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August 4, 2011 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Little Girl Writes Best Running Away Letter Ever "Kids are hilarious when they're trying to make a point. They can't help it."
posted by foxhat10 (104 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
The authors of both the running away letter and the article have a point. I run away when people think I farted and I didn't and I know I have laughed inappropriately when my kids do something that is just darlingly cute yet they think it is serious. Not good to teach them I won't be taking them seriously until they turn 27.
posted by AugustWest at 9:58 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Imagine how the dog feels.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:00 AM on August 4, 2011 [31 favorites]


I really don't think that it's funny to make light of a serious issue like this. Every year in America, thousands of children run away from home as the result of being falsely accused of farting. Most of these children are never seen again, either becoming the victim of predators (road crocodiles and sand sharks, mostly) or falling in with unsavory organizations that will exploit their inexperience and lack of worldly knowledge (the Black Lotus ninja clan, the Tea Party, etc.).

Before it's too late, I urge you to sit down with your children and talk to them about farting. No blame, no shame. Remember that he who smelt it is usually the one that dealt it. If your children don't learn about farting from you, they'll learn about it on the streets.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:02 AM on August 4, 2011 [113 favorites]


Imagine how the dog feels.

Or the cat! The cat had a very good reason for falling off that shelf! How dare you judge the cat! How very dare you laugh! The cat is going under the bed forever!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:04 AM on August 4, 2011 [45 favorites]


Imagine how the dog feels.

Psh. Considering when the dog lays one out (with nary a warning or noise) it's apparently a result of the tiny nerve gas factory in her gut, I'll continue to blame her for my comparitively inoffensive indiscretions.
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I remember this one time when I was in elementary school--probably 6 or 7 years old--and I heard the word "proletariat" (being used not during class, but between the librarian and a history teacher in the hallway after school). I asked (not interrupting!) "wasn't Proletariat the name of a horse who won a bunch of races a long time ago?" I asked because what they were talking about clearly didn't have anything to do with horses. And they both burst out laughing at me. "No!!! That's Secretariat. Who would name a racehorse PROLETAIRAT!? BWAHAHAHAHA!!!" And so on.

Embarrassed, I fled the scene and went and hid under a table in my mom's classroom (she was a teacher). I remember very distinctly not being upset that I was wrong (well, I was a little upset about that), but because what the hell were they doing LAUGHING at me, because how many little kids in the 90s had even the vaguest notion that there was a horse named something-tariat a decade before she was even born and had the wherewithal to pick up on a similar-sounding word during adultspeak. I mean, what the hell, right? And THEN they sought out my mom to tell her this hilarious story about how gosh darned hilariously wrong I was, which they and my mom then proceeded to tell to every single person they saw for the next ten years, so even when I was in high school teachers would still quote that story to me. Like I hadn't heard it a million times.

In hindsight, I understand how this could be funny, but it really bothered me for a long time.

Long story short, don't laugh at your kids.
posted by phunniemee at 10:11 AM on August 4, 2011 [45 favorites]


Did this letter give you second thoughts about laughing at your kids when they're being ridiculous?

Nope. We'll just continue to disguise or at least restrain our amusement at our six-year-old's self-seriousness until she's out of earshot. But sorry, that shit is funny, and we aren't going to go around six-year-old-proofing our natural responses to situations so she thinks the whole world takes her every foible just as seriously as she does.

Lots of kids my daughter's age have to strap on helmets every time they get on their scooters to go three doors down; our daughter doesn't, and we're not strapping an emotional helmet on her either.

To this day, every single one of my mother's siblings (there are nine, she's old-school Nova Scotia Catholic) can retell the story of the time I got sort of blown down my grandparents' driveway in Nova Scotia in an ice storm. The driveway was a sheet of ice, and there was a wind strong enough that I simply couldn't make any headway back to the front porch where all the grown-ups were. I endured a chorus of chuckles, half-hidden giggles, outright belly laughs. Because this was Buster Keaton quality stuff, and that shit is funny.

I was five, I think. I was a very articulate child, as my daugther is, and when I finally made it back to the porch I gave a long soliliquy about why, objectively, it's not nice to laugh at little kids (in each retelling, it stretches out further to the point where I think now there was a break mid-lecture and everyone went inside to eat dinner like at the Lincoln-Douglas debates). Anyway, I always remembered it, and so did my parents and my mom's siblings and everyone else there that day. And we all remember it fondly, because eventually I got over it and then I was no longer five and I'd learned to laugh at myself. Which, to my mind, is the more important lesson for a future grown-up to learn.
posted by gompa at 10:11 AM on August 4, 2011 [47 favorites]


I wish I had been born with the running-away gene - I'd have far fewer burned bridges on my resume.

