Archive for February 2012
You’ve got to get your act together, people. This is not difficult. But just in case you left your brain behind today, I shall spell it out for you:
1. Thag shares a post here.
2. You read it and decide it must be shared with the rest of the world, for it is a work of social commentary so trenchant and relevant that the world must see it.
3. You share it with the rest of the world.
4. Thag leaves you alone.
5. You go back to doing whatever it is that you do when you’re not hanging on my every word.
6. You look back, not too many years from now, and realize you were instrumental in stroking the ego of the great Thag.
Originally posted September 13, 2010
Since the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the US military has received so much media coverage in recent weeks, months and years, I thought it germane to note that we, too, have a policy by that name, and that perhaps other parents might want to post the elements of this policy around the house for the offspring to review, then ignore at will.
Because that’s what they do. They would not be independent beings if they blindly performed every little task we ordered them to. They would not generate such vicarious pleasure if obedience and proper behavior were to be expected. If they actually cleaned up after themselves after, say, missing the toilet in such a way that the mechanics of the incident remain scientifically inexplicable, we would not notice. It must be thus.
That does not stop us from expecting the best from them at all times. I am pleased to present, therefore, Thag’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy:
1. For a snack unless you are prepared to accept an apple or carrot.
2. The same goddamn question again and again and again.
3. For pizza for every single meal.
4. To stay home from school. Not happening.
5. For more clothes. You have more than enough.
6. Why that person is so fat, unless you do so in a very, very soft voice. So soft that not even I will hear you.
7. For dessert until everyone else has also finished eating.
8. Me to help you find something unless you have looked ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE.
9. For a band-aid unless it’s for a band-aid-appropriate injury. The following injuries do not qualify: Invisible scratches; bruises; mosquito bites; soreness; nonexistent wounds.
10. For anything we have already told you you will not get, in the hope that we will forget that we revoked that privilege as a result of something you did.
11. Any question at all to which you already know the answer, but are just looking for the security of getting the response you expected. You will not like the response you get, so don’t ask it.
1. On your siblings unless they are doing something dangerous.
2. Anyone they’re fat.
3. Me you weren’t doing anything when I clearly saw you or heard you engage in an activity I’ve told you at least four billion times, in the last three days alone, not to do.
4. Me you couldn’t hear me when you simply weren’t listening.
5. Your innocent younger siblings anything other than the unvarnished truth. Or your older siblings. Or your parents. Or anyone.
6. Your mother you’ll be back home at five unless you really WILL be back home at five, which means leaving your friend’s house a good bit BEFORE five to ensure that you get home on time.
7. Me to do your laundry because you have no clean clothes. In our society, we have this concept called “respect” that calls for making requests, not demands, especially when demands will make me simply say, “No.” You will find this mode of communication extremely helpful with anyone who holds any power whatsoever over you.
8. Your friends that your father has a secret identity as a superhero. Even if true, it only invites unwanted attention and makes my life more difficult. Goes-Eight-Months-At-A-Time-Without-Showering-Man cannot perform his duties with all that distraction.
9. Solicitors at the door or on the phone that we are available.
10. Me you’re not hungry right after I prepared you the food for which you just asked. Tough.
11. Me you won’t when I insist you will, or vice versa.
12. Me something happened accidentally when it happened because you were touching or playing with something not yours.
13. Me about anything less urgent than life-threatening danger before 6 in the morning, and even then, it might depend whose life.
Other policy elements shall be issued from time to time; please note them and internalize them. Other parents are naturally welcome to develop their own policies, as well as to suggest additions or amendments to the one delineated above. Just not before six in the morning.
Good morning and welcome aboard Incontinental Airlines Flight Number One to Biard, France (Airport code PIS). Urine for a pleasant flight today. I’m Captain “Lefty” Ureter, and assisting me are copilots Phil Bladder and Kidney Stone.
Our flight time today will be approximately five hours and twenty minutes, and will include the in-flight movie Pishin Impossible, starring the inimictible Peer Graves. Our route will take us over northern France, which this time of year is flush with greenery.
Shortly after takeoff our sewerdesses will begin offering beverage cart service, so please do not block the aisles, especially those leading to the restrooms. For your convenience, Incontinental Airlines has begun installing innovative technology to make the emergency oxygen apparatus double as a urine bag in case a passenger begins to diaperventilate.
On today’s flight we have something special: a delegation of the Republican Potty. These men are whizzes at what they do, especially the head of the group, Yuri Nalyssis. He’s sitting in row seven, and would love to speak with – oh, excuse me, you’re in eight? You’re in eight? Is that right?
Please stay tuned for the safety presentation by the sewerds and sewerdesses. After that we will await the OK from micturition control.
Uh oh. Ladies and gentlemen, please stay in your seats. We may have a leak…
Originally posted March 31, 2011
Pluralism means wanting or accepting our differences, even if those differences are very big. Timmy, sit down, and leave Marcia alone. Leaving Marcia alone means you accept her being different from you, even though she never takes a bath. We call that part of pluralism “tolerance.”
When we are tolerant, we do not make other people feel bad for being different from us. Gregory here is the only black person in this class, but to call him “son-of-a-whore” because of it would not be tolerant, even if he probably doesn’t know who his father is. Kim and Anna’s parents came from some godforsaken country in Asia, but we do not call them “gook” or “slanty-eyed.” We want to be pluralistic.
Now, the principal wants us to talk about pluralism because some children in the older grades beat up another student because he goes to a Mormon church, not a real church. We all know that beating people up for being different is wrong; we’re only supposed to give them dirty looks and say they will go to Hell when they die. But Principal Martin thinks we need to try even harder than that. So we’re going to talk about pluralism and tolerance.
You might think that we don’t try to be tolerant when someone is clearly wrong, but actually, that’s exactly when it happens. Even though Jews are Hellspawn who killed our Lord, we are not going to spit on Jacob or Beth. We are going to treat them as we treat everyone else. Yes, Timothy, that means they stay in the room when we have our class Christmas party.
Pluralism is one of the reasons our founding fathers made sure there would be freedom of religion, and that’s the way the courts still see it, even though our founding fathers did not face the danger of Muslims trying to impose Shariah law on us and make us their servants. Yes, Jessica, that’s exactly what they believe; just ask your pastor. But if we had a Muslim in our class, there would be no singling him or her out for beaning during dodge ball just for that reason. He would also have to be a nerd. Yes, Timothy, he could also come to the Christmas party.
What’s that, Grace? Well, that is a good question, but not really about pluralism, so I’ll answer it very briefly. Our founding fathers decided we need what’s called a “separation of church and state,” which means that the government will not favor one religious group over another. But of course everyone knows they meant this to be a Christian nation, so having a Christmas party in a public school is no big deal.
But back to pluralism. In addition to talking about pluralism, we’re going to spend some time practicing it. I have here a dress – a very ugly dress. Jacob, you’ll get to wear this dress and stand at the front of the class. The rest of us will practice trying not to laugh or throw things at Jacob.
We’ll do this every morning, right after the pledge of allegiance. Jacob, Beth, Kim, Anna and Gregory will take turns wearing the dress.
Now, if you’ll open your English books to page forty…