Monday, May 28, 2012


There is this commercial that played on television here in Canada a while ago. In it a child asks her mom, in an 'eeeew' kind of way, what a little bit of extra skin on her neck was. Her mother tells her, with the same tones that she would announce leukemia, 'it's a skin tag honey.' Then some miracle product that will rid her of the blight is promoted.

Well, I felt I was living that commercial. We were in the hotel room and both girls had been in 'the chair of death' four times, had played 'throw across the bed onto a mound of pillows' countless times, and were now into being tossed into the air. Ruby, just before a toss, noticed that I have one of those, admittedly a small one, beside my left eye. In an act eerily similar to the ad, she pointed and said, 'Dave, what's that?' Actually, I take that back, she didn't have the 'you have dog poo on your face' tone of voice of the commercial, she asked with curiosity.

I said, 'it's called a skin tag,' realizing as I said it that I only knew what it was called because of the commercial. If it hadn't been for the commercial I would have said, 'oh, it's nothing' because that's kind of what it is. Anyways, Ruby considered it for a moment and then said, 'So God put that there so Joe would know how much he had to pay for you.'

It was a wonderfully funny moment. Ruby has always been funny, often unintentionally so. But this was a full out Ruby joke, play on words and all. Later, we were telling her mother, who had been at work that day, about it over dinner. Ruby loves hearing 'Ruby stories' so she listened and laughed with us again. Joe made the remark, 'And 44 years later I'm still paying.'

I was about to make a remark about the fact that the price was high because he was being charged by the pound, and stopped myself. I looked at Ruby's face, laughing, enjoying having been the instigator of all this adult chatter. Suddenly I knew, deeply knew, that her joke was so completely free of 'meaness' that if I made the wieght remark and started to turn her lovely joke towards a judgement of who I was, it would betray her intent.

She had made a joke about me.

The Dave that she loves.

And that guy is valued.

So, I turned back the biggest bully I have in my life - my self - silenced the remark, and just laughed.


CL said...

What a beautiful story.

I cannot stand when commercials show family members shaming each other to promote a product -- I've seen one where a kid shames a mother into purchasing some weight loss product. It's horrible. The ones where people buy products and then their spouses find them more desirable are equally heinous. Stories like this one are a reminder that we're not born this way -- people learn to make those judgments and to have those insecurities.

Kristin said...

Love this story and I love Ruby's wit. Thanks for sharing it.

karen said...

I really value that you recognised the bully within and showed yourself the love you deserved.

Beautiful story. Beautiful family.

Anonymous said...

That Ruby is a gem. How purifying it is to laugh like that. Another memory made.

We should all remind ourselves of our unmatchable worth - we are "priceless" - to quote yet another commercial.

Thanks for sharing.

Glee said...

good man. that's a real achievement. onya mate :)

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you weren't mean to yourself, Dave. They call it "self-deprecating", but really, it's just shaming ourselves before anyone else gets a chance to--like that even helps.

It's also nice that Ruby's joke was kept loving and innocent. May they always be so!


Belinda said...

What a great joke! That is too funny!

Shan said...

It's great that you stopped yourself. I've seen the look on my kids' faces change when someone DOESN'T, and suddenly the anxiety creeps in because the kid feels like they started something mean.