Yesterday one of those little weasel kindergartners stole Skippy’s Lightning McQueen backpack. He came out at the end of class and it wasn’t hanging on the hook. What is up with that? He told me that every bad thing happened to him today. He got pushed down, and scraped, and had no snack. I believe him. Kindergarten is brutal. I made a strategic error when I was volunteering in the classroom a few weeks ago. I was minding my own business, helping five kids at a tiny table to assemble paper reindeer. I gradually became aware of a conversation between two of them. The little girl was explaining how she doesn’t like nicknames and the little boy was slinging them at her, one after another, each one making her more upset than the last. Now, this is not my first time in kindergarten, so you would think I would have been smart enough to stay out of an argument that had nothing to do with me. But no. I had to be a hero. I have no idea how I was so foolish as to let this come out of my mouth, but I confessed that DK calls me Cupcake, and that sometimes I don’t like it.
I really put myself out there, emotionally speaking, and that little brat took advantage and would not stop calling me Cupcake! It was getting embarrassing, and I was worried that the kindergarten teachers were going to hear. So I did the only thing I could do. I sat down in the tiny little chair next to him and hissed at him in my meanest grown-up voice, “If you don’t stop calling me Cupcake, I’m going to tell on you. Do you understand me?” Poor Skippy. It is a tot-eat-tot world.
Skip narrowly avoided public humiliation this morning. Ethan and DK got him off to school. With his backpack gone, they were looking for a pack for him to tote to school. Hanging on the closet door was the kitty backpack. He got it for Christmas last year. It is literally a cat, with straps. It is like wearable roadkill. But he is five. He doesn’t really know any better. I guess it all comes down to one thing: Who’s your friend?
It is why I usually can’t watch much of the initial American Idol shows. I have a very low tolerance for seeing people embarrass themselves in public. Every year I can’t help but ask myself, when some sweet, tone-deaf guy from Idaho gets up and butchers yet another Stevie Wonder song: Doesn’t he have a single friend in the world? No one who will take him aside and tell him, look, Dougie, you’re a nice guy. You have a lot of great qualities. You do that awesome armpit puppet thing. You play a mean game of chess. Your knock-knock jokes are seriously...well, you know. But Dougie, I am your friend, so I am going to tell you what no one else will. Here it is: You can’t sing. You couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. I know when we have office karaoke, everyone tells you how great you are. They are either tone-deaf or cruel. Or both. Don’t do it, Dougie. Save your money for that Star Trek Convention you’ve had your eye on. And whatever you do, don’t wear the kitty backpack in public!