Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Awkward To The Core

I count myself a lucky man. I'm blessed to have the family I have. I have a wife who loves me, kids who love me, and a lot of things in my life are going well. And being the well-adjusted person that I am, I would have said the same thing at any point in my adult life, even my lowest points. I consider myself an optimist. This is not a bragging post, though, so I'll stop there. I just want you to understand a little about the way my mind works so you understand where I'm coming from here. Basically, in a nutshell, what I'm saying is that I know and appreciate how blessed I am. And I recently realized just how blessed I am.

I've started to analyze some of my actions outside the context of my current life. And that made-up psycho-babble just means that I've started to see how weird and sad my life would be if I weren't married with children. And that's mostly because I'm a huge nerd. I love technology as much as Kip Dynamite. I love movie references (like the one in the last sentence) as much as Abed Nadir. And I love TV references (like the one in the last sentence) as much as Family Guy fans. And if I was still single at this point in my life and loved these things, I would be sad.

Disclaimer: I am not implying that single people who like pop culture are sad. I'm just saying that it would be sad for me personally, due to one very dominant personality trait of mine: social awkwardness.

And in case you're thinking, "Taylor is awesome! There's no way he's socially awkward!" here are some examples of things I do all the time:

-I forget what I'm supposed to do with my hands when I'm talking to people.
-I fist-bump when people go for the high-five.
-I fake phone calls to avoid conversations.
-I make eye contact with people way too early when walking in the hallway.
-I trip over nothing and try to make it seem like I was breaking into a jog.
-I wave "back" at people who are waving at someone behind me.
-I laugh and say "yeah" when I didn't catch what someone just said and don't want to say "What?"

So when you pair that social awkwardness with my nerdy habits, I am not a very likely candidate for companionship. So I'd like to publicly (okay, on my blog) thank my wife for looking past all that and choosing me anyway. And I'd like to apologize to my kids for all the horrible things I'm going to put them through as a socially awkward dad. They're gonna hate me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Self-Diagnosis: Wikiphilia

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this enough, but I love Wikipedia. There was a time in my life when my thirst for knowledge was crippled by my uncharted apathy. I would wonder how old Harrison Ford was, or I would be curious about how the nervous system works. And that would be the end of it. I didn't want to search for an answer. So a random thought would simply wander into space, unhindered, unanswered, and unimportant. And then came Wikipedia. And suddenly I have demographics, filmographies, and more information on a myriad of topics than I could ever have hoped for. And some of it even has sources!

And now I feel like a genius. I know Jeopardy questions. I bore people with unnecessary trivia. It's great! But with great power comes great responsibility (according to Spider-Man's surrogate father). I have to be careful not to get myself into trouble. Because it's very tempting to correct people. Like the lady at work who said that all Arabian horses are white. I knew (after consulting Wikipedia) that she was wrong. But it was a mistake to tap her on the shoulder and interrupt her phone call just so I could tell her she was wrong.

And the other problem I have is that I'm tempted to make jokes that would come off as pretentious. For example, after extensive Wikipedia research, I've diagnosed myself with Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia. It's just a fancy name for a very normal heart rate thing. It means that my heart rate increases when I inhale and decreases when I exhale. It means absolutely nothing. But I'm really tempted to make this my Facebook status just to freak people out:

"Just so everybody knows, I recently found out that I have Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia. Apparently there's no treatment for it."

And every word of that is true. But I have a feeling that people wouldn't find it as funny as I would. And I have an even stronger feeling that my wife wouldn't find it funny at all. So I probably won't post it (yet).

(Oh, and by the way, Harrison Ford will turn 70 this summer. But the silent film actor of the same name died in 1957 at the age of 73.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bounce Back

My daughter is three. And bless her little heart, she's the clumsiest three-year old I've ever seen. She never looks where she's going, she puts all of her 33 pounds into everything she does, and she always picks shoes that don't have any grip. So she's constantly running into things, falling over, and sliding into stuff. We've tried to slow her down and protect her, but it's no use. At this point anything short of a helmet and tiny little body armor would be useless. (Side note: I'm definitely gonna look into developing tiny little body armor for toddlers because it sounds so awesome!)