My response to the wrongful accusation would have been a quick switch to an all-bean diet.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:14 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Long story short, don't laugh at your kids.

We try very hard, but first of all sometimes. And second of all, even when we keep our faces carefully neutral (but ears in Record Mode for reporting to the other spouse afterwards), they can tell we are laughing on the inside.
posted by DU at 10:14 AM on August 4, 2011


One of my buddies teaches elementary music, and one day while directing a kid's choir he knew he had a fart coming on. So he decided to start the kids singing, and then walk around the room as he "crop dusted", hoping to diffuse any bad smells. Unfortunately, the kids smelled it and then started blaming it on each other - a real Goody Proctor situation. He tried to keep things moving - "it doesn't matter who did it, let's just keep singing". Apparently they all really pinned it on one kid, and he didn't have the heart to fess up.
posted by rossination at 10:14 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


An old favorite, parents dehumanizing children.
posted by rhizome at 10:16 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't have kids, but I can barely restrain myself from laughing at my wife when she gets mad about ridiculous things, so I don't think there's really any hope for when I have children.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:17 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kids are hilarious when they're trying to make a point. They can't help it. It's fate, destiny, God's plan, what-evah.

So let's post it on the internet so they can be embarrassed for the rest of their lives. Google (I mean Bing) searches 20 years from now will pull still be pulling this up. It ain't right to put this stuff on-line and the parents should know better. Keep it in the family nimrods and stop seeking attention.
posted by three blind mice at 10:18 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not good to teach them I won't be taking them seriously until they turn 27.

27? I'm 38, and my parents still don't take me seriously!
posted by Skeptic at 10:19 AM on August 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


At 2:14 in this clip from the Daily Show, Louis CK explains why farts are so funny.
posted by BeerFilter at 10:20 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


phunniemee: " Long story short, don't laugh at your kids."

Agreed. Don't be mean.

But.... sometimes kids do say hilarious things inadvertently. And they do funny things. Helping them keep things in perspective is good. And laughing with them isn't a terrible thing.
posted by zarq at 10:20 AM on August 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wasn't this ripped off from Cracked or something? It was in my facebook feed about three hundred times this week.
posted by koeselitz at 10:22 AM on August 4, 2011


Long story short, don't laugh at your kids.

Ugh, yes. Parents, please don't let your friends laugh at your little girl's speech impediment, no matter how apparently adorable it sounds when she is talking very earnestly and seriously about her love of wocket thips. I learned very early on that most humans are smug assholes. and also that they know fuckall about jet propulsion.
posted by elizardbits at 10:22 AM on August 4, 2011 [26 favorites]


My grandma likes to tell the story of two cute little things I said in all seriousness as a child.

First, she was asking little me why I always needed help remembering how to play solitaire, and I retorted "After all, Grandma, I am just a child!"

Second, four-year-old me was looking at my newborn baby sister, and I sighed and said "She has so much to learn."

I can laugh at it now, but sooooo serious at the time.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:22 AM on August 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


An old favorite, parents dehumanizing children.

That's a bit much, don't you think? And it works both ways. My mother still gets reminded of the time she sat on my egg salad sandwich when I was 10. She reminds me of the "cute" things I said when I was a child. It's like we remind each other I can bury you! It's the happy face of mutually-assured family destruction, that's all.

PS. I really like my mom; she's swell.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:23 AM on August 4, 2011


Yeah, I saw this on FunnyOrDie.

I should point out that that probably means it's fake.
posted by koeselitz at 10:26 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Being the object of ridicule hurts at any age but I didn't like the attitude of the author: I'm happy my 6-year-old has yet to face something heavier in what should still be the lightest, happiest time of her life. I want her to still feel like a child

What is it with grown ups' fantasy that childhood is "the lightest, happiest time"? Being a kid is hard, the practical control of one's life is totally in others' hands and decisions, being ordered around all the time, not understanding the world, not having the experience/knowledge/capacity to defend oneself against abusers and what childhood is without some abuse?

