Friday, December 16, 2005

I Come By It Honestly

Its quite frightening when you start thinking about some of your peculiar habits and realize that they are directly connected to things that your parents do or did. The truly frightening part maybe being that if these are the habits from my parents that I have identified, what are the habits gained from them that I have yet to identify?

Why its hard for me to pass by a Speedway Gas Station without pulling in for some coffee or a fountain Diet Coke is not all that hard to figure out? As kids, and even now, my dad would practically BEG us to go to the gas station with him. (This might also be linked to my lunch in a gas station episode.) My dad,in spite of us his status as the eternal dieter, will forever be slave to the gas station snack and beverage. You won't believe how long he went on the other day about how they've changed the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie.

But other practices of my own are not as easily identified as those influenced by my parents. As you are aware, I have a strong fancy for Spider Solitaire these days, and in the evenings, I've even had to resort to just shutting down my computer to keep myself from wasting my evening moving digital playing cards around on the screen. One might question where such addictive behavior stems from, until one understand this about my father:

Ella and Pat returned home from my dad's house on Sunday evening with a stuffed moose in tow. This is probably at least the 5th time in a row that Ella has returned home from being at my dad and step mom's house with a new stuffed animal, in spite of my insistence that Ella has MORE than enough soft cuddly pals. Is your dad addicted to buying cheap stuffed animals? WORSE! He's addicted to WINNING cheap stuffed animals. My dad, a well paid director for a major shipping company, a college graduate, and a man nearly 50 years in age, simply can not resist "The Claw"! Yes, that arcade game where you try to manipulate a loose metal claw in order to obtain a stuffed animal or equally as chintzy item. He can not exit Walmart without at least inspecting the "animal tank" to see if there are any animals ripe for the picking. Should there be an animal in position to be grabbed, he simply can not let it go. He must have it.

The obsession is not a new one. When my parents were first divorced and my dad was forced into finding ways to entertain us on the weekends we spent with him, he often took us to the arcade at Union Station where "The Claw" machines were plentiful. The highlight of time spent in this arcade was the night that one of "The Claw" machines was broke, thus allowing you to play over and over without inserting any money. I think each of us had obtained a couple of prizes each before my dad decided that we might be taking advantage of the situation. He's a moral man!

I have no hopes that the stuffed animals will stop coming any time soon. The last I was there, my dad revealed that, in spite of how many stuffed animals that both Ella and my niece have already received, there are more to be had. He opened the coat closet to reveal a shelf teeming with fuzzy friends just waiting for a home!

I blame it all on him!

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