Just for fun
J.'s mother, a very silly and delightful little bird of a woman, loves to give odd presents to her three sons and has even started to include me in the semiannual tradition (birthdays and Christmas, without fail). Sometimes, we will unwrap multi-layered packages containing out-of-date calendars, or promotional stickers from the bank that holds their mortgage, maybe an XXXL tee emblazoned on the front with the name of the school at which they teach and on the back the words, "Trainee Counselor."
When she hands out these gifts, she makes sure to tell you, in her chirpy Minnesotan accent, that they are "just for fun." She even wrote "Just for Fun!" on the newspaper wrapping that held my Christmas gift--a copy of The Vikings' Guide to Succeeding in Business Overseas. Which was a lot more fun than the name implied, truth be told.
There are many things in her life that are JFF, even when they're not really fun, just a little strange. After The Parents, as we call them, moved to England a few years ago to teach, we flew over to visit them. His mother decided to make us an all-starch, all-white meal for the occasion: rice, bread, baked potatoes and pound cake. I wondered if she might have misunderstood some new dietary craze, or perhaps have had her teeth bleached that day, but no: it was JFF. When we took the wrong train the next day and ended up with an extra hour in transit to Oxford, she said, "Well, think of it as being just for fun." When the restaurant was out of fresh salad greens and all I wanted in the whole wide world was fresh salad greens but had to settle for boiled chard? "Oooh! Chard! Just for fun."
This ability to see "fun" in the simply odd and the tiresome is her special gift. Though it's probably genetic, I think I will try to borrow that gift for tomorrow, when I go in for my pointless beta. I can just hear that chirpy voice now: "Oooh! An unnecessary blood test, just for fun!"
Now here's a smackdown I'd like to see: J's mother up against Pollyanna. I'm thinking it would be J's mom on a TKO in the 12th round--the Glad Game is no match for JFF, which seems to have infinite versatility.