Last night, after I zipped Junior up in his fleece footy pajamas, he hugged me and said, “I’m so happy I’m warm! I’m warm, Mommy! I’m so happy!”
Chuck glared at me. “Tonight’s the last night!” Then he looked in the hallway at this:
“Noooooooooooo…” I pleaded.
“No more fans," he said. "In the summer? Fine. Winter? No.”
“What if we just turn the heat up higher?”
I cried right then. Go ahead and call me strange, but you have to understand something: Fans are so valued in my family, they are passed down through generations. I don’t know if we were all aviators in past lives and crave the whir of engines or what, but fans are my family’s crack.
See? Here's my Great Uncle Morty and Aunt Flossie with their loved ones—all four of them:
And my grandfather? He had a metal fan he lovingly called Whirling Death.
I have fond memories as a child of it chasing me across the kitchen floor—the blades spun so fast that it hopped—as it tried to eat my skirt. It’s resting in my dad’s basement but someday it will be mine.
And you know how some fathers try to impart handy wisdom on their daughters so they don’t end up as vacuous princesses who can’t tell a fishing lure from a Muppet? (It’s more common than you think.) Some dads might teach their daughter how to drive stick; others might show them how to use power tools. When I was 16, my dad took away my beloved window fan and stuck a need-to-be assembled fan in front of me and told me to get to it.
My mom’s family is even worse. When we vacation together and unpack our cars, everyone is knee-deep in box fans:
We’re like groupies at a fucking fan convention. The first time Chuck went away with my family he freaked out, mostly because instead of the usual greetings, we sounded like this:
“You have your fan?”
“Yes, of course. Of course. I sat with it between my legs.”
“I was so worried you’d forget it and we'd have to go to the store.”
“Never. I brought two this time.”
“Oh good. Let’s turn them all on right now.”
“Yes! Yes! Let’s go plug them in and have a cup of coffee in front of the fans.”
Out of everyone, my shithead brother has it the worst. He once left my mother’s house in the middle of the night in a snowstorm. He had forgotten to bring his own fan and the noise from my mom's fan wasn’t good enough. She was across the hall—with the door open.
Now look, I don’t want Junior to grow up to be a freak about fans but if it runs in the family, what can I do? I need the noise (and no, sound machines don’t cut it). And I have so few vices. I mean, really, besides self-mutilation and being a raging wino, I am the picture of inner peace. I don’t smoke, I don’t bite my nails, I don’t do whip-its, I don’t need to wean myself off Facebook or Poker.
I am Zen + box fan.
Can’t I just have my fan, Chuck? I promise next time it’ll be different. We can put the fan in the bathroom instead. You won’t even know it’s there.
The other option, honey, is that once I inherit Whirling Death I sick it on you.
(I know everyone out there has a weird familial vice, too. Come clean, what is yours? Subarus? Toilet paper dolls? Crock pots?)