29 November 2007

She blinded me with science

One of the horrors of the junior high years is The Science Fair. I've spent years now as a judge, and for the last two years, the son has been a participant.

The son did well last year and actually won a cash prize at the county level, which was nice for him. It was an interesting project, with some surprising results, and I rather wish that he'd decided to follow through with additional testing this year, but no, he wants to do something new. Of course.

Since the spouse and I have both worked in the sciences, and the son is something of a science superstar at school, he is naturally expected to have a really awesome project. Unfortunately, for him, Mom and Dad are less than helpful (read: we are not the sort of parents who do projects for our kids. Although last year, of necessity, we did help him with construction since he dislocated his patella in the middle of the proceedings and was having some difficulty pouring concrete while ensconced in an immobilization brace). This hasn't stopped him from pestering me for the last week.

The son: "I need a topic for the science fair."

Me: "That's nice. What are you going to do?"

The son: "Maybe we should talk about this next week."

Me: "I'm not talking about it at all."

The son: "MO-OM!"

Me, reciting familiar sermon: "I already graduated from eighth grade and feel no need to do the work again..."

The son: "MO-OM."

Me: "'Synchronized Sneering: a mother-son perspective.'"

The son sighs.

Me, dramatically: "How about 'Male Refrigerator Blindness: Fact or Urban Legend'?"

Silence. The son and I look at each other.

In unison: "Heyyyyyyyyy."

Me: "It would be really funny. You could test the whole neighborhood. I bet we could even get the Soaring Rodents to participate if we pay them a beer."

The son: "This is great. GREAT! I'm writing it in pen!!!"

Me, temporizing: "Talk to Mr. H. first."

The son, running toward his room, crowing: "Great! GREATTTTTT!"

Male Refrigerator Blindness has long been a family joke, the spouse the usual butt of the joke. It originated, in our family anyway, with an Anne Taintor postcard and the fact that the spouse can't find anything in the refrigerator. Or the pantry. Or the garage. Or the storage shed.

I can't remember exactly why I googled MRB last weekend, but I found Refrigerator blindness: selective loss of visual acuity in association with a common foraging behaviour in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. We were in hysterics reading it.

If it flies, it could be one of the funniest science fair projects ever.

Go listen to some good music: "She Blinded Me With Science" from the album The Golden Age of Wireless by Thomas Dolby.

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