Just in the past two weeks she's fallen off of a non-moving bicycle, run face-first into a couch (a couch, mind you, that is always in the same spot), and fallen out of her bed in the middle of the night three times. I think "accident prone" might be an understatement. But the good news is that she always bounces back rather quickly. She cries if it hurts, but forgets in a few minutes. She forgets so quickly, in fact, that she's always asking us where her scrapes and bruises came from.

I was very different as a child. I didn't fall very often and I had incredible balance for my size. My problem was that if I did happen to fall or hit something, I hurt myself considerably. I broke my hand on a recliner once.  And I tore ligaments in my ankle on a simple layup in school.  So I was fragile. And seeing the difference between clumsy and fragile, I'm glad she's the former instead of the latter. Although the scrapes and bruises bring up awkward questions from people who don't know her. You'd be surprised how many strangers are comfortable asking where my daughter got her minor injuries. (My answer is usually just to point at my son, who smiles sheepishly right on cue.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Update #1 - The mango was tasty, but extremely messy and hard to eat.  The strings got caught in my teeth.  I won't be buying one again.

Update #2 - I forgot to blog today so I'm writing this really fast without thinking much.  But this still counts. (Right?)

Update #3 - The Avengers comes out in two weeks!  I'm getting more excited daily!

Update #4 - Studies have shown that if you inundate people with new information on more than four topics, they're prone to ignore or jumble up anything else you try to give them.

Update #5 - Flabber minkle din park slog farnily.  But dwibble gwar orinar voleny!  Amirightpeople?!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Humor Attempt... Rejected

I like to think I have a way with words. If I have time to prepare, I can usually write my way out of a jam.  That's why I have an English degree. That's why I blog. And it's one of the few things I feel like I'm good at. I mean, you should see the emails I send at work. They are so concise and professional! But in one area, I'm stumped. I can't seem to find the balance I need between tact and humor. I just don't know how to respond when a family member ruins a funny Facebook status.

I only use Facebook to be funny. And on the rare occasion that I use it to brag about my kids, I usually throw in a little humor so it doesn't get annoying. Because I'm very much bothered by the people who use Facebook to declare their children the cutest, smartest, or most interesting children to ever exist. And I'm equally bothered by those who use it as a medium for their political philosophy. To be clear, I don't mind a moderate amount of bragging or political talk. But the people who provide a constant feed of everything that crosses their minds are the ones that I don't like.

Anyway, that's why I try to be funny and not much else. I don't like to annoy people. So most of the things I post are little one-liners or anecdotes (often completely fabricated) just to make people laugh. And I'd say at least 65% of the time, one of my older relatives doesn't get the joke or uses my status as a time to reaffirm their affection for me. I don't get "LOL" or even "haha." I get "Good to see you guys this weekend" or "You know, you could just go to bed at a reasonable time. Love ya." And try as I might, I have no response to them.  I can't figure out what to say. Because I can't be rude and put "smh, never mind." And I can't explain the joke because then I'm condescending and ruining my own joke. So I usually just don't respond.

So is there any advice out there? How do I stay funny, avoid rudeness, and still explain the humor to a relative? Is there even a way to do that? I'm starting to think it's impossible.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mango Madness

I like mango-flavored stuff.  I have mango in my smoothies.  I've had mango juice on a few occasions.  So I figured I'd like the fruit too.  So I bought one at the store and brought it to work today.  And before Googling it, I didn't have any idea how to eat it.  And now that I've Googled it, I know that I need some kind of utensil to peel it.  Apparently the skin is inedible.  But I have no such peeling utensil with me today.  The closest I have is a pair of scissors.  And that's gross.  So now I'm craving mango really bad (which I didn't know was possible considering I don't really know what it'll taste like).  But it's just sitting there on my desk, impenetrable and delicious (I'm assuming).

The other problem I have is that I don't know if I'm supposed to slice it before eating it or if I can just peel it and bite right into it like an apple.  I'm such a mango newbie!  And by the time you read this, I will have already decided what to do.  So I'm not asking for advice (although I will always accept comments on my posts because I'm an egomaniac).