This mother thinks she has the power to make her child feel like a child. A child is a child and that's how they feel whether being abused or treated lovingly/respectfully.
posted by nickyskye at 10:29 AM on August 4, 2011 [41 favorites]


Awhile ago, my mom gave me a box of papers she'd saved from when I was a kid. In among all the elementary school report cards and silly crafts, there was a little story I'd written in maybe 2nd grade, and gotten a big happy face and star on: "Once I had to wear dirty close to school because my mom forgot to do laundery."
posted by not that girl at 10:29 AM on August 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


When my kids were 2-5 I'd constantly be transcribing hilarious quotes from them on my Palm Pilot. Ten years later, those things are solid gold and my kids love them as much as I do.
posted by straight at 10:34 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Children, gather round. I have something important to tell you. Standing up for yourself when you get picked on usually leads to a wider audience of assholes laughing and pointing at you. But if you study hard and pay attention, someday you'll be obviously better than them in every way. Amen.
posted by jwhite1979 at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


nickyskye: " What is it with grown ups' fantasy that childhood is "the lightest, happiest time"?

It's a common reactionary reaction, I think. When you're a parent it also may be reinforced by your responsibilities towards and observance of your children. Their experiences and how they react to them are often very myopic. Because they lack the wider, more abstract perspective inherent to adulthood.

Young childhood is a time with few responsibilities, and most children in first world countries are innocent of the darker evils of the world. They're free of deeper subtext on many subjects.

This isn't to say that childhood is a picnic. But when one is not in control, that may also be a buffer to the harsher realities of life.

This mother thinks she has the power to make her child feel like a child. A child is a child and that's how they feel whether being abused or treated lovingly/respectfully."

I sort of see where you're coming from, but a child is a child, and most parents, myself included, feel it is our responsibility to keep them from harm. Sometimes, that means keeping them from seeing things as an adult would, until we judge they are able to cope with it more maturely. Both mentally and emotionally.
posted by zarq at 10:47 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why is there all this helpful advice now, when my kids are all grown and already ruined by my haphazard - at best - parenting skills?

My first child was a cherub, a little russet-haired, apple-cheeked angel. Everything she did was cute to us, so we laughed out of pure joy at everything she did. Until one fateful day when I overheard her playing Cinderella with her dolls. She told the ugly stepsister doll something on the order of "It's OK that you're ugly. Nobody will make fun of you like my horrible parents do with me." She'll turn 26 this December and she doesn't remember this incident.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


What is it with grown ups' fantasy that childhood is "the lightest, happiest time"?

Well since all grown ups were also once children, I'm guessing that their "fantasy" is based on their experiences of their own lives. I wouldn't say my childhood was the "happiest" portion of my life, but it was certainly light and carefree in a way that my current life, with all of its job hunting and bill paying, is not.

not having the experience/knowledge/capacity to defend oneself against abusers and what childhood is without some abuse?

Uh, a lot of childhoods are without abuse. They might not be without suffering or pain, but to claim that everyone's childhood features "abuse" does a disservice to people have legitimately been victims of abuse.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


As long as children are small and cute, everything they say and do is adorable, even when they ask you to stop, even when they talk about people picking on them, even when they cry, aww, lookit the little dear with their teeny tiny problems!

People generally don't take kids seriously until they die, hurt someone, or get pregnant. Hell, look at the after math of every single bullying story that's come out in recent memory (and boy there sure are a lot of them lately, aren't there?) it's always "we had no idea things were this bad!"

It's pretty disgusting.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:58 AM on August 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Children are human beings. It is my considered opinion that we should treat them with the respect, compassion, and care to which they are entitled.

It is also my considered opinion that humor is one of humanity's greatest gifts. It pains me when I see that twisted into mockery of *any* human being, child or otherwise.
posted by ZakDaddy at 11:08 AM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


When I was little, probably 5 or 6, I was on a car trip with my parents. I was a loquacious little bugger as a kid, and bookish, and I guess I started annoying them about something. My mother started saying that I always had to have the last word. As a criticism. She wasn't mean or harsh about it. She was gently chiding me.

But I disagreed. I didn't always have to have the last word! I was just trying to explain my position (on whatever it was we were talking about). But every time I tried to clarify that, of course, it was evidence that I did, indeed have to have the last word.

A few iterations of that cycle and both my parents were belly-laughing. I was trying to tell them I didn't have to have the last word; they pointed out that I was doing it again; cycle repeats.

