Fried Baloney & Foxp2

I’m not sure it’s the kind of protein you can get from eating fried baloney sandwiches, although, a fried baloney sandwich is good for all sorts of other reasons.

Foxp2 is a protein found more in women than in men, and according to researchers it is the reason women have the gift of gab. The official name for it is Forkhead box protein. Don’t you know some spoonheaded man came up with that?

Young girls have up to 30 percent more of this protein in their brains than their male counterparts. Albeit there are exceptions. My son, for instance. He can talk the hind socks off a braying donkey. Stephan, or Ste-Ste as he known among his siblings, was always vocal from the time he first discovered he had a voice.

Nobody in this family tells a story with more wit than Ste-Ste. He can take the most casual encounter and create an epic from it. When he was young and impressionable and I could tell him what to do, I encouraged him to write. He did for several of his high school years. Stephan wrote movie and book reviews for a lifestyle magazine. He still writes, but now he writes about dead people mostly. Historical figures, he calls them, altho the only thing that makes most of them historical is that they are already dead. Do you suppose after I’m dead I’ll be a historical figure?

Pastor Smitty’s wife must have had heaping doses of FoxP2 because nobody in my lifetime has talked more than Miz Betty. Like Ste-Ste, Miz Betty was a theater major in college. It’s no wonder the World War II pilot fell in love with Miz Betty. She was beautiful and captivating even when there wasn’t a spotlight on her. And the woman could “saang”, as they say down south. Miz Betty’s soprano could rattle church pillars.

But everybody, and I mean everybody, felt sorry for poor Smitty. We knew the only time he could get a word in around Miz Betty was that 20 minutes he was granted each Sunday morning and Sunday night. It was the only time Pastor Smitty could talk uninterrupted.

But then, again, Miz Betty did grow up in Texas, and I have yet to met a woman in Texas who didn’t enjoy a conversational marathon.

When my husband and I first got engaged, his pastor had us over for dinner one night where he issued a warning: The biggest problem you are going to have in this marriage is getting Tim to talk. 

I was never sure why Pastor Wayne thought that would be a problem. I don’t care if Tim talks to me. What I care about is whether he listens to me.

No marriage can survive two yammering people. Somebody has to pretend to listen and Tim is terrific at pretending like he’s listening.

Of course, after having grown up around their daddy, our girls are keenly aware that their father isn’t listening to them. They often complain to me about their phone conversations with Tim.

“Hey Daddy.”

“Hi Doll.”

Silence, while the daughter realizes Tim doesn’t know which of the three have called him. Doll is generic for “I forgot to look at my phone screen to see who was calling.”

“How was your day Daddy?”

“Fine.” This is generic code around our house for Tim isn’t paying attention. He’s watching a basketball game or How I Met Your Mother.

And without any prompting from Tim whatsoever, the daughter will usually tell him how her day went:

“I hit a deer driving home. The deer head shattered the windshield so I didn’t see the eight ducklings following their mama across the roadway until I ran over them. I pulled the car off the side of the road and struck a skateboarder who flew off his skateboard and broke both elbows. The skateboard hit a biker in the head and knocked her off the bike. Her bike shot out into the traffic circle where it caused a school bus full of children to crash.”


“Daddy? Did you hear me?”

“Yes, dear. Sounds like you had a busy afternoon. I’m sorry.”

I’m sorry is code around this house for Forgive me for not paying attention but I haven’t seen this episode of Big Bang Theory. 

That’s usually when the exasperated daughter will hang up the phone and call me in hysteria because ever since she left home ten years ago her father has ignored her.

The drama we mothers endure simply because our husbands lack some sort of protein to the brain. (I could tell you where all that extra male protein went to but that’s another story for another day and I’m not one for wasting stories.)

Daughter Ashley called me the other day to tell me that Grandson Sullivan found his voice — inside the grocery store. Sullivan realized that he could make noise so he just started vocalizing at the top of his voice. Babies don’t rattle church pillars the way a good soprano can. Or at least not Sullivan. His vocalizing sounds a lot like this:

Ashley keeps coaching Sullivan, trying to get him to say the most important word of anyone’s life: Mama.

Personally, I’m just waiting for the day I can feed Sullivan his first fried baloney sandwich, and hear him ask for another one: Peas, Granny. 

Who’s the talker around your house?






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  • Sharon O

    This is hysterical. We have this type of conversation at my house, living with a hearing impaired husband doesn’t help. AND I tend to end up laughing at my own jokes because after saying it, he doesn’t get it or didn’t hear it. Yes communication is a gift, Just don’t get me started on the ‘I am checking my cell phone while you are talking to me and have no clue what you just said’… my energy runs out fast.