We all love our grandmothers. They make us feel big when we’re small and small when we’re big. Mine has given me some of the most useful knowledge I have. Yet no matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to return the favor. Here are a few of the concepts I struggle with – every time I visit.
1. Time zones are vertical.
There is more time difference between New York and Los Angeles than there is between New York and Buenos Aires. You’d think this was an easy one, but no. The fact that the orbit of the sun has been known for millenia does not stop my grandmother insisting that the farther away something is, the bigger the time difference must be.
2. Homosexuality is not a sport.
People who are gay have not chosen to be gay just for the fun of it. Having said that I always try to distract her when the gay pride parades are on TV. Sort of undermines the argument.
3. We know how old things are.
I immidiately find myself drowned by inhumanly sharp scepticism when I thoughtlessly support scientists who say they’ve dug up another fossil, aged “2,7 million years…ish”. Apparently, grandmothers expect anything scientifically related to contain as many decimals as possible.
4. Satanism is Christianity.
This consistently lures out The Brows in her. In essence Satanism is the sphere of Christianity turned upside down. The same mythology but with a different quarterback. That sentence always cuts my week’s waffle rations in half. My brothers love it.
5. Comedians don’t mean what they say.
A woman standing in front of a microphone saying, “the neighbor’s kid was so ugly at birth that her parents were charged with vandalism“, is not being serious. The ever popular shock humor is not particularly compatible with my grandmother for some reason. “If you can’t stand for what you say, don’t stand up and say it.” I’m glad she hasn’t seen The Aristocrats.
6. The world is much more dangerous now than 100 years back.
Among the countless casualties due to commonplace domestic violence, murders, wars and disease, she still finds the news coverage of illegal immigrants an alarming symbol of society’s unprecedented decay.
7. Mars is not “just outside the moon”.
Even with all her distrust in scientists, she seems impatient as to when mankind will finally colonize Mars. This is often a stalemate position in which I graciously acknowledge the inadequacies of modern science while she admits that we’ve at least made it to the Moon. Somehow her impatience with NASA is rubbing off on me. What’s the hold up? Aren’t you guys quite literally rocket scientists?
8. Jesus is a Moslem prophet.
Another religious one. Originally meant as a gateway to finding common denominators between religions, this is now believed to be a case of bizarre blasphemy on my part. Since I don’t own a copy of the Quran I can’t show her references beside the dubious internet. I might as well be showing her post-its from colleagues.
9. There are differences between a doctor and a homeopath.
This is a particularly sore subject for a few of my med. school friends. Yet in trying to explain the gruelling education, impressive credentials and high stature of doctors, they gradually collapse into the same category as rocket scientists with all those diplomas who can’t even colonize Mars. I mean, cure the common cold.
10. It is possible to use the internet daily without stumbling across illegal pornography.
It’s one of the most unfortunate of observations that whenever the internet is mentioned in the news, it’s more often than not related to police raids against illegal material in some form. Thus my grandmother’s perception of the internet is one of terrorist organizations + child abuse + horse misapplication. Yet she sees me sitting with a laptop half the time I’m visiting.
Sometimes I’m surprised I get waffles at all.
Published in: Family