There is a sizable challenge in writing a blog meant to reflect the personal experiences of one's family. Namely, writing about real events compromises the anonymity of the central characters. When one has to sit across from those characters at the dinner table, the potential exists for a certain level of domestic conflict. ("Oh, sweetheart...I meant to tell you...I wrote today about when you were in college and tried pot for the first time in New Orleans and then flashed an entire visiting Sunday School class the week after Mardi Gras. I hope you don't mind.")
My family has always cherished their privacy. My wife in particular has almost artistically avoided leaving any Google spoor (the searchable information trail one leaves on the Internet), and she has no desire to start leaving any now. Furthermore, I am deathly afraid that something I write will come back to haunt my children 10 years from now when they are applying for a job. "Hmmm...you are certainly well qualified to join our radiology practice, and you come highly recommended from your three residencies...however according to my research, you once made poopy on the living room rug in front of guests. I'm sorry, but that shows a certain lack of character and is definitely not the caliber of professionalism we pride ourselves on."
So, for now on, I will only tell stories about my fake family. They comprise my wife Eshet Chayil and my two boys Buck and Gator.
I toiled over the boys' aliases for weeks, weighing different aspects of their character, their likes and dislikes, their physical attributes, and their ages. I thought about simply calling them Number One and Number Two but quickly disbanded that project for obvious reasons.
I finally selected their aliases after our recent vacation to the Smokies. While visiting WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, we tried out an intriguing game called Mindball. In Mindball, two challengers attempt to move a ball toward their opponent by relaxing their mind. An EEG measures Alpha and Theta waves which are strongest when a person is calm or relaxed or concentrating intensely. Others can watch your match and see the Alpha and Theta waves displayed on the screen above the contestants. My wife and I discovered that we were very evenly matched. I finally beat her, but only after a very long and grueling game of total relaxation. I’m sure it was fascinating for the spectators…at least those who hadn’t given up on us and left to try out the climbing wall.
My two sons faced off against each other. They were NOT evenly matched. My oldest son had fairly active brainwaves even as he tried to relax his mind. My youngest son had brainwaves like a smooth lake on a windless day. You could almost hear the white noise.
It was like watching two animal minds at work. One was a deer or buck in constant state of alert for predators, consciousness jumping around to keep track of the vast terrain. The other was an alligator, lazily floating like a log, sporting a mischievous smile, waiting for the right moment to jump out of the water to surprise its prey. Buck and Gator. You will hear many stories about them.
My wife's alias, Eshet Chayil, was much easier to come by. Eshet Chayil is Hebrew for, "a woman of valor," and it comes from a verse in Proverbs recited by a husband to his wife on Shabbat. The verse describes a woman who is forgiving, practical, praiseworthy, modest, and particularly talented at sewing. It's a good alias. Especially for a woman who will be sitting across from me at dinner tomorrow night.