Okay, I'm going for it.  I'm gonna borrow a knife.  And before that, I'm gonna meet a coworker so I can ask them if they have a knife.  And then I'm gonna slice it up and eat it.  Wish me luck!  (But not literally because again, by the time you read this, the whole ordeal will be over.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

There's A Nap For That

I'm feeling very sluggish today.  So sluggish, in fact, that I'm not going to the gym after work.  I'm just gonna go home and play a game where I try to see how long I can stay awake in my recliner while the hypnotic rhythym of my slow-beating heart softly pulls me into slumber.  (Just writing that sentence almost put me to sleep just now.)

The strange reason for my sluggishness isn't a lack of sleep for once.  It's the amount of dreaming I've been doing lately.  I'm not really sure what's causing it, but I'm dreaming a lot more than usual.  And they're these vivid, interesting, energetic (and frankly exhausting) dreams.  It's hard to wake up in the morning most of the time.  And then the emotions from those dreams are difficult to shake off.  I think Christopher Nolan is making a movie about my dreams.

The result of all this dreaming is that I feel like I haven't slept for days.  Right now it's taking all of my concentration just to keep my eyes focused on the screen.  And I know it would be solved by two things: coffee or sugar.  I could easily go to the snack machine and buy a candy bar, and within 10 minutes I'd feel great.  Or I could have a cup of coffee and feel better by the time I finish it.  But neither of those things fit in with my new diet regime.  I'm trying to eliminate sugar as much as possible, and I've sworn off caffeine after lunchtime.

So here I sit.  Head bobbing slightly, eyes glazing over, and my body melting into my chair.  Maybe somebody will pull the fire alarm.  Or maybe someone will go crazy and start yelling for no reason.  Honestly, at this point, I'd take one of those "falling" sensations I used to get in English in 9th grade.  That was always a good jolt.  Or maybe I'll just close my office door and fall asleep for real.  Oh man... I shouldn't have even thought that.  Now it's definitely gonna happen.

Friday, April 13, 2012

We Want You To Get Some Help

I've been trying to drum up the courage to talk to a family member about a problem.  I've actually been watching Intervention a lot to get ideas on what exactly to say (okay, not really).  Something has to be done.  My mother has to stop buying me pants on clearance.

Back-story time... (imagine a whooshing noise so you know we're doing a side-shift back-story now).  We're having a garage sale tomorrow.  And I decided to go through my side of the closet and purge out any clothes that I'm not going to wear.  Some of them are just too big (woohoo!), some of them are just too old, some of them are out of style, and some of them I've never even tried on.  And I don't mind the purge.  It makes me feel more organized, and it makes me feel good about weight loss.  But I realized something as I placed them in the box.  Of the clothes I've never worn, 15 of them were pairs of dress pants.  Most of them still had the tags on them.  And they were all from my mother.  That's right, fifteen pairs of pants!

(Okay, now imagine a whooshing noise back to the story at hand.)

When my mom goes to department stores, she finds the clearance section.  And I'm not knocking that because it's my favorite section too.  But more often than not, there is a pair of pants in that section for about 4 dollars.  And inevitably, she has a coupon that reduces that price even further.  And I'm not knocking coupons either, because I love coupons.  So the next time she sees me, she says, "Oh hey, I found some pants at Ross that might fit you.  They were on sale."  Then she hands me a pair of pants that I instantly know I'll never wear (wrong size, weird color, fuzzy material, whatever) and they have at least 6 layers of sales stickers on them.

So to be polite, I accept them.  Then I put them in the closet and ignore them.  I realize now that this acceptance was a mistake.  I have become an enabler (that's actually a line from the letter I'm writing her for the intervention).  She knows that I'll take them.  And she assumes that every once in a while, one of them fits.  But I have to take a stand.  She has an addiction.  And I can't sit idly by while she continues down this dangerous path of habitual pant buying!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Employee Of The Year

I play this game at work where I try not to speak all day.  I don't count phone calls to my wife because I like talking to her.  But the rest of the day, I try not to talk at all.  I stay in my office, I wear headphones, and I avoid eye contact when I have to leave my office.  It's a really difficult game because even coworkers I've never met will sometimes say "good morning" to me.

And I would love to say that there's some great motivation for this.  But there's not.  I'm not trying to save my voice as an opera singer.  I'm not trying to avoid annoying people.  And I'm not trying to prevent myself from saying something stupid (although that would be a great reason).  I just want to see if I can do it.  And every day since I started this job in September of last year, I've lost the game.  Every day, that is, until yesterday.

