Owen, almost 11, uses finger quotes incorrectly and inappropriately all the time. He did it today and it reminded me of the time he did it in such a spectacular fashion that I just knew I had to write about it. Because, before this incident, I would have never thought the use of air quotes could cause me to feel such rage. I mean, come on, they’re just a finger gesture, right?
On Sunday October, 20, 2013, Owen fell while playing football in the street. He hit the back of head so hard he sustained a mild concussion. Part of his discharge instructions called for a week of “Brain Rest.” (Those are real quotes, not finger quotes… yet.) Brain Rest involves complete rest of the brain. That means no reading, writing, tv, or electronics. He was allowed to return to school on the third day, but he was just supposed to listen. (Although, now that I think about this, doesn’t listening use the brain too? I don’t know now. It made sense at the time. It was so he wouldn’t get too far behind in his school work.) Our pediatrician was very adamant about the benefits of Brain Rest because she had just gone to a seminar about it. I guess it is a new-ish recommendation and not yet universal. It is supposed to speed the healing of the brain.
Owen returned to school on Wednesday. He, of course, was very excited about not having to do any work. I walked him to school in the morning to explain to his teacher in person Owen’s restrictions and give him the doctor’s note in person. The teacher was fine about it and we discussed some new deadlines for projects and things. It didn’t seem like a big deal at all.
When Owen came home from school I asked him how his day went. He said it was fine and that he was bored most of the day. He then told me a story about how the principal came and sat next to him during class. She asked him about what he did to get a concussion. She also asked him about what “Brain Rest” was. Owen used finger quotes. Then he said he felt like the principal didn’t believe he was really hurt. He laughed it off, as Owen does. He thinks everything is amusing or funny in someway. He was in no way offended at the idea that the principal didn’t believe him.
But I was! What I took from her conversation with Owen is that she wanted to know if he was really hurt and if “Brain Rest” (FINGER QUOTES!) was a real thing. I was so irate! We gave them a doctor’s note! The doctor’s note explained what his Brain Rest restrictions were. If she had a question about this she should have called us! How dare she! I called my husband to bitch about this principal. I talked to my mom about it. I was really worked up about it. THE NERVE of her.
The next day, Owen overheard me retelling the story to a friend. And at the part when I talk about the principal using finger quotes, he interrupted, “Um, Mommy, Mrs. XYZ didn’t use finger quotes when I talked to her. I just did that when I told you the story. Is that bad?”
Yep, that’s my
Joey Owen. I have tried to teach him the correct use, but it has so far proved impossible. I just completely discourage his use of them at all.