Thursday, April 5, 2012

Episode 50: Nice People

I have learned some interesting things during my travels and gatherings. For instance, Ashland, Ohio is the “World Headquarters of Nice People.” I am sure it is totally unrelated, but Ashland is also the World Headquarters of Last Place Finishers. Anyway, we didn’t stop there, but I am curious as to how nice people there really are. Clearly they do not have any sort of government offices there, thus have just never been tested as to their niceness. Also, how many people does it take to be the World Headquarters of Nice People? It didn’t really look like a very big town. Or maybe it really is just the headquarters, so there is an office with a few people toiling away at whatever it is nice people around the world need from their headquarters.

Apparently I am not a very nice person because I have never been contacted with an offer to be part of their organization. Maybe we should declare Fort Wayne the World Headquarters of Nice People and see what they do. Then we will find out how nice they really are. I am trying to image a brawl between people all claiming to be the nicest. Maybe I should do some research on this whole thing and get back to you on it. (I have to be honest; it is very unlikely I will remember any of this by the time I get to the end of this column.)

In any case, I also learned my breath is not so great in the morning, at least according to my 4-year-old. At one of the many recent family gatherings, I think we were in Cleveland for this one, she did something ornery shortly after getting up in the morning. So, being the proactive father I am, I of course pulled her aside to give her a serious talk about how tying her brother to the dog using the cat’s tail was not a good choice for her. (I cannot remember exactly what offense it actually was, but that sounds like something she may have tried if she had thought of it.).

It being a holiday family gathering, I am sure I had eaten all sorts of delectables the night before, and I am equally sure they were probably still simmering away somewhere in whatever part of the body uses the mouth as an exhaust pipe. In any case, in the midst of my serious discussion, somewhere around “Do you really thing you should have done that?” and “Do you really think your brother wanted you to do that?” she looks me straight in the eye and says, with all the gravity she can muster, “Daddy, your breath makes me stinky.” When I tried, unsuccessfully, to stifle my laughter she tried to impress upon me her seriousness and replied, “It really does!”

Well, what can you say to that? I am pretty sure she is a genius at getting herself out of trouble, and she doesn’t only use her charm on her parents. She has a pink blanket, satin on one side, very soft material of some sort on the other. This blanket has been around for pretty much all of her four years and she has a little ritual with it when she is sleepy. She threads her two middle fingers around the blanket’s tag and then sucks on them, leaving her index and pinky fingers to wiggle around rubbing the tag on her nose. It is very cute, but the tag is probably on the top ten grossest things on the planet by now. It is also pretty much shredded and hanging desperately onto the blanket by very few threads. One day I tried to prepare her for the day when the tag is going to fall off. She, however, is not concerned because, “I love my tickly tag. I told God to please not take it off and He respected me.”

As long as that tag stays on, I don’t feel so bad about falling prey to her charms.

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