Yesterday had the perfect set of conditions.  I had a lot of work, no reason to contact anyone about it, and I only left my office to get coffee in the morning and my lunch in the afternoon.  So not only did I get a lot of work done, but I didn't have to speak to a single coworker all day!  It was my shining moment as an office recluse.

You may think that this accomplishment is sad.  And you're absolutely right.  It's super sad.  And it would be monumentally sadder if I cared at all about my "work life."  But I totally don't care.  I can say with 100% certainty that I will never be one of those people who cares about his "work life."  Because that's stupid (you probably already knew how I felt about that based on my putting quotes around "work life").  So it's not sad.  It's awesome.  And you only wish you could be that detached and hermitlike at your job.  And I'm here to tell you that it is possible.  You too can be the weirdo that nobody hears from.  You too can sit silently for so long that you wonder what your own voice sounds like.  And you too can leave at the end of the day when that random coworker (whose name you don't know) says "Seeya!" and you just nod and wave.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Change Your Settings With Caution

I am an extremely heavy sleeper.  Once I'm asleep, it's very difficult to wake me.  I've slept through severe weather, hour and a half college classes, and the sounds of a colicky infant.  I'm one of the lucky ones.  My older brother, on the other hand, is a very light sleeper.  He closes his door and blacks out his windows when he goes to sleep.  Any additional light or noise will wake him.  It's a little ridiculous, but that's him.

Well, recently he decided to change some settings on his phone.  He stuck with the same alarm setting, but he got cool new ringtones and text message tones.  When he gets a call now, he hears the theme song from Walker, Texas Ranger ("In the eyes of the ranger, the unsuspecting stranger...").  And I'll admit, that's pretty awesome.  But his text message tone is now an audio clip of Arnold Schwarzenegger yelling "GET TO THE CHOPPA!" (Predator, 1987)  And that would be cool if not for the fact that it's very jarring when you're not ready for it.

So one afternoon, my brother took a nap.  And by chance, I texted him.  He didn't text me back.  But he immediately called me, completely out of breath.  Apparently, I'd scared him.  Or more accurately, Arnold Schwarzenegger had scared him.  And we both had a good laugh about it (my brother and me, not Arnold and me).

And I noticed that he didn't say anything about changing his text tone back to what it was.  And I know my brother's schedule pretty well.  So the next morning at 6:00am when I got up, I texted him again, knowing full well that he'd be sound asleep.  And all I said in the text was "you awake?"  And he responded, "WELL I AM NOW!"  He changed his settings that day.

(P.S. - If you don't know what that audio clip sounds like, just Google "get to the choppa clip" and enjoy.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Memory (And Cup) Loss

One of the major challenges I face in continuing to blog is that I have a notoriously bad memory.  I forget things I've heard, I forget things I've said, and I forget where I put things five minutes ago.  It's the reason I can't stay mad at anybody, it's the reason I make the same mistakes over and over again, it's the reason my wife will have gray hair, and it's the reason I can never, ever, ever find my stupid drink.

What I know I should do is put my cup down before I leave the room.  If I leave it at the table, it'll stay at the table.  But something in my brain says, "No, Taylor! What if you get thirsty as soon as you get into the hallway? Then you'll have to double back and waste precious energy!"  So I take the drink with me.  And almost without fail, I come back a few minutes later, sit in my chair, and reach for a drink that is now hiding somewhere in the house.

And for some strange reason, I put my cup in ridiculous places.  I don't just set it down on a dresser or a side table.  I put it in places that no normal human being would put a cup.  And this probably worries me more than the bad memory stuff because it seems utterly insane.  I've found my cup on book shelves, in my son's closet, in the garage (when I didn't even remember going in the garage), on the side of the bath tub, and even once in the freezer.  And inevitably I waste more time searching for the cup than I do actually drinking whatever's in it.  If I had a dollar for every time I had to retrace my route throughout the house looking for my cup, I could probably afford a drink butler to hold my drink at every meal.

Monday, April 9, 2012

And The Beat Goes On

I brag too much on Facebook (even when I'm just joking around), so I'll brag here instead.  My resting heart rate is 59!  How cool is that?  Oh, you don't know what that means?  Okay, let me explain.  No there is too much to explain (I'm lazy).  Just go Google it and see what you find.

