June 11th, 2011


We're nobody's parlor trick!

Sometimes, we actually don't like it when people can tell us apart. (That was going to be my opening sentence for my big ranty post yesterday that got ousted by the joy of finishing that omnibus.) Athena says that that really shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, seeing as how we don't make it easy. (Not that we make it especially hard, either; at least not on purpose.)

See, there are two kinds of people who can tell us apart: the people who are our friends and like to spend time with us, and the people who make it a point to be able to tell us apart so they can show off how smart they are. It kind of reminds us of one time we had this Pokemon card (it was promotional type card, not an actual game card), and it had an ad on it, then you fold it back, and it shows another ad, and you do that a couple more times until you get to the original ad. It doesn't sound nearly as awesome in text, but you could play with this thing for minutes at a time without getting bored! (It doesn't sound like a lot, but think of staring at one card for five whole minutes, and it really sounds pretty boring, doesn't it? Five minutes can be a looooong time.)

So anyway, we had this card, and one of our friends kept folding it and folding it and eventually said, "I just can't figure out how they made it!" So another one of our friends asked to see it, so that two minutes later she could pronounce that she had, in fact, figured it out. Of course, there was no explanation of how it was done, but she had proven her point: that she was the smartest.

There are not many things we hate more than when people make shows of "being smart."

I mean, it's one thing to happen to be smart about something, and to geek out about it because you're excited. But oh, how many times have we had to deal with, "Hi Alethea! Hi Athena!" and no more conversation than that. We'd actually be much happier with a simple, "Hi!" This may be another reason we dislike being called by name.

Remember the "Nonfiction Girl" I mentioned on Tuesday? Well, that same night, we started going to Institute. Institute is basically free college courses about the scriptures and the like, sponsored by the LDS Church (I'm pretty sure you don't actually have to be LDS to attend). And since kids our age are all encouraged to go, we weren't surprised to see Nonfiction Girl there. We even had a conversation! It went like this:

Nonfiction Girl: Don't tell me... Alethea, Athena.
Us: Yup.

Aaaand scene.

At the time it was no more than a minor annoyance. We actually did look at each other and make pirate noises, because she did tell us the day before that "I'm going to be able to tell you apart!" and at the time we were like, "You're not allowed; you don't read fiction." But whatever. According to some people, we don't even look alike, so people are bound to be able to tell us apart, and life goes on.

Then came the Thursday Night Activity. You may remember that we were talking about popsicles and Sanskrit. Nonfiction Girl was there, and discussions of Sanskrit can only last so long when no one actually knows any Sanskrit, so the subject got changed. Nonfiction Girl is new to the ward, so people were making introductions and stuff. Then, one member of the bishopric suddenly said, "I'm just impressed that you can tell them apart!" Keep in mind that our alikeness had not been mentioned once previously.

So how does he know this? She only demonstrated the ability once, only two nights ago, and he wasn't there. Are people talking about us? Actually, that's not uncommon, so probably, and that doesn't bother us so much because we have reassurance from trustworthy sources that they mostly say nice things. But what we wonder is how it got brought up. Were they talking about us and she said, "Hey, I can tell them apart!" Were they not talking about us and she said, "Oh, by the way, I can tell the Nibleys apart." Did someone randomly say to him, "Hey, she's amazing! She can tell the Nibleys apart!" She did it once, for crying out loud! Just about everyone else in the ward has done it once. Everyone who's tried anyway, and one member of the bishopric is pretty good at it, but still not as confident as she was.

Okay, so are we getting overly upset over a trifle? Maybe. But dang it, we are no one's parlor trick! We're not here for you to show off your brilliant powers of observation!

Incidentally, she did do it again, to prove that it was true--she can tell us apart. We were making it a little easy that day, in that we had told people a few tricks at Home Evening Group on Monday, and we weren't doing anything contrary to those tricks. She explained that we had told them a few tricks at HEG, adding that, "But now, I'm getting to know their personalities." To which our inward responses were, "And how are you doing that, exactly, with your complete lack of talking to us?"

(To be fair, she did ask us what Sanskrit is, which indicated interest in what we were talking about, and required some conversation, but, and maybe we just don't know because we're too close to the situation, but we didn't think either of us was being particularly unique that day. I can also easily write off the, "But hey, she showed interest in you!" argument by saying that languages are a Smart People topic. See how well I can hold grudges? ...Oy.)

Anyway, we were a little irked...okay, we were a lot irked by this, and we started trying to figure out how to trip her up. We could leave our jackets (different colors; we don't trade) at home on Sunday, use band-aids to cover up where the birth mark is on Athena's neck... Darn it, I pointed out the scar on my forehead, didn't I?

But after a while, we realized we were going about it the wrong way. If she's using her ability to tell us part to show off (here I point out that she didn't share any of the tricks she'd learned, though maybe she thought he already knew them), we just make it something not show-off-worthy. It's time...to start wearing name tags!

We'd thought about doing it before, because the bishop told us we might want to be more individual or something, and we think it's pointless to specifically do things separately when we like all the same stuff, so we might as well at least make it so people can be sure they know who they're talking to. But now we're super motivated! Because we're horrible and vindictive! Yay.

At least our horrible vindictiveness isn't harmful. And if we're misreading the situation, our wearing name tags won't hurt anyone in anyway, and in fact will be helpful to all! Yay!

The only problem is we couldn't get to a craft store this weekend. So now we might have to deal with Nonfiction Girl's parlor tricks for another day or two (church tomorrow, HEG on Monday). But maybe she'll leave us alone. Maybe it's not a big deal to her after all. Maybe I'll take advantage of the fact that I'm teaching the lesson to go ahead and wear my Disneyland name tag from when I worked there (it normally wouldn't do for only one of us to wear a name tag). Or maybe... I don't know. Something. We have honey-roasted peanuts, which is completely irrelevant, but something I remembered just now that makes me happy.

Today I'm thankful for being a human being and not a parlor trick, getting to buy honey-roasted peanuts, having time to start reading Brain Storm today, having plans to spend time with Leia next week (actually, I don't know if she can tell us apart, but I really don't care), and the yummy little pizzas we're about to eat for dinner.