I remember the whole thing very clearly, even now. I don't think I've ever brought it up with them. I guess I see it with a certain humor 25 years later. But at the time, it was like this whole vista of cruel paradox unfolded in front of me. They'd trapped me, and now they were laughing at the trap. I couldn't defend myself. I couldn't speak up for myself. My own disagreement was evidence in their favor. I felt so small and so weak, afraid of the realization — my own words can be used against me. I can be harmed by my own words. I must be very, very careful now of what I say. And always leave myself a path out. The world is unfair. Even people you know love you will sometimes choose not to deal with you in good faith.

Be quiet, and be careful. There was a kind of withdrawal. I'd been scared of my parents before, but being trapped and laughed at was the first time I'd been conscious of being hurt. I made a mental note to one day trick them with the same paradox, but I never did.

I love my folks, and I turned out mostly okay (or un-okay for other reasons). But still. Yeah, don't laugh at your kids.
posted by penduluum at 11:08 AM on August 4, 2011 [20 favorites]


What is it with grown ups' fantasy that childhood is "the lightest, happiest time"?

I interpret it to mean that those who say this think their current life is miserable.
posted by rhizome at 11:09 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


From childhood, my daughter has always been one of the funniest people I know.

"Space Kitten, you need to behave."
"I am being have!"

I'm not saying I was always successful, but I always did my best to give her the dignity of being taken seriously. Who the hell wants to get laughed at when they're just trying to express their needs as best they can?
posted by Space Kitty at 11:09 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I laughed at my kid a few months ago for something she was doing or saying that was adorable and hilarious.

She burst into tears and sobbed "don't laugh at me". She was around 2 and a half then.

So now I don't laugh at her.
posted by gaspode at 11:11 AM on August 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


who the hell wants to get laughed at when they think (and are often treated as if) they are the center of the fucking universe.
posted by kitchenrat at 11:11 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


My dad (who was a brilliant scientist) used to try and help me with my math homework when I was small. Of course, the grade-school math was literally child's play to him, and he couldn't help chuckling at my struggle with it. The more frustrated I got, the more he would laugh.

To this day, the sight of a math problem brings me a welling sense of shame, panic, and frustration and humiliation. I still count on my fingers and go utterly blank at anything with an X in it.
posted by The otter lady at 11:12 AM on August 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm not the running-away type, but my older sister was. When she was seven or so, she got in some tiff with my parents and decided to "move out" as she understood it. In the middle of the night, she emptied all her furniture, dragged it into the hallway and repacked it. She moved her dresser, nightstand, bookshelf and desk without waking anyone up.
posted by workerant at 11:13 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


They might not be without suffering or pain, but to claim that everyone's childhood features "abuse" does a disservice to people have legitimately been victims of abuse.
I don't think that's really true. If the boss is constantly making eyes at a young secretary, it wouldn't be right to say her claims at harassment aren't legitimate because she was never groped.

Maybe the question is, "What constitutes abuse?" There is no good answer to this, and anyone's childhood could be considered "abusive" from one perspective or another.

I know, I know. That's hogwash, and at some point we have to use words effectively. I agree. But I have heard a lot of plausible arguments that suggest our typical, well-meaning interactions with our kids are really kind of abusive and lead to lifelong trauma that we cover up with layers of neurosis. Maybe this isn't real abuse. To-may-to / To-mah-to. But I think it's totally fair to look extra-hard for anything that could look like abuse, particularly where people are the most vulnerable and where we see it least.
posted by jwhite1979 at 11:14 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, when my son was two or three, his "don't laugh at me" angry face was the funniest thing ever. He would cross his arms and do this chin-down-on-the-chest scowl. I failed to not laugh a couple of times, and he got madder, and I laughed harder, in this feedback loop of angry/funny. I felt terrible that I'd hurt the little guys feelings, but man, it was so adorable.

I think he recovered, emotionally.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:16 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's pretty disgusting.

No You know what's disgusting? That little girl totally farted and now she thinks she can just shirk off the responsibility by making threats, that's what. I'm sorry, little girl. Actins have consequences, and you can't just run away from your farts, I don't care how old you are.

Oh, I'm mean? I'm mean? There are only two of us here and I'm not the one trying to blame others for my flatulence. Think about that while you're out on the lam, Missy.

Damn.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:19 AM on August 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


I really don't understand how not laughing in someone's face about their pain is equivalent to making them the center of the universe.

