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Mother and daughter were still cackling like a couple of crows sorting out a dead o'possum as I squirted away. Lord only knew what got them going in the first place, but I had essentially dumped gasoline on the coals when I confirmed that my wife, Kristin, had indeed tested into the realm of "genius" in a long ago IQ exam. Charlotte, our over-achieving "golden child," was in full denial.
Charlotte's reluctance to accept her mother's genius as fact was understandable. Kristin, the happy-go-lucky artist, cartoonist and master of casual conversation seemed nothing like a bookish, bespectacled egghead that Hollywood typically offers up as the average genius. She spends more brain-power thinking about the Rolling Stones in one month than she's spent thinking about mathematics in her entire life. Still, in her defense, it is a well-documented truth that genius takes many forms.
I pondered my curious existence as the husband of a genius and father of a wunderkind as I descended the basement stairs to start a load of laundry. When I neared the washing machine, however, it became clear that something was amiss. Various clamps and tools lay strewn about, and a series of tightly stretched bicycle inner tubes encircled the appliance.
The control panel flashed, "door ajar, door ajar, door ajar." Upon closer examination I discovered that the little plastic "finger" on the door -- the one that goes into the latch to hold the whole thing shut, had been broken off and had apparently gone missing! I stormed up the stairs.
"All right, which one of you 'Wonder Women' bashed the latch off of my washing machine?" I growled.
"Uh, that would be 'Bam Bam' here," said Kristin nudging Charlotte forward. This came as no surprise, given Charlotte's long history of destroying things through unduly brutal use.
"I figured as much," I said. "So who came up with the bicycle tube door clamp? It didn't work worth a lick, by the way."
"Uh, that would be your 'genius'," laughed Charlotte. "Told you it wouldn't work, Bo Bo," she added with a sneer.
"Wonderful work, ladies. Now I've got to find a replacement part," I said adding that things could have been a lot worse.
"It'll be an easy fix though. At least the part didn't break off inside the latch. That would've been a whole different ballgame. It would take me forever to dig that thing out of there."
An instant of silence gripped the room as Kristin, wide-eyed and crazy, dove at Charlotte to cup a hand over her mouth just as she began to speak.
A struggle ensued, with Charlotte escaping just long enough to shout the truth.
"You're right!" she said. "It didn't break off inside, but then your 'GENIUS' shoved the broken piece into the switch because she said it wouldn't run without it.
That's actually what started the whole 'genius' conversation. It's hopelessly stuck in there now!"
It has been written that genius is akin to insanity. I accept this as fact -- these women are rapidly driving me crazy!
(Be sure to check out John's weekly podcast "Out There In It" on TheVoiceOfHolmes County.com)