Being a KIA · 27 June 2008

In our house, KIA is not a car manufacturer, it is an acronym that stands for Know It All (KIA). Apparently, I am the biggest KIA of them all. My wife assures me of that almost any time I open my mouth.

The thing is that I am a KIA by birth. After all, my dad is one. But being a KIA is not as easy for me as it was for my father before me. My dad would rattle off story after story and fact after fact without so much as a whisper of doubt from his children or his wife. At least when we were under the age of about six. After that, my mom could not keep it inside and would laugh out loud at some of the wild stories my dad would tell. After hearing Mom laugh then seeing us kids look to him for reassurance, Dad would reply to our doubts with, “It’s true,” or “How could you doubt your father?” Even now, there is always a touch of hurt in his voice right before he cracks a smile and reveals which part or parts of the story are close to factual and which are less so.

To be fair, my dad does know lots of stuff. And he talks like an expert about everything. Even if he knows nothing about a subject, he can sound like he is the leading expert. He has mastered the art of being a KIA because he has done it for years.

The problem with following in my dad’s KIA footsteps is the internet. I find myself remembering little bits of information about just about everything I read. Even scanning the newspaper, I pick up bits of stories that I did not really read. So when our family has conversations at the dinner table, I usually interject something from a story that I glanced at. Most of the time, I am responding to a question or comment from somebody else. Regardless of why the nugget of information came from my mouth, I get shot down by my wife, the Mindboggling Mrs. M. Words such as, “You are such a KIA,” or a laugh like my mom used to give my dad often greets my plethora of knowledge. My kids do not even get to experience the Dad-Knows-All phase of life because the Mindboggling Mrs. M will not let them.

Recently, I was trying to correct how my wife was trying to sing the Wizard of Oz song. In my true KIA fashion, I let her know that the phrase she was trying to sing should be, “If ever a wever the wiz there was.” Even as she and the children laughed at me, I trudged on with righteous indignation. “‘Wever’ is a made up word that they put in the song just to make it sound good,” I said knowingly. The whole family laughed at my long held belief. I just knew those were the true words because I had heard the song so many times in my youth. I was positive that “wever” was a word in the song and figured it must have been made up to fit the song. Just like I said.

After everybody got off the floor from their fits of laughter and even before dinner was over, the Mindboggling Mrs. M sent one of the kids to look up the words to the song. In a flash, the internet provided not only the real words (“If ever O ever a wiz there was…”), but also more ammunition to the argument that I am not even close to knowing it all.

I guess that the days of children believing that their fathers know it all are gone. I thought that like my father before me, I would get a few years of awe from my children as I spouted out words of knowledge and wisdom. I thought that it would be later in life that my kids believed I did not have all the answers. Like it was for my dad. I suppose that it is okay for kids to know that their dads do not know everything. Even if I do not like it.

I readily admit that I do not know it all. I even think it funny that for many many years I had the right sounds but the wrong words to a familiar song. I even like the fact that I get called to the carpet when something I say sounds pretty good but is probably bunk. I guess that when all is said and done, I like being a KIA. Even though it is a label my wife gives me to make fun of me.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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