But it's likely I was laughed at too much as a child.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:19 AM on August 4, 2011


When he was 6 my brother ran away from home (he basically went outside and down to the end of the driveway) because the electricity went out and he couldn't play the Nintendo.
posted by Burritos Inc. at 11:20 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]



My son was upset at me for laughing at some thing he did in earnest.

"Goddamn it, Dad, why do you have to laugh at me ?"

"Because - what you did there was objectively funny. Besides, I don't have to laugh at you. You could calm down and we could laugh together."

He's a teenager now, and very popular because of his great sense of humor. Of course, I know this because his teachers write on his report cards "Has a great sense of humor, a pleasure to have in class. Needs to turn in his homework."

Well, you win some and you lose some, I guess.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:24 AM on August 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


Ha, zarq, funny you should link to that -- we just reminisced as a family about that yesterday when a "hole-ass" almost ran us over in traffic...

I do agree, it's kind of a line you have to walk when sharing these kinds of stories. I remember hating hearing my mom spin something for her friends, aiming for a funny story at what felt like my expense. So I try to only tell public stories if they've been okayed by the kid who inspired them. While this means that there are some real gems that I have to keep to myself, I'd rather do that than make them feel like they're the butt of a joke. (Especially for the one of them who is super sensitive, like I was as a kid.)

These, however, are totally approved:

This was when my son was about 7. He came home from school, sat down on the couch in my office, and asked for a snack, so I ran upstairs to the kitchen to make him a snack and came back down to give him the snack. Then he asked for a drink, so I went upstairs to get him a drink. Then I came back down with the drink, and he asked for something else. So I said, "Wait a second, why am *I* going up and down the stairs to get you all these things? If you'd like something else, you can hop off the couch and get it for yourself!" And he put his hand on his chest like he was completely offended, raised his chin up and said, with barely restrained wounded outrage, "THIS is my CHILDHOOD!!!"

That is now our go-to expression for when we don't want to do stuff in our house.
posted by mothershock at 11:25 AM on August 4, 2011 [58 favorites]


Thinking back, there are a lot of really silly things that I said as a child that I know my parents didn't make fun of me for. And thank god. Early childhood was hellish enough with school that I don't know how I would have dealt with teasing and mockery at home. There were other problems with semi-constant yelling and unfocused anger, but I knew that at least I would be respected by my parents. They probably laughed when I wasn't around, but that's their right.

I think a large part of this depends in part on the rest of your childhood experience. If you recall elementary school as being best described by Lord of the Flies, this sort of things matters. If elementary school was actually a happy time for you, this is easier to shrug off.
posted by Hactar at 11:29 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm sure there will be many times my daughters will be upset with me in the future, and they may even decide to run away, but at least I know it will never be for the reason presented here.

Unfortunately, that certainty comes from the fact that my wife has trained my elder daughter, every time she hears a fart - regardless of the source - to say, "Daddy tooted!"
posted by nickmark at 11:34 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are benefits to lacking a sense of humor.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:42 AM on August 4, 2011


I laugh at my friend's daughter all the time. Seriously. I go over to their house, and she starts jumping up and down when I walk in the door, and then I sit on the couch and she leaps into my lap. And I start laughing, big, booming, huge laughs. HA HA HA HA HAHA! And she starts laughing, little, booming, drawn-out laughs. HEE HEE HEE HEEHEE! And her parents just kind of stare at each other and shrug with a grin, as we laugh at each other for like five minutes. HA HA HA! HEE HEE HEE!

I laugh at my friend's daughter all the time. I just don't laugh at her when she's trying to tell me something.
posted by Errant at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kids stink.
posted by mmrtnt at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


My halfassed theory on childhood laughing traumas and celebrity is that kids who reveled in being laughed at by adults likely grew to be some kind of celebrity, while the rest of us, who were creeped out by adult mockery of our tiny selves, grew up to be normal people. (ymmv)
posted by elizardbits at 11:50 AM on August 4, 2011


all humor is based on aggression
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:53 AM on August 4, 2011


all humor is based on aggression
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at...


