Sunday, September 28, 2008

I was more deprived than you were. So there!

Published September 28, 2008
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

When you marry someone, no matter how long you’ve known that person, there will always be those moments of shock and amazement when you discover something you never knew about your spouse. It’s only natural. No matter how similar they may be, married individuals are just that: individuals. Different childhoods and life experiences lead to inevitable differences. Today, I’m focusing on childhoods, but more specifically, deprived ones.

My husband and I had our moment of shock and amazement as we were traveling down the interstate to his sister Mary’s house, where she and their sister, Diane, were visiting together. Somehow (I suspect psychic, folk-singing aliens), the subject made its way to children’s music, and my husband began reminiscing about something called the “Ram Sam Sam” song. I looked at him blankly and asked what the Ram Sam Sam song was.

You’d have thought I asked who Walt Disney was. The rest of the drive was filled with questions about the kind of parents who raise a child without knowledge of the Ram Sam Sam song, how I could possibly have been his friend for so long without ever hearing it, and what the ramifications might be for our future together. Stepping a little more firmly on the gas peddle, he resolved that he and his sisters would remedy this awful situation as soon as humanly possible.

Mary and Diane reacted with much the same shock and dismay as my husband. The three of them proceeded to give me an impromptu but spirited performance of the piece complete with harmony, hand movements, and alternate versions. While I very much enjoyed the show (these Clarks can sing!), I was intrigued by the fact that there were starving children in the world, and my new relatives seriously thought my childhood was deprived because I never learned to sing “gooly gooly gooly gooly gooly ram sam sam.”

I shook my head and chuckled to myself, pondering on the weird family I’d married into and their strange notions of what constitutes deprivation. I took great pride in the fact that I had no such notions of my own.

And then it was time for some ice cream…the great equalizer. Watching a movie together, my husband and I determined, via the approved method (paper covers rock), that he should run upstairs and dish us each a bowl of ice cream. As he stood up from the couch, I said, “I’d like mine with chocolate syrup and rice crispies.” He looked at me like I’d just told him to serve it up with a side of sardines, and before I could even think about my previous pride, I found myself as shocked as a Ram Sam Sam fanatic on a Utah freeway.

“OH MY GOSH!” I gasped, checking my pulse for signs of impending cardiac failure, “You’ve never had cereal on ice cream. What…? How…? Really? How…? What kind of childhood did you have?” He looked at me blankly, no doubt distracted by thoughts of starving children and the relative strangeness of the family into which he just married.

Apparently, childhood deprivation, like so many other things, is a completely subjective subject. These situations have led to further discussions involving Mary Poppins, Disneyland, microwaved marshmallows, and great, big lollipop moons. We’re now even more convinced that the other grew up with the kind of deprivation that charitable organizations are created to prevent. Luckily for us, we both grew up listening to the Dr. Demento show on the radio, so the situation appears to be a draw.

Though, anyone with half a brain would agree cereal on ice cream trumps Ram Sam Sam any day.