Okay, did you Google it?  Good.  Now are you impressed?  I either have a non-serious heart condition known as bradycardia or I'm in pretty good cardiovascular health.  And either way, you should be impressed because it means I'm getting in shape and/or learning big medical terms.

What it really means is that the exercise is paying off.  And that's comforting.  Because losing weight and not seeing a big difference can be discouraging.  So knowing that something is changing is good.

Well, I won't bore you with any more healthy talk.  Let's make this a short post and call it a day.  I'm off to drink a protein smoothie and run 16 miles while wearing a parachute and a weight vest.  (That's exercise talk for "take a nap.")

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

Well, I was right.  A few days ago, I blogged about my children and their oft-used response of "I don't know."  That's usually what they say when I ask them why they did something devious or stupid.  And I predicted in that post that if my son wasn't allowed to say "I don't know," he would say, "Because I wanted to."

And usually I'd be glad that I have a good grasp on my son's personality and motivation.  But not this time.  And that's because the activity my son just wanted to do was take a pair of scissors and cut the strings on our window blinds.  And (of course) he didn't do this on a window facing the backyard or a fence.  He did it to the only street-facing window in the house.  And he didn't cut just once.  He snipped the string in no less than 10 places.  It is now irreparable and needs replacement immediately.

So the precursor to the punishment phase was a chat with him about his motivations.  I find that if the punishment phase starts too quickly, the kids don't really get a good grasp on the situation.  So we sat down and I asked him why he did that.  But this time, I told him that "I don't know" was not an acceptable answer. (My exact words were: And if you say "I don't know" ... so help me you will not like what happens.")  And just as I guessed, he could only come up with "Because I wanted to."  And also just as I guessed, it didn't make me feel better.  I wish I would have let him say "I don't know."  It left me wondering why a child would want to destroy something for no reason.

And then I had a series of flashbacks like people do in those really funny sitcoms that use flashbacks.  And I saw myself doing a myriad of ridiculous, ill-advised, downright stupid activities as a kid.  I shot my cousin with a BB gun, I pushed someone off a trampoline after they caught about 9 feet of air, and I tried to drive my dad's car without any knowledge of how cars work (and without permission).  In all three of those flashbacks, there was injury or damage done.  Perhaps more importantly, in every one of those flashbacks, I was much older than 5.  And oddly enough, that made me feel better.  Because I believe I'm normal.  And I believe I was a normal kid.  So if I, a normal person who was a normal kid, did so many of those things, then my son must also be normal.

And that was a very comforting thought... for me.  I can't say the same for my wife.  She was never a little boy (thankfully).  And she doesn't have any brothers.  So a lot of this is completely new to her.  She and her sisters never destroyed things just because they wanted to.  That type of thing does not make sense in her beautifully sweet girl brain.  And hearing about my ridiculous activities as a kid didn't make her feel any better.  In fact, I think she's more concerned now.  Because now she's worried about her son and her husband.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Call It In

My older brother is no good on the phone.  Even though he used to work for a tech support center where he took calls from customers all day, he can't be on the other end of the conversation.  I like to listen in when he calls to ask someone a question.  Last week, instead of asking if a restaurant was doing a "kids eat free" night, he said, "Do you guys have free kids tonight?"  Luckily for him, the lady on the phone just told him it was a promotion at a different location.  And although I'm sure she meant kids eat free, I should have gone to that other location just to make sure.

The ironic part about my brother's ineptitude is that it comes from his fear of being an idiot.  He wants so badly to be liked and accepted that he trips over himself to do so.  If it weren't so tragic, it would be funny.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It is funny!  It's downright hilarious!  And I love irony!

Anytime he's around and someone needs to make a call to a business, we get him on the phone.  He doesn't know it, but we always find some excuse to hand the phone to him as it starts ringing.  Or we make him order food for everybody.  And though he tries to hide the sheer panic he feels, you can see it in his eyes as soon as he starts talking.  Here are a few things he's said while ordering pizza.

"What are your pizzas special?  I mean... what are your pizza specials?"

"Do you take cash?"

"Can you hold on?  I put it in a text, so I have to keep looking at my phone.  Wait, can I text it to you?  Oh, okay.  Hold on... let me read it."

