The real reason you cannot help parroting your parents.

Posted on December 21, 2011


Welcome to another installment of WTF Wednesday, where all warrantees have long since expired.

Today’s question comes from Paulkellis (@paulkellis) who writes:

Dear IBMP,

Why is it when we hear our parents’ voices coming out of our mouths, we can’t stop it? Sometimes we don’t even try. So, why are we astonished when it happens?

First of all, for the benefit of our other readers, I should point out that Paul’s Gravatar image includes what appears to be a very sharp sword and I suspect that he knows how to use it. So if I seem a bit sycophantic or otherwise concerned about pissing him off in any way, you’ll understand I’m sure.

Well Mr. Ellis, that is without a doubt one of the best questions ever asked of the crack team here at IBMP. And I’ll just add that you looked truly dashing in that robe thingy you were wearing to whatever beheading you were at when your Gravatar picture was taken.

As for why we can’t stop it when we hear our parents’ voices coming out of our mouths, let me ask this: can you stop the unpleasant effluvium emanating from every pore for days after a triple garlic pesto pizza? Not a chance, right?  And why not? Because your body is so full of garlic even it doesn’t want to be in the same room as you.

My point is that when something is in there and has to get out it will find a way. So the first questions to ask are: Why is it in there? and, Why does it have to get out?

It’s in there because you’ve been absorbing it since you were floating around in mom’s womb and you’d hear your dad say, “When our baby is born I’m not going to be like my parents at all, I swear.”

As you no doubt now recognize, he was full of that joyful yet terribly misguided optimism that comes with watching your wife’s belly grow while listing all the things you hated about how you were raised and that you won’t do. By the way, those of you who are currently in that stage, save that list; it’s a perfect predictor of all the things you will do when you get a bit older.

So think of all that crap your parents do and say as the weird blue liquid they use in commercials and your brain is a diaper. And here’s the thing about being human diapers: you know how they always say we use only 10 percent of our brains? Well, that’s because the other 90 percent is reserved exclusively for storage of all the useless sayings, mannerisms and inflections that we’re absorbing from constant exposure to our parents.

It’s a lot of brain space but it is indeed finite. The average human begins to exceed the capacity of this storage around the age of 30. From that point on, the brain begins releasing these useless and often annoying bits of drivel back into the atmosphere.

You can’t stop it because in order to do so you would need to stop absorbing useless drivel thereby not putting further pressure on the brain to make room for it. That would mean avoiding watching most reality television, anything that has to do with politics, and just about everything on this blog. And nobody wants to give up reality TV.

As for why people are astonished when it happens, well all I can figure is that we’re in denial.  I mean you don’t have to be bloody Nostradamus to predict that you’ll become your parents. There’s even a whole blog about that very topic. If I can remember the name of it, I’ll pass it along…

Problem solved! You’re welcome.

Post your question below, send  it via the “contact” page or Twitter. If it gets picked to be featured on WTF Wednesday, I’ll send you a digital copy of the IBMP Dictionary of Parenting Terms in the file type of your choice.

Posted in: Advice (bad)