I have to confess something.
I’m not a kid person.
Well, I shouldn’t say that.
I’m a case-by-case kid person.
It’s nothing personal. All kids are miracles… blah blah blah.
And, for sure, if I saw a kid – any kid – being bullied or in trouble somehow, I’d totally step in and kick some non-kid arse.
It’s not that I want them all gone from the planet or anything.
It’s just that, to me, not all kids are cute and I don’t necessary want to spend time with all kids.
Don’t get me wrong, my kids were wicked cute when they were little.
No matter what they did, I still loved them.
Because they were my kids.
Like, once Mac locked her two little brothers in the closet (I think she told them they were playing hide and seek) and left them there for a while. We are still dealing with the psychological ramifications of that incident (At this point, the ramifications just take the form of the boys yelling at her over the Thanksgiving dinner table, while she laughs maniacally).
I still love her.
And when Gabe drank fruity smelling shampoo and had me on the phone to poison control (“Hi. Me again.”) or Sam dropped his most prized possession (his blue, plastic ‘rah’ (Brontosaurus) on the upper deck of Route 93 (pre-Big Dig) and freaked out on the way to an MRI (and, believe me, he needed his ‘rah’ for the MRI) and I actually got out of my car, in the middle of rush hour to retrieve the ‘rah’?
Still thought they were so cute (well, maybe not in those exact moments… but once I recovered, they were cute again).
Again, my kids.
It never occurred to me that other, non-related human beings would – or should – consider them cute.
Enter other types of people.
The should kind.
Okay, first, because you might be new (or forgetful). let me help you (because I like you and I feel that you are ready for the complexities of Should Person Identification (SPI… a little like CSI… but less blood spattering and more blood boiling)).
When you come across anyone who seems to be personally affronted that other human beings (or anything really) isn’t operating the way he or she think they … wait for it…. should?
Well, you might be in the presence of a Should Person.
But it’s not that easy though.
The keys to that description are the two little words: The adverb, ‘personally’ and the past participle, ‘affronted’.
Totally looked that up. I am thirty years out of high school, people, I didn’t even remember there was a grammatical diagram-y option called a ‘participle’ until I looked up ‘affronted’.
‘Personally affronted’ is the Rosetta Stone of ‘should person’ identification.
Also, in extreme cases, ‘self righteous’. But that phrase doesn’t get introduced until SPI 300 as it is an advanced concept.
So just because you use the world ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ doesn’t make you a ‘should person’.
I know. As with all explanations, examples help.
You are driving on a deserted highway, late at night, and you get a flat tire so you have to pull over and there is, like, nothing. Just complete darkness, and the feeling that many scary wild animals are watching you.
And, also, spiders.
And you get your tire and tire iron out of the back of the car (imagine a full size tire, not those wicked small, fake ones that look like little Johnny could use it in his scooter repair business).
So you roll your tire over to the side of the car and you use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on the dead tire (I didn’t have time to bring you through the ‘jacking up the car’ part, so let’s just assume it’s already jacked up).
The lug nuts are rusty so it’s really hard to get them to loosen and you hear coyotes in the distance and you start to get completely freaked out because you can’t see a thing because you didn’t listen to your parents at all and never carry a flashlight in the car and the light front the inside is only doing you a little bit of good because your shadow keeps obscuring your view of the lug nuts and all of a sudden your tire iron thingie breaks in the middle because it is a cheap piece of poop, most likely crafted by child laborers and you have contributed to their sad plights because you bought this particular car and what the fuh?
And then a serial killer shows up.
I know, right?
Okay. This is an example of a totally acceptable ‘should’ thing that does not mean you are officially a Should Person.
Because, remember, the key identifier here is ‘personally affronted‘.
Sure, you probably didn’t like that a serial killer showed up. And you probably weren’t even conflicted about it. But your response was probably more, “Oh shit” than “This serial killer seems cranky. He should eat more organic.”
See the difference?
Where was I pre-lesson?
So more and more, in stores and really any public places, I am finding myself in the presence of people who just need me (and everyone else) to notice their cute kid.
And how do I know this?
Because they speak to their children WICKED LOUDLY in order to draw attention to them.
Here is how it goes:
I am looking at a cute sweater and thinking, “Huh. This is a cute sweater.”
And I am suddenly aware of talking… loud talking. And when I look up there is a cherub somewhere in my vicinity and it is probably too little to make.. you know.. words (maybe it is monosyllabic, but sentences are way beyond junior’s capability). And here is the conversation, via the Mom or Dad:
“OH DO YOU LIKE THAT SWEATER LITTLE JONATHAN? IT IS ORANGE. ORRRRRRR-ANNNNNGE. ORANGE IS A COL-OR. O-R-A-N-G-E…”
And if I don’t pay attention right away, it just continues…
“YOU LOVE COLORS DON’T YOU? DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN WE LEARNED OTHER COLORS? CAN YOU FIND BAH-LOO? BAH-LOO? NOPE. THAT IS YELLOW. YEL-LOW. FIND BAH-LOO. COOKIE MONSTER IS BAH-LOO. THE SPANISH WORD FOR BAH-LOO IS AH-ZOOL. AH-ZOOOOOL…”
And the freakin’ scene just goes on and on and on.
And I can actually feel the adoring parent’s eyeballs on me… just willing me to pay attention to their cherub.
And is there evidence of personal affrontal? Why, yes there is. It shows up in the barely audible (or sometimes quite audible) sigh that the parent emits when taking his or her cherub by the hand and leading them elsewhere…
Probably to the next unsuspecting sweater considerer.
And when that happens? When they lead the kid away, all defeated like?
I have to confess… I feel a little victorious.
I feel a little…
IT MEANS THAT YOU FEEL ALL POWERFUL. LIKE THE COUNT WHEN HE COUNTS TO THE NUMBER OF THE DAY. CAN YOU COUNT TO FIVE? ONE… TWO… THREE…. WHAT COMES AFTER THREE? COME ON I KNOW YOU KNOW IT….
You wanna go?
Thanks for readin’.
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