Eponyst... Wait a minute....
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


We're driving in the car, I am only recently diaper-free and in the backseat so I must be quite young, and dad is driving, driving fast, far, and for a long long time. I need the bathroom. So I alert the parental units up front that "I need to pee-pee". Mom says something to dad. Dad keeps driving. They must have missed my alert, so I say it again: "I need to pee-pee". Still he drives. I alert again. Still nothing. This is getting uncomfortable. Why aren't they listening? Did they not hear me? Ah! I must have said it in the wrong language. Maybe Dad can only speak Swedish today. I now holler at the top if my voice from the back seat: Pappa stanna bilen annars [Myname] kissa byxan! (Dad stops car or I pee-pee pants). He laughed so hard he veered straight into the opposite lane and skidded into a gas station.

So hey, it worked.
posted by dabitch at 12:12 PM on August 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


The article was not all that great but phunnieme's comment ought to get the side bar.
posted by bukvich at 12:22 PM on August 4, 2011


[I said] What is it with grown ups' fantasy that childhood is "the lightest, happiest time"?

[You said] I interpret it to mean that those who say this think their current life is miserable.

That is, imo, an example of black and white thinking. Childhood may have plenty of light and profoundly happy times. And so can adulthood. But, from knowing kids and adults too, I don't see them as experiencing childhood as "lightest" and "happiest". I do know parents who want to think of childhood as one big awww-worthy Anne Geddes extended cutsie putsie. But I've never met an adult or child who experienced their actual life in keeping with that fantasy.

> Young childhood is a time with few responsibilities, and most children in first world countries are innocent of the darker evils of the world. They're free of deeper subtext on many subjects.

Childhood is without adult responsibilities but children are obliged, usually forced, by grownups to do the grownups' bidding usually against what the child would prefer to do, every single day, ie 12 years of forced schooling, getting grades, wearing the clothes the parent/s want, stop playing on schedule, sleep and eat on the parent/s' schedule, get injections, go to the dentist etc. Of course, if kids did not do this they might not survive in the world. Kids are innately compelled by biological and social needs to survive. Kids may experience their childhoods warmly, with smiles but, imo, not as "the lightest, happiest time".

But when one is not in control, that may also be a buffer to the harsher realities of life.

This is the fantasy I think for the parent/s' needs, not the reality for children. All children learn about death, betrayal, broken promises, lies, humiliation, ridicule, grief, verbal and/or physical violence because those are part of life, visible in any few hours on tv, in any school, routine in any run-of-the-mill dysfunctional families and in the society in which all children live.

most parents, myself included, feel it is our responsibility to keep them from harm.

That is the biological, social, moreal and probably, in some places, the legal obligation of parents. Parents want no harm for their children but children do suffer, it's part of the learning curve of life. Some kids live through tornadoes, flooding that destroys their neighborhood (or city), get cancer, become obese, live or die in car accidents, self-harm, get anorexia, get pregnant in teen years, have awful accidents, whatever, the stuff of life, for example, in the USA.

Sometimes, that means keeping them from seeing things as an adult would, until we judge they are able to cope with it more maturely. Both mentally and emotionally.

Of course. But life, with all its harsh realities do intrude on the ignorance and innocence of children, hopefully, in gradual increments, so the child can cope without being damaged by the stress or trauma. A healthy parent, imo, helps the child deal with reality, rather than imagine that painful stuff doesn't exist in the child's life.

I said: what childhood is without some abuse?
When I said abuse, I meant abuse. I never met any human being that did not witness or experience some form of abuse in their childhood. This could have been, for example, witnessing a kid being bullied, witnessing racism, being ridiculed for being gay/fat/thin/black/big or small-busted, overhearing one's own or a friend's parents' having a violent argument, having one's bike stolen, being targeted by a perv of one kind or another, whether it was the man who worked behind the counter who diddled one's palm handing back the change at the candy store or an exhibitionist.

Then there are children of parents who have serious mental illness (apparently 25% of the US population has mental illness), struggle with a substance abuse ("Over six million children in America live with at least one parent who has a drug addiction") or alcoholism ("Over 15 million Americans are dependent on alcohol.").

tl;dr Ordinary life -often with harsh or painful experiences- impacts kids as well as adults. Better to be lovingly, intelligently taught by a caring adult/parent how to deal with that in a balanced, healthy way, than have a parent who imagines childhood is "the lightest and happiest time".
posted by nickyskye at 12:23 PM on August 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


So hey, it worked.

