Strange Physics

I never took advanced sciences in school — no physics or chemistry for people who just wanted to be teachers, advised the mis-advised advisers of Larkin High circa 1973.

Therefore I don’t know the name of the principle that makes sound leaving the source change into something it wasn’t meant to be as it reaches its destination.

For instance: I say to my daughter: “Did you sign up for [insert activity here]?”

What reaches her ears, however is something more along the lines of: “Why don’t you ever follow through with anything?”

Or I ask her a few questions about the colleges she’s applying to while I help stick stamps on the application envelopes and she hears criticism.

I know this must be a true law of nature — akin to gravity and that one about objects in motion going through the windshield if you step on the break really really fast — because it was around when I was a teenager. My mom would say, after I lost my retainer for the fourth time, “Did you look everywhere for it?”

I would hear something completely different, like “Why can’t you be like your brother who doesn’t lose anything and is cute besides?”

If anyone has an idea of what this law of phyics physics [gah! typos] is, please let me know, otherwise I’m going to think it’s psychological. Or that my brother was actually cuter than me.

7 thoughts on “Strange Physics

  1. Despite the fact that my father taught physics, I never took a physics class. So I can’t help you out. But I may have to ask my best friend to read this post…


  2. I actually took Physics in 11th grade … but honestly have no clue at this point in my life (48 years later). I’d be inclined to think its ‘psychological’ in nature, but I’ve never seen your brother or you ;–)
    Hugs and blessings,


  3. In teens the brain chemistry goes a little haywire with hormones and all. If I were you, I’d seek out a chemistry teacher to answer your question. I’m not at all convinced it’s a matter of physics or psychology.


  4. Hi Storyteller — I’d show you pictures of the two of us as kids — but I’m worried you’d agree with my mom. When he was an adorable grade school kid I was an awkward adolescent.

    Tina — I hadn’t thought of chemistry. Good point!


  5. It’s an hormonal filter problem. Before it gets to the brain of the receiver, it goes through their personal filter, and comes out completely different from that sent by the speaker. Fortunately this is usually resolved by leaving adolescence, but there is however always a residual filter left. Some peoples’ filters are much stronger than others, and never weaken.


  6. High school guidance counselors– What’s wrong with them?! I can only tell you that I cajole many students to take physics and only convince a few. However, after working with teenagers for many years, I am confident the law is simply one of selective teenage hearing impairment. You can take heart because you only have a few years to struggle with this malady; I have a life sentence.


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