Mayo Crunch

It’s not a good name for it. It sounds too much like a tuna sandwich. I will try to think of something better.

There’s a thing that the Mayos do. My Dad’s Dad, Gordon, did it. My Dad and his three sisters do it. I do it. I’m actually not sure about my biological sister, she might, but definitely not as much.

A little bit of background. The Mayos are a creative bunch. One aunt was the costume designer for the National Theatre for many years. Another aunt has written for and acted on the stage. The third aunt made me a little fruit and veg stall for my birthday when I was young (or maybe Christmas, I forget, but it’s not important). You wouldn’t believe this thing. Meticulous. A little wooden stall, with little wooden trays. Tiny pears, bananas, apples, all made of marzipan, hand-painted with food colouring to look… Well, it was amazing. I’ve never forgotten it.

They have done so much more than I have even hinted at. They paint. They write. They teach. They are pretty damn cool.

Sometimes a Mayo will have a thought, or a moment, that is almost unbearably exciting. A burst of joy. It’s so much that it transcends the emotional, and MUST have physical expression. A big grin, and usually an energetic wringing of the hands.

Hang-wringing is usually a bad thing, but not in this case. It’s like being gripped by a fizzing energy that is so all-consuming that you have to do something, anything, to help it disperse.

I don’t wring my hands. From a young age, I had my own version of the Mayo Crunch.

I will do my best to explain. It’s quite specific. Hold your hands up, flat, fingers pointing up, to the sides of your head – like blinkers, almost.

Fold the first finger of each hand ninety degrees down, so they sit right across each eye.

Keeping them there, fold your hands inward so they cover your face.

This position ensures maximum contact, face to hands. You want to really get in there.

Then you basically squeeze really hard. Right into your face. Crunch! Don’t worry if this feels weird, you’re only supposed to actually do it if you are in the grips of the fizzing, sparking, “oh my gosh this thing I’m thinking about right now is super coolfunexcitingawesome!” moment.

I don’t do the face squash any more, for a few reasons (glasses get in the way, and it’s not really in the spirit of the thing to carefully take them off, fold them, put them down, THEN go nuts), but I still feel the fizz.

If no-one can see me, I’m pretty sure I just gurn like an idiot. My eyes squeeze shut, teeth clamp together, lips are drawn wide. Sometimes I clench my fists tightly, so I can feel the muscles locking up all the way up my arms and into my shoulders. That’s the sensation you need – a moment of overwhelming energy. Everything tenses, almost – I imagine – what happens when being electrocuted. Once the fizz has boiled away, it’s back to normal.

I know how it sounds. Or at least I can guess. But it’s a part of life, and that’s mostly what I explore in these blog posts. It’s a thing I do.

Maybe everyone does it. I think I’d actually be quite disappointed if that turned out to be the case. I consider it a uniquely Mayo thing, a consequence of their creative brains. Always whirling, popping, burning.

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