Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Writing on the Wall

By Conrad Spencer

As a parent, there are certain milestones you look forward to with great anticipation -- your child's first step, first words, starting kindergarten. Few things are as cool as when your child sits down and reads you a Dr. Seuss book. Literacy, however, has its dark side.

My son, 6 years old and in first grade, is reading exceptionally well. In fact, he's committed himself to reading 100 books during the month of April. He's already up to 23.

Last night my family and I went out to a Chinese restaurant in Shawnee (an old Western Sizzlin' turned King Buffet) because the marquee advertised a new sushi bar. We live 40 miles from the nearest sushi so this is a great development in my life, even if the sushi itself was mediocre at best.

In the middle of the meal, my son announced his need to potty. I took him to the facilities. He enters the stall and, while doing his businesses, says "Dad, there are words all over the wall!"

"Really?"

"Yeah! 'Hit that...that...puss-ee all night long.' What does that mean?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all. C'mon, let's wash your hands."

It's hysterical, but ...

Maybe I'm overly sentimental, or I just read too much.

“But while I was sitting down, I saw something that drove me crazy. Somebody'd written ‘Fuck you’ on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they'd wonder what it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them - all cockeyed, naturally, what it meant, and how they'd all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever'd written it.

****

"I went down by a different staircase, and I saw another 'Fuck you' on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or something. It wouldn't come off. It's hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'Fuck you' signs in the world. It's impossible."

--J.D. Salinger

3 Comments:

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Dr. Pants said...

That's why I write all of my wall profanity with feces. It gets the point across, but then can easily be cleaned up so it doesn't affect kids.

 
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