Somehow I get the feeling that you thought meeting my parents was going to explain a few things about me, but instead, the whole affair just left you with more questions. Believe me, I'm feeling you. They have that effect.
I should start by saying that there's no one like my folks. They're bright, decent, progressive, civic-minded (with the possible exception of a certain contempt they reserve for a certain antisocial, tool-appropriating neighbor of theirs), and I hold them in the highest esteem.
They've always made it a point to indulge my curiosity, and for that I have them to thank for my expertise in astronomy, paleontology, coins, comic books and all the other things for which Shawn likes to make fun of me. And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the genetic serendipity I call the SuperSniffer, right?
All told, I could have done way worse in the parental units department, but then they wound up in jail at Christmas.
I mean, is there anything more jarring than seeing the two people you've looked to all your life for guidance being taken away in handcuffs (twice!) by the SBPD? The whole affair just touched off a firestorm of feelings for me, which, coupled with the usual aggravation associated with working alongside Shawn, kind of rattled my cage.
It just got me to thinking of everything my parents said and did to keep me on the happy side of the law when I was coming up. They definitely set a good example, I've got to give them that. My dad was always an electronics whiz, and he could have easily rigged up a fake cable box, but he never did. And my mom? Go ahead and ask her if she's ever made an illegal U-turn, and she'll give you the answer in capital letters: NO. And I believed her.
And then I was left wondering – was it all for show? Were my parents really in tune to the straight and narrow, or where there some transgressions that maybe I didn't know about? I started thinking maybe I didn't really know them at all. Maybe they were CIA operatives or counter-revolutionaries. A person thinks these things when their foundation has been shaken.
As you can probably guess, Shawn reacted predictably to these speculations – ignoring my vulnerable state and laughing himself right out my chair. So I called my brother in Connecticut. I don't talk to him nearly as much as I should, but hey – two jobs, right?
Now, my bro has always had his head together, so I was a little shocked when he said that he always thought they'd wind up in dutch with the law sooner or later – they were due. After I asked him if he was, in fact, talking about our parents, it became clear that he viewed them much differently than I did – he actually thought of them as, er, people.
It was a little mind blowing, as understanding tends to be, but he was right. My parents were people; people who always told me to have conviction and heart and to stand up for what's right, even if I was the only one doing it. They'd been through the sixties before I was around, so you know they'd seen things. But that was all before, so naturally, I didn't think of my parents the firebrands, I just knew them as Mom and Dad.
I felt better after this. I was still a little mortified my folks spent part of the holidays behind bars – but in a weird way, I was actually a little proud of them. Who would have thought seeing your folks hauled away would stir up so much good feeling? I guess that's the holidays for you.