#2 daughter and I were discussing The Computer Guy’s vices. We weren’t gossiping, of course (it’s against our religion). Rather, we were analyzing an interaction.

#2 daughter had tried to arrange a meeting with The Computer Guy, and he had declined, on the grounds that he had to work. #2 is not accustomed to having boys decline on any grounds. She expects, in fact, that they should be happy to give up their work entirely for the privilege of taking her to a movie. She was, therefore, seeking a hidden meaning in the conversation.

I don’t do this. I don’t trade in hidden meanings, myself. If I said that I regretfully declined an invitation because I had to work, it would mean that

I regretfully declined the invitation
I had to work

so I generally miss all hidden messages.

However, I’m pretty good at coming up with theories and multiple possible interpretations, and also I’m a good mom, so I joined in.

The two obvious options were that he had to work and that he was being polite, but actually doesn’t like her and doesn’t want to spend time with her. Having proposed those two scenarios, I then moved on to more elaborate interpretations. Unfortunately, all my other proposals involved The Computer Guy’s being snarky or mean.

“The problem is,” I said, “that he’s not mean. We’d know by now if he were mean.”

#2 daughter agreed. “I can’t even imagine him being mean. He has no vices. He doesn’t even drink coffee.”

We contemplated this in silence. And then we continued to contemplate it loudly, in scandalized tones, because we are talking here about a tech guy who, as far as we can tell, doesn’t drink caffeine at all. This is even more amazing than a boy who doesn’t want to go out with #2 daughter.

It isn’t possible that The Computer Guy actually has no vices. Everyone has vices.

“He drinks beer,” I offered.

#2 daughter snorted. She has been out drinking with him. “He drinks one beer.”

Further contemplation.

“He watches TV,” I suggested.

And in fact this was all we could come up with.

“Maybe he plans to run for president.”

We all have vices, though. It’s just that some of us have interesting vices worth blogging about, and some of us have dull, boring vices. Or that some of us have obvious, public vices, and some have secret vices that no one knows about.

Those are the ones that get a people in trouble when they run for president.