Secrets and Sand

Monday, 21 March 2011

Here’s one of my pet peeves:

When people say they have a secret, but that they can’t or won’t tell you.

Nothing says “I’d like some attention please” like saying you have a secret (except maybe maintaining your own blog).

I can recall several instances of friends performing this little bit of narcissism throughout my life, but online social networking has taken this to a new level.

Here’s the deal: if you have a secret that you can’t/won’t let me know about right now, then just don’t even tell me you have a secret. After we told our family that Jennifer was pregnant (back in ’04 – with Owen), a few of them commented on what good secret-keepers we were. Yeah, it’s true, we are awesome secret-keepers, and the reason is because we didn’t run around saying: “Guess what? We have some big news. But we can’t say what it is right now.”

Here’s why it’s advantageous for you, the secret-holder, to keep your mouth shut: it’s just gonna make the big news that much less special, perhaps even anticlimactic. For example, suppose you say, “I have some big news that I have to keep secret right now,” …well, then everyone just starts guessing (at least in their mind). Are you getting married? Are you pregnant (or, if you’re male, is a woman with whom you’ve recently coupled pregnant)? Are you moving to Tajikistan? Did you win the lottery? Then, when you do reveal that – Surprise! – you bought a puppy, we’ll all be like, “oh, was that all?”

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Did I ever blog about my sand timer? Here’s a recent picture of it:

The sand timer’s history goes back several decades, at which time my great-grandparents (my dad’s mom’s parents) acquired it under circumstances and location unbeknown to me. It sat on their shelf for many years.

In the mid-1980s, following the death of my great-grandmother, my grandma flew to California to help her dad sort through his wife’s possessions. My grandma came home with, among other things, this sand timer.  It sat on her shelf for four or five years.

Then, one day in early 1990, it was sitting on a table in her garage as an item in her garage sale. I asked if I could have it, and my mom said, “I don’t want to take all of your Nana’s things. If it doesn’t sell, you can have it at the end of the day.”  I ensured it would not sell by deftly switching the price from $4.00 to $14.00. Fretting that that was not enough, I later added in another 1, uping the asking price to $114.00. At the end of the day, I was allowed to bring the timer home. It sat on my shelf for many years.

About two years ago, in an effort to help Owen calm down and get to sleep at night, I brought the timer into his room and set it on his nightstand. Turning it over to allow the sand to pour through, I told him of all its owners and explained how watching its methodical filtering can help his drift off to sleep.

Anyway, he broke it today. It was an accident, and he was sad about it – even to the point of getting out of bed and coming into the living room crying that he didn’t have the timer to help him get to sleep tonight. When it first broke, he said, “Can we get a new one?”

The answer is…not really.

Of course, I have other things from my parents and grandparents, but most things are gifts they bought from me. I have hardly anything that they themselves once owned. I have that evolution book I discussed last month (CLICK HERE), and I have this knick-knack from my maternal grandparents:

…but that’s about it.

Here’s a more recent picture of the sand timer:

R.I.P., old friend.

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