Bruce Did It

Our resident moose: Bruce

I’ve been re-reading some of my favourite books. For the past month I’ve been immersed in the wit and wisdom of Robert Fulghum.

In one of his stories he describes how his family settled on a way to discuss the normal daily shortcomings and idiosyncrasies of family members  – in a playful, respectful way.

In my Seattle household there are seven of us: five core family, a housekeeper, and a large stuffed moose …

One morning when I was raging around the kitchen over who drank the last of the milk again and didn’t go to the store for more again, in walked Myrna with the moose. “John (the moose) did it, ” she said, ‘and he’s so very sorry.’ The moose did look guilty. We laughed. John took his chastisement gracefully. Milk crisis forgotten.
– Robert Fulghum in the essay ‘My Fault’

Well, we just happen to have a resident stuffed  moose too (we named him ‘Bruce’). With only two humans in our household, shall we say we are experiencing a certain degree of ‘testiness’ caused by 13 months of a lot of two-some-ness. The idea that all of our fumblings, mumblings, faults and foibles were actually the work of Bruce the Moose  seemed like a brilliant idea.

Everybody knows they could do better, but nobody feels bad getting reminded in a secondary loony way.
– Robert Fulghum –

It has worked very well. ‘Bruce’ is silently stoic, but you can sense he is  building a database of good things to remember, such as: buy crunchy peanut butter – not smooth –  always, not almost always; if you add a lot of beans to the family diet don’t comment on the ‘noisy response’ a few hours later; don’t stack three slippery, loosely covered containers on the top shelf of the fridge.

Have you and your family developed some new coping mechanisms in the past year?

16 thoughts on “Bruce Did It

  1. We blame the cat for things that go missing, strange noises (or smells!), and general disarray in the house. She also gets credit for baking delicious desserts that we really shouldn’t be consuming, and lazy mornings when it’s difficult to get out of bed (as she usually “alerts” me when the sun reaches the horizon, preventing any lie-about mornings), so it balances out. I think it’s extremely important to have “scapegoat” (or moose, or cat …)

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  2. I enjoy Fulghum immensely! Around our house it’s usually the aliens that live in the walls. Although we have a grandson who seldom gets to visit but for whatever reason when I ask the others about something I found broken or messed up it’s often, “I think C did that when he was here last.” “C hasn’t been here in a couple of months.” “I don’t know…” The ghost from Family Circus often pops up, “Not Me.”

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  3. I love Bruce! I expect more households should have a Bruce. I heard several months into the pandemic that the vacancy rate in Halifax was extremely low because so many couples had split after having been cooped up together for such a long time in a lockdown. Bruce might have been able to save those unions.

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    1. Another unintended consequence of lock downs – though maybe those couples weren’t going to last anyway! You are right though – sometimes it only takes a slight but silly new coping strategy to make things better.

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  4. Ha ha – it’s just me so no judgments being made, but I have to admit, I look around sometimes at my messy house and shake my head and make my own judgments about myself. We had a major computer debacle at work, a crash that left data missing, and that catapulted me into some evenings working late, a trashed Sunday, my personal time attacked. As I get older, I am more possessive of my personal time than ever. Thank goodness for a cooler weekend to spend 2 1/2 days doing yardwork before we entered into this heat wave. Ugh. Maybe I need a Bruce to make me toe the line, er … hoof.

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      1. I have already maligned the squirrels twice for chewing the telephone wires. The AT&T guy came to repair them within a year’s time and same thing – they like the insulation covering and chew it off and exposes the wires, then my landline goes out. My boss used to have the same problem with his home fax machine. He does not like squirrels too much – they did about $1,200.00 of damage to his car engine last Summer when he was visiting a friend in northern Michigan. We have had computer problems the last ten years … people don’t believe me when I tell them we ordered Windows 10 equipment two years ago and just within the last few weeks it was installed, but only due to the issue. We’re not totally on Windows 10 … just a hybrid model. 🙂 The Windows 10 laptop is on my glass-topped stove as I have nowhere else to plug it in and has been there for TWO years.

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    1. Well, of course I had to go watch the YouTube video of Flip Wilson doing “The Devil Made Me Do It” on The Ed Sullivan Show. Then YouTube suggested I watch Lucy and Flip Wilson (as Geraldine) – also on the Ed Sullivan Show. Then… well, The Devil pushed me further down the YouTube rabbit hole…

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