In the past few years many of my dearest friends have taken the leap (sometimes more of a falling off a cliff than an active leaping) into parenthood. And I have watched with awe and admiration as those folks all become parents. And while I have yet to have my own child (soon mom, I promise), being with Martin has brought a smaller someone into my life in what may be construed as a parenting role. We tend to eschew formal labels here at the domicile and I am certainly not a "step-parent" in any formal way to Martin's daughter, but let's just say that the role of "daddy's girlfriend" is becoming a regular character and not just a bit part these days.
And so, it is that my life is now littered with the cultural reference point of the 9-year old girl set. To wit: after a particularly rousing evening of playing the Sponge Bob Square Pants (TM) edition of the Game of Life, I find my head today full of all kinds of random Sponge Bob-ish trivia. It is, for example, preferred Life According to Bob the Sponge to end up with Grandma's House as your place of residence. Cheap, cozy and better than "the cave" as the other low-rent option, Grandma's House is a much covetted card in this game. And having stayed with my own Grandma last weekend, I think Sponge-y may have a point here. In addition, the Game of Life (TM) according to Sponge Bob is best navigated with one of the two career options: Fry Cook or Business Owner. A few months ago I would have found that an incongruous pairing, but knowing the lore of the Sponge as I now do, I understand that Sponge Bob's job (Fry Cook) is just as covetted (and apparently as well paying) as that of the independent business owner. Sweet! Though it is worth noting that one does have to follow the college track and get an education to become a Fry Cook, something Martin pointed out isn't too far from reality. Also good to know: you definitely do not want a giant clam as a pet (expensive!) and you will be rewarded in cash money if you protect the covetted secret formula for the Krabby Patty. Have I lost you yet? Only a few months ago this was a mystery world to me too, and now somewhere along the line it seems I picked all up and now I too can navigate the seas of Sponge Bob.
There are other things. I know the age, dating status and approximate height of Hilary Duff. And I finally understand those damn Tamagotchis, which totally baffled me the first time around. Somedays I fear that something valuable may be being lost in my brain space to make room for all this new trivia, but then Sponge Bob wouldn't stand for that kind of worrisome introspection, so I try to shrug it off.