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26 Sep

Greetings!  Yes, it’s been too long since my last entry, and for that I apologize.  I was debating whether to launch into the NFL vs. the flag controversy, but that’s more overdone than my ex-girlfriend’s cooking.  North Korea and their part-psychopath part-muppet leader also was ripe for the picking, but in the end nuclear holocaust is not much of a laughing matter, so I let that go too.

So, instead, musings of the alphabet, inspired my daughter.  DISCLAIMER:  If I ever get around to writing another book, this will be in it.  You still have to buy one.

Here we go:


As a parent, we expect that in order to help our children thrive in society, we are going to have to teach them certain values; things like respect for authority, honor, and tolerance for others. I personally have always fully intended to teach my children that it doesn’t matter what someone’s skin color, personal religion or sexual preference is; people are people and they need to be treated as such so the world can keep going ‘round.

When my children were only six and not-quite-two, I hadn’t yet gotten to many of those lessons. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but after almost six years of nothing but animated cartoons and large purple dinosaurs, my mind was pretty much fried.  And I’m not really sure it would have mattered much anyway.  My toddler son was still of the mind that all people, regardless of creed or color, existed for one purpose only, and that was to bring him juice.  No matter the person’s demeanor or appearance, within minutes of meeting them my son would approach the person and DEMAND juice, usually channeling Nikita Khrushchev by banging his shoe on the table in the process.  Of course, as he could neither say “juice” nor much of anything at that time, it mostly resulted in a lot of confusion and screaming.  Occasionally, it resulted in head butting.

My daughter, much wiser at the age of six, didn’t really seem to have a problem with different skin colors anyway (and also could get her own juice). We had a discussion that different people may have different skin, and that they may believe in different gods, and she seemed to accept that and went right on playing with her dolls and/or torturing the dog (we had yet to discuss canine equality).

So, imagine my surprise when one day she dropped a whopper of intolerance on me. We were lying in her bed as part of her bedtime ritual, which with my daughter began around six PM and stopped sometime about four minutes before dawn.  We had already brushed her teeth, watched her TV show, said her prayers, checked for bugs, counted sheep, sang a song, and done all the other thousand things that had become part of the ritual, and FINALLY she was getting ready to sleep.  As I anxiously awaited her calm rhythmic breathing (which signaled I could escape and go watch TV shows that did NOT involve a purple dinosaur) she suddenly rolled over, looking very pensive.

“Daddy,” she said, very seriously. “I have something I need to tell you.”

It wasn’t lost on me at the time that those same words would most likely make me cringe ten years in the future. For now, however, knowing that she could not have stolen the car and was too young to be hooked on heroin, I played the patient father and said, “What is it, moon pumpkin?”

“You know,” she said,” I really don’t like the letter ‘H’.”

Well, I certainly wasn’t prepared for THAT.   I was well aware of the need to teach racial equality, but equality among consonants?  And what about minority vowels?  If I didn’t nip this in the bud, the next thing I know she starts being mean to odd numbers (and don’t even get me STARTED on radicals).  My head was spinning, and I had to get to the bottom of this or be damned to the Parental Hall of Shame for all eternity.  But what to do?

I immediately thought of espousing the values of all 26 letters, but just as quickly dismissed it as being hypocritical. Sadly, I had a few reservations about the bipolar nature of the letter “C” myself, and to be quite honest had never been fully comfortable with “Y’s” need to sometimes cross-dress as a vowel.  Who was I to preach?

In the end, we compromised. She agreed to keep an open mind about all consonants and most vowels (she shared my distrust of “y,”) and I in turn would consider raising her allowance.  We would treat all words as innocent, until proven otherwise, and would not dangle participles needlessly.  In the end, the initially divisive experience brought us closer together.  At least until she learned about hardcore “g.”


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