Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Day I Disowned My Daughter

"Do your children like to read?"

She stood outside the local Borders with pamphlets in hand, ready to pounce, a tigress with a sales quota based on parental guilt and state-test underachievement steeped in unfunded federal mandates.

She looked 22, but everyone obviously younger than me but beyond puberty does these days. She was blonde with straight hair, square shoulders and a round pin advertising salvation for tween TV obsessed. She looked pleasant. Happy. Content with her station, such as it was, behind a table of four-color glossy brochures of smiling, bookwormed kids and a Technicolor vomit of photocopied fliers standing on the concrete apron outside a suburban bookstore on this sun-drenched, suburban June morning.

She was definitely not from these parts.

Did she know about Thing 1's track record? The summer school following first grade. The remedial state-grant funded afterschool program. Was this mockery or coincidence?

Thing 1 had made great progress this past year. She bypassed another mid-year classroom swelter by the virtue of a generous "alternate" testing methodology. But she was still not up to 8-year-old par. No Nintendo DS Lite for this little one.

Now, this woman stood here, self-assured with a knowing look that here comes a neat commission on 249 bucks a week worth of "reading is fundamental" schlepping toward her in an age-inappropriate indy band T-shirt featuring Phil Spector in an amazing, gravity-defying, pre-mistrial white boy 'fro.

So, was this mockery or coincidence?

"Sorry," I waved her off. "I don't have any kids."

Please click to tell the world that someone likes me!


  1. Oh.. Poor Thing 1. I bet you cave and give her the DS anyway 'cause you're a big ol softie.

    And don't don't look a day older than 37.

  2. Enh, that's OK... not everyone is a reader. (I've learned that from teaching.)
    You used the perfect line on that woman! I can't stand people trying to sell me things.

  3. Amazing thing the mind is. Look what gets processed in the 2 seconds between the question "Do your children like to read?" and the answer "I don't have any kids."

  4. I do something similar at the mall. All the sales people at the kiosks wanting to see your nails, or curl your hair....I just say I already have whatever their selling and they can't wait to ignore me.

  5. Okay, apologies in advance for this shameless plug, but in addition to bypassing leafleteers (is that a word?) why not bypass the chain bookstore and give the indie stores in New Canaan (Elm Street Books) or Noroton (Barrett Books) a try? They're much nicer places to shop, you support the local economy, and no one creepy lurks out front...Well, I can't promise that last one is true, but you get the idea.

  6. MM - It's bought and well hidden. I must stay strong!

    Pancakes - I also considered asking if her womb was available for rent.

    Janet - Must be all the lube I use. Thanks for joining my little parade. Trumbone or flute?

    Denise - When the cologne people try to spritz me, I offer them some of my own scent by rubbling up against their legs.

    FTF - I was in dire need of gift cards. Please don't hate me.

  7. it's fun to pretend. FUN. damn anyone who says otherwise.


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