Friday, March 27, 2009
In the Land of Lollipops
A couple of weeks ago, Robbie and I were sitting on the couch eating pudding and watching "The Biggest Loser" (that show always makes me hungry). Suddenly, the pudding triggered a memory and I burst into a fit of giggles. Robbie of course wanted to know what was so funny, so in between my microbursts of laughter, I attempted to tell the story.
"When I was little, my mom once let me take a bath in pudding."
"WHAT?! No she didn't!"
"Yes she did! It wasn't a full bathtub, but she made several packets and put it in a big pile on one end of the tub."
"That does not sound like your mom at all."
"I know, that's part of why it was so awesome!!! A friend of mine got to do it, so I asked my mom if I could do it too and I was really surprised when she agreed."
"Your mom would never let you do something that messy."
"It wasn't that messy - all she did was turn the water on and rinse it all down the drain afterward."
Robbie gave me a look that clearly said he wasn't buying this.
"Why would I make this up? I will call my mom tomorrow and prove it to you!"
He shook his head and made some derogatory comment about my memory.
"Oh, and when has my memory failed me before. Name one example."
I was getting downright indignant now.
"Um, how about the time you tried to convince me that you once caught a fish with nothing but marshmallows tied to the end of a string on a stick?"
I pursed my lips together tightly in an attempt to look strong while fighting back laughter. He had dealt a damaging blow on that one - when we first got together I made the mistake of relating this fishing story and he enjoyed recounting it to everyone we met for months afterward. I quickly realized that pulling a fish out of the water with nothing but a marshmallow defied the laws of nature, but out of spite, I refused to back down.
Finally, we went on a fishing trip with a friend and Robbie challenged me to reenact my angling feat. I stared so hard at that limp fishing line, willing a fish to prove me right, but it didn't budge. In my defense, we didn't have any marshmallows.
Also in my defense, I was defying a man who - along with his father - spent months trying to convince me that his grandpa trained monkeys to drive trucks. The piece de resistance was when his dad found a photo of a monkey standing on a tractor with its hands on the steering wheel. "They have to start their training somewhere," Robbie insisted.
But back to the pudding.
The next day, I called my mom, anxious to be vindicated. After recounting the story, there was a pause on the other end of the line.
"No, I never let you take a bath in pudding!"
I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"I let you finger paint in it while you were in your highchair, but I would never spend that much money to let you bathe in it!"
"But it wasn't a full bathtub - I remember being slightly disappointed about that. If I was going to make up a memory, wouldn't I imagine an entire bathtub full?!"
We argued for a few more minutes and then I gave up. "I'm going to call my sister - she will remember."
I knew she was at work, so I sent her a text message. Several hours later, I got a message back saying, "Yes, I remember the time mom let you take a chocolate pudding bath." I gave out a triumphant yelp and did a victory dance as I read the message out loud to Robbie.
After I calmed down, I sent her a message thanking her for giving me proof. I gloated for the rest of the day, but the next morning, I woke up to find this message:
"Proof of what? That you're delusional?"
Now I was confused. I went back to the original message and quickly realized I hadn't scrolled all the way down. This was the full message:
"Yes, I remember the time mom let you take a chocolate pudding bath, that was the day after we ran through the candy cane forest and climbed gum drop mountain."
A few days later, Robbie recounted this whole story with glee to a friend of ours who's getting her Ph.D. in psychology. When she stopped laughing, she told us about a study on memory where researchers got parents to share stories about their children's early years. Then the researchers would tell the stories back to the adult children, mixing real memories with fake ones. At first, the adult children wouldn't remember the fake memories, but a few days later, they brought them in and questioned them again. By this time, they had fabricated the details of the fake memories - completely convinced that they had actually happened.
I saw her point, but I can't let go of the fact that I wouldn't fabricate a memory about a bathtub with a big pile of pudding when I could have fabricated a memory about an entire bathtub FULL of pudding!
I don't care what my family thinks - maybe I didn't climb gum drop mountain or lure a fish out of the water with a marshmallow. But I DID take a bath in pudding.
And it was awesome.