"Hi, I'd like to order some pepperoni pizzas.  I mean... one pepperoni and two other pizzas with other toppings.  But all of them will be large and I think I have a coupon that... what?  Oh yeah, carryout.  Yeah, I'll hold."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Don't Know

I remember in college when I discovered a standup routine from 1983 called "Bill Cosby: Himself."  It was the first and only time in my life that I laughed so hard that I cried.  I just thought it was the funniest thing in the world.  And even the stuff about parenting I found hilarious, despite my lack of parenting experience.  It was just the way he told his stories that made it so funny.  And it's still funny to me now.  In fact, most of it's even funnier because I understand what he was talking about.  The one that sticks with me right now is the bit about kids saying "I don't know" about everything.

My son is 5.  And he does things that most five-year olds do.  He pushes and pulls and throws and jumps and stomps and punches.  Most of these actions are directed at his little sister, who is now 3.  So we try to explain to him that he can't go around punching anyone, let alone his little sister.  We cite examples of people (like ourselves) who avoid hurting others.  We ask him what might happen if he continues such activities.  And his answers are generally pretty good.  He understands that she can get hurt.  He understands that it's not nice, and that she might not want to play with him anymore if he continues.  He can answer all of these correctly.  But the one question he has yet to answer is, "Why did you do that?"  He invariably answers with, "I don't know."  And he says it with such a pained voice that I honestly think he doesn't know.

And where Bill Cosby would call this brain damage, I think I've determined that it's something else.  I think it's just impulse.  I mean, I've done plenty of things on impulse.  The first time I saw a peanut butter Twix, I had to buy it.  I love peanut butter and I love Twix, so there was no way I was leaving the store without it.  But if you'd asked me why I bought it, I'd probably just say, "I wanted it."  And I'm pretty sure my son would have a similar answer if he was being completely honest.  If I asked him why he threw a boot at his sister's head and he was being truthful, he'd just say, "Because I wanted to."

But that doesn't make me feel much better.  That sounds like brain damage to me.  And it would probably infuriate me if he answered that way.  So I'll take the "I don't know" response for now.  Although it may yield more gray hairs for us and more bruises for my daughter, I prefer it to a sadistic child who admittedly wants to throw things at people.  Although I'd bet that describes most five-year old boys.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Using Your Outside Voice

When my older brother and I hit the right age, my dad put us to work.  Not the illegal kind where we had jobs and uniforms or anything like that.  But the perfectly legal, non-paying kind called "yard work."  And we didn't mind most of it.  Mowing was easy, raking was fine, and trimming bushes was fun because we got to use giant scissors.  In fact, I think the only part we hated was cleaning up in the heat.

But the funny part about all this is that my brother was fascinated by the lawnmower.  He didn't so much care about how it did its job.  But he thought it was amazing how loud it was.  The first time he used it, he realized he could hear nothing besides the mower.  And to a kid who was expected to hear his parents whenever they spoke to him, it was a nice release from that expectation.  He was free to ignore the entire world while he mowed.

And one day he realized that he couldn't even hear himself while he was mowing.  I'm not sure if he coughed or sneezed or what, but it dawned on him that he couldn't hear a single thing that came out of his mouth.  And being the curious (and weird) adolescent that he was, he decided to test out the limits of this temporary deafness.  So he started talking, then raising his voice, and then outright screaming.  And with every new level of noise, he was all the more amazed that he could hear none of it.  So he entertained himself by screaming at the top of his lungs while he mowed.

As most of you probably know, the level of deafness experienced when running a lawnmower is directly proportionate to how close you are to the mower.  So someone mowing can hear almost nothing.  But anyone more than 10 feet away can hear just about any other noise.  And what that meant was that every person in the neighborhood could hear my brother screaming random words and sounds out into the air.  And if they went to investigate, they probably just shook their heads and went back to their business.  But my dad was more amused than embarrassed.  So he let it go.  And he told me just to ignore it and not tell my brother.  And it was a few months before my brother learned that everybody within earshot could hear him screaming, "AAAAAHHHHHHH!!! I'M MOWING AND NOBODY CAN HEAR ME SCREAM!!!  HA HA HA!!!"  But it sure was fun when he found out.  You could see the horror on his face as he realized that people could hear him.