Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Grace of a Swan

It is a truth universally acknowledged that large family gatherings almost always lead to cheesy family jokes and then transform into cheesy family slogans. These slogans are repeated over and over again until they are no longer funny and no one remembers where they came from, but they are said anyway as said family members have adopted them as part of their everyday speech.

Examples of this phenomen can be found in the Redd family's use of terms such as "boobishay" (to borrow your sister's sweater and take it as your own) and "in the chips;" which is used whenever someone starts buying rather than renting or eating butter instead of margarine. Recently, we also see how this works with the younger Redd's habit of exclaiming, "Quite literally" after everything that happens and then bursting into peals of laughter. This blog is the story of yet another cheesy family saying coming into being.

A few weeks ago, my family went on holidays together in Osoyoos. When your immediate family consists of two parents, five kids, three in-laws, seven grandchildren and two more on the way, this is a major accomplishment. Not only did we all manage to be in the same place at the same time, we all crammed into one house.

Thankfully, for everyone's sanity, there was no actual night where we were all sleeping in said house. There were only four bedrooms, and the owners didn't want tents pitched in their backyard. So the afternoon that Janine and I arrived for a four-day weekend, my sister Emily and her husband Shaun conveniently decided to head home.

In actuality, the Redd clan was congregated in our entirety for only two hours, but those two alone were enough to accomplish what nearly every family gathering needs.

We were sitting around on the lawn after just watching the ibbi hack a pinata to pieces, and Katey was making balloon animals and weapons for all the kids. Someone said something that reminded me of a certain commercial I happen to find hilarious, and without thinking, I said out loud:

"I'm on a horse."

To everyone in my family who has seen this Old Spice Commercial (which would be most of them), my spontaneous line was a perfect invitation to begin quoting every line they have ever heard from the Old Spice advertisers. The favourite soon became a quote from the ad I had not yet seen, but which I was dying to watch after seeing my seven months pregneant sister try to imitate the ad in her lawn chair. Here's our money quote:

"Do you want your man to smell like her can bake you a gourmet cake in your dream kitchen which he built with his own hands? Of course you do. SWAN DIVE!"

A short while later, a few of us decided to go in the lake. The house we rented had a dock from the beach for tying up boats or leaping into the water. When you have the Old Spice Man stuck in your head, a large-ish body of water and a way to jump into it in a dramatic fashion, what do you think you will do? That's right. Soon, swan dives were the only cool way to enter the water. Canon balls seemed very passe.

The joke continued for the duration of the holiday. Quoting that one commercial became just what we did while we were in the water. This continued in excess until my sister Jaima told us that Old Spice is in fact, a disgusting old man product. We shut up about swan dives for a grand total of five hours.

That evening, I was standing on the dock with my brother-in-law Jason. I wanted to jump in the water but not by myself. Jason came with me, and we couldn't resist. We simply had to imitate our favourite white bird again.

Or second favourite. I am a fan of the albatross.

Saturday night; our last night in Osoyoos - there were only five members of our family left; Mom, Dad, Janine, Peter and me. Dad wanted to borrow my camera and take pictures of us kids jumping off the dock on rapid fire. In case you haven't caught on to the idea yet that we really like to beat a dead horse, here is evidence of our awesome moves:

We are now all sick of white birds, imaginary gourmet cakes, and old man body wash. However, I am waiting for the day when Blake, Ben and Isaac (now ages 4 and 5) leap off the dock screaming "SWAN DIVE!"

When they're heads pop up from the surface, Isaac will turn to Ben and ask why they say that. Ben will shrug and say it's just what they've always done and said at family reunions.

Because that's just how cheesy family slogans work.


Janine said...

Let's get this party started... let's blow this popsicle stand!
- Trip to Thailand, December '05

Sanchari said...

I completely get what you mean...and that was a really good post. :D