Wednesday, August 5, 2009


When my big kids were small kids, I had several rules that had rather unorthodox names. One that comes to mind is the "Tickle Me Elmo" rule, so named because Middle Child had an annoying habit of setting that dumb Elmo doll off every time I was in a particularly tense traffic situation. The Tickle Me Elmo rule stated simply that Mom had the right, at any time, to confiscate any toy that made noise in the car, and toss it out the window into oncoming traffic. I never had to actually make good on the threat, though I will admit to dangling a toy or two out the window on occasion, but all I had to say to silence a noisy toy was "Remember the Tickle Me Elmo rule!" and all would turn silent in the back seat.

Most of those rules no longer apply. Rarely do they make any noise at all in the backseat, instead choosing to sit side by side with headphones in, texting other people. But one rule that still applies is the "Stupidhead Rule", which I find myself using on a regular basis, not only for them, but for myself and, indeed, other adults.

The Stupidhead Rule came to be when my children were elementary school aged. One of them would come in, crying, because someone had called a name- like "Stupidhead", for example. "MOM!!!!!! He called me a stupidhead!!!!!"

I'd look at the child in question very calmly and ask, "Well, ARE you a stupidhead?"

Obviously, the answer would typically be "no", and I would advise the child to disregard the statement, since it was clearly false. So the Stupidhead Rule, simply stated, "Ask yourself if the criticism applies, and if not, throw it out." After awhile, all I'd have to say is "use the Stupidhead Rule!" and they'd know what I meant.

I still use it. It came in handy when I was in customer service for a food delivery company, and many times I'd think of it when I was starting to get stressed out. I'd ask myself, "Are you a rotten lying sack of excrement who stole this man's money and has no intention of making sure he gets the correct food?"

(Most of the time, no.)

Today I was talking to a good friend who is having trouble with a bully. She was sad, because he called her a long string of expletives, but honestly, the words, when taken away from the emotion, didn't even make sense. If anything, taken literally, they presented a pretty amusing mental image. Expletives are sort of funny, when you think about it, if you take them literally.

This friend has known my family for a long time, so I asked her the question, "Are you a {long and nonsensical string of expletives}?"

She giggled a little bit. "No, I really don't think I am a {long and nonsensical string of expletives}."

She's no Stupidhead, that's for sure.


Janet said...

That's brilliant. I'm going to steal both rules. I'll give proper credit when necessary.

Kat said...

We have the stupidhead rule at our house too. I am sooo tired of the girls complaining about what bizarre name a sister concocted. I wish they would just actually follow the stupidhead rule...