Thursday, May 7, 2009

We are finally a real family

(The title of this post does not mean that Camber and I are expecting a baby. Sorry friends. Perhaps another time.)

About three or four months ago, NPR began a new series about the recession called "Kitchen Table Conversations."

(For those of you out there who still listen to music on the radio, NPR — which stands for National Public Radio — is a public radio station that features news, in-depth interviews, things like that. You know, the kind of things your dad listened to while you were growing up. White people love it.)

In this new series, NPR features families who have to make difficult decisions because of the economy. ("Should we take Johnny out of the private school?" "Will I be able to pay my massive Harvard Law School loans?" "How will we survive if we sell one of our three SUVs?" "How can I go out in public if I am ever forced to break down and buy a minivan!?")

They interview these families as they sit around their kitchen tables, usually married couples — sometimes along with their kids — trying to make the important adjustments required when dad loses his six-figure salary.

Now, you may think that when I first heard these conversations my thought was: "How sad: I hope these families are able to pull through."


My first thoughts immediately drifted to my kitchen table. This series put me into an instant panic, as I realized that my kitchen table would never do for such a series. And how would I ever achieve my life-long goal of public-radio stardom if NPR came by to interview Camber and me around our kitchen table? If they were to stop by, they would likely take one look at our table and say, "Oh! There's been some sort of mistake. We thought we were interviewing a real family. Real families have real kitchen tables."

Not that Camber and I don't have a kitchen table. Au contraire, we were given a kitchen table before our wedding by my fine brother Sean and his fine wife Catherine. And not that it hasn't served us well, or that we aren't grateful for it. It has, and we are. The table, though, is of that constantly-falling-apart and chairs-that-could-classify-as-torture category. (Case in point: when Sean and Catherine bought the table, there were four chairs. When they gave it to us, there were three. Now there are two. The chairs, like Republicans, are on the rapid path to extinction.)

On Saturday I simply could not take it any more. I needed to be a real family — the kind that has a real table, and real kitchen table conversations. The kind that could have four people over for dinner, and not have two people sitting on the piano bench. The kind that could have six people over for dinner, and not have two people sitting on flour bins.

And so we bought one. (I'll have to lambaste the insanely high prices of all-wood furniture in a future post.) We are finally a family now.




  1. Long time fan, first time writer, blah, blah, blah...So how can you as an individual be a family, even with a new table? I could see (you + your wife + a table = real family) but just you + table = family? That seems to stretch the definition of family quite a bit. Now to be honest I understand that your country has adopted all kinds of new family arrangements, but one person + item of furniture hardly seems like a family.

  2. James,

    I apologize for not making this clear, but I am married happily — and no, not to a table, but to a real life beautiful human woman.

    I do like your summary equation: me + my wife + table = real family. It's almost as good as a child. And since I don't have one right now, at least my family unit is now complete.

    (Next up: a children's book entitled, All Families are Different: Mine Has a Table.)

  3. Hey, Isaac, you should be on NPR! Your blog is hilarious.

  4. My mommy!

    Yes, I should be on NPR. Thank you for noticing. But I feel famous because my mommy reads my blog.

  5. I'm sorry - I'm usually a big fan of these blogs, but I have to comment just to express my indignation. Some of us really do have to figure out how to pay back Harvard Law School student loans! And we do it around our makeshift falling-apart over-a-decade-old tables. While listening to NPR.

    Fortunately, however, I think we qualify as a real family because we have real family couches. That, my friend, is the important thing.

  6. Brook,

    Are you sure you don't discuss it on your couches? When we had a falling-apart table, we did all of our discussions on our couches. They were much more comfortable (incidentally — they still are).

    And I apologize for mocking the dilemma of paying back Harvard Law loans. In my (slight) defense, I didn't mean that to be mocking nearly as much as the SUV, private-school-for-our-children, or minivan comments.

    Just put me down as jealous. :)

  7. Hmmm...Harvard Law School huh? I wouldn't fret too much, some how or another Harvard grads manage to scrape by, not sure how they do it, but they do.

  8. What's the difference between a Republican and a chair?

    The chair can still filibuster.