Thursday, December 21, 2006

But You Told Me To

Yesterday was a rough one for my young nephew. I'll call him Alfred. His teacher had had it. She was fuming over the condition of the room. Apparently, 25 hyperstimulated squirrel monkeys were just too much for her, and the classroom needed some attention. She stood in front, hands on her hips, and hissed through clenched teeth, "This room is a pigsty. I, am leaving for 15 minutes. You, will clean it up. When I return, this room had better sparkle." With that, she marched out of the room, apparently to have a nervous smoke and a nip off the hip flask. Obediently, the kids set out to make things right. They put away books and toys, cleaned the white board, tidied up all their desks, and hung up coats and hats. One even found some Windex and was going to work on the big wall of windows. From 4 feet and below, those windows were fingerprint-free. Now, little Alfred has a limited grasp of clean. He's perfectly content to sit for hours on his knees playing Legos or video games, in a room littered with weeks' worth of laundry and dead guinea pigs. At least, that's how it would be if it were up to him. Fortunately, our state has a health department and his mom has a healthy fear of it. What Alfred does have is a very literal mind. He found an industrial size jar of glitter. He remembered the Teacher's words. He could certainly make the room sparkle. As the other kids continued with their chores, he went around the room like a little wingless Tinkerbell, adding sparkle to every surface. Windowsills, ventilators, coatracks, bookshelves, and the Teacher's desk all received a generous sprinkling of fairy dust. He sat back, very pleased with the overall effect. Unfortunately, this did not earn him the praise he expected. In fact, she was even more furious than before, and made him desparkle the room after class. There's no pleasing some people.

No comments: