talk to, because the entire Bay Area can’t stop talking about the Warriors. Just today I’ve had two in-depth conversations with store clerks who, like me, have suddenly become medically proficient in the treatment of metacarpal ligament strains.
(3) GENEALOGY! This one is new, because about 48 hours ago I decided to research my family tree, so I joined Ancestry.com to figure that shit out. What a mindblowing time suck that place is! Especially when your last name is Young and your ancestors have a weird fixation with the name John. Did you know there are over 40,000 people named John Young who have lived on this earth in the last century alone? Did you further know that, if you’re descended from one William Howell born in 1711, there’s a lady in Ohio who’s soliciting blood samples from his direct male descendants just so she can figure out whether he’s the son of the New Jersey Hugh Howell or the New York Hugh Howell? Is it wrong that I’m seriously considering tying my 16-year-old son down and drawing a syringe of his blood? Actually, I could just poke him with a needle during a Warriors game, and he’d never notice.
(4) BLURBS!! Okay, this one is no fun at all, but since I need to get blurbs for my book by May 11, I’m going on about it rather incessantly. If you’re a published author and you’ve read my book and you like it, can you send me a blurb by May 11? Pretty please????? My entire family will thank you almost as much as I will.
(5) COLLEGE!!!! My daughter is about to graduate from high school, and May 1 is the deadline for seniors to decide what college they want to go to. My daughter already knows (Whitman College! Go Fighting Missionaries*!), but everybody else’s kid is in the agonizing throes of a decision they are certain will decide their fate for ever and ever and ever, so I’ve been in 47 conversations this week that start, “Does ______ know where he’s going to school yet?” I actually love these conversations, though, because this is a small town and I’ve known most of these kids since they were five. I feel like they’re all my nieces and nephews, and I really want to know which sweatshirt they’ll be wearing in the fall.
I realize all of the above makes me sound like the absolute last person you’d ever want to be stuck in a bus shelter with, but I promise I talk about other things, too. I can’t think of them right now, is all. Though I’m sure —ooh! I see somebody I know!! Excuse me, I have to run over and ask where her daughter’s going to college!
* Yes, that is the actual name of the Whitman mascot, a triumph of bad nomenclature that manages in one stroke to offend at least half a dozen discrete groups of people, not least of which are Native Americans and missionaries. There’s a movement afoot to change it to the Ducks. Otherwise: great school!!!