I greatly fear that should I ever meet hotass swede Alexander Skarsgard IRL, this will be the only phrase that pops into my mind.
posted by elizardbits at 12:31 PM on August 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I remember very distinctly not being upset that I was wrong (well, I was a little upset about that), but because what the hell were they doing LAUGHING at me, because how many little kids in the 90s had even the vaguest notion that there was a horse named something-tariat a decade before she was even born and had the wherewithal to pick up on a similar-sounding word during adultspeak. I mean, what the hell, right?

So you were upset because you expected them to praise you for being smart, but they laughed instead? Sometimes I got laughed at when I was trying to show off for adults, and I hated it, but it did me more good than harm. I stopped feeling that I was owed a parade for being clever. My parents were more like this though -- they would get me to see the funny side after my initial snit.

This thread reminds me of the threads about whether to tell your kid about Santa Claus or not. Many people think it's wrong to lie to your kid about Santa Claus, and many think that it's no big deal and just a part of childhood. And I can understand why people might think it's really cruel to laugh at children when they do something ridiculous, but I can't help but think that it helps build their character. (Though I wouldn't think it was funny if my kid was crying from humiliation. It has to be within reason.)
posted by Toothless Willy at 12:37 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I was walking around O'hare two weeks ago, I saw and heard the following:

Little girl tantrum scream.
Little girl turning away from her father, then proceeding to stomp away from him, in the wrong direction on the moving walkway.
Father waiting patiently as his daughter is literally going nowhere, and then proceeds to scoop her up in his arms, and turns around walks onto the next walkway.

Saddest, most adorable tantrum ever.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:38 PM on August 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


For those of you who think that a parent laughing at a child's indignant and overly serious comments or ideas is abuse - no.

I've been laughed at by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends for all sorts of ridiculous things I did as a child. There's only one person that called me a shithead to my face when I was 8 years old and then laughed about it while I cried. Perspective is a useful quality, along with a healthy sense of humor. I knew, at 8 years old, which people laughed good-naturedly when I said something foolish and which person laughed just because he was cruel.

I think that watching our kids do funny stuff is part of what makes all the sleepless nights fade away as our children get older. They are people, with feelings and emotions, just like adults. They need to learn how to function around other people without bruised feelings overtaking their lives, and without somehow feeling as though they're owed something. They also need to be able to laugh at themselves. This idea of parents somehow inadvertently abusing their children by not protecting them from every possible slight or wrong has been taken too far; but that's just my opinion.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 12:39 PM on August 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


For those of you who think that a parent laughing at a child's indignant and overly serious comments or ideas is abuse - no.

Doesn't look like anyone thought that in this thread.
posted by nickyskye at 12:41 PM on August 4, 2011


nickyskye: " This is the fantasy I think for the parent/s' needs, not the reality for children. All children learn about death, betrayal, broken promises, lies, humiliation, ridicule, grief, verbal and/or physical violence because those are part of life, visible in any few hours on tv, in any school, routine in any run-of-the-mill dysfunctional families and in the society in which all children live."
...
Of course. But life, with all its harsh realities do intrude on the ignorance and innocence of children, hopefully, in gradual increments, so the child can cope without being damaged by the stress or trauma. A healthy parent, imo, helps the child deal with reality, rather than imagine that painful stuff doesn't exist in the child's life.

Yes. We agree.

IMO, a healthy parent should try to keep some of the worst aspects of that reality off a child's plate until they are able to process it maturely. It's a parent's responsibility to help ease a child through such experiences and perhaps act as a bit of a filter, so (as you say) they can learn in gradual increments.) So their kid isn't overwhelmed. We're talking about young children here, not teenagers who have hopefully developed some coping skills.

This is what I meant by control being a bit of a buffer.
posted by zarq at 12:55 PM on August 4, 2011


When my nephews say something really hilarious, my mom looks them right in the eye and says, "Well, okay then," and as soon as the kid marches off to do whatever she shares a twinkly-eyed look with all the adults in the room.

The moment I saw that, I suddenly remembered many, many well-okay-thens in my childhood. :)
posted by BrashTech at 1:02 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


But did she get found?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:03 PM on August 4, 2011


So you were upset because you expected them to praise you for being smart, but they laughed instead? Sometimes I got laughed at when I was trying to show off for adults, and I hated it, but it did me more good than harm. I stopped feeling that I was owed a parade for being clever.

If the only reason why you would do something like that as a 6 or 7 year old was to try to show off, you were probably an extroverted kid who liked to show off, it seems to me. I would have tried to make a connection like that and confirm it simply because that seemed to be what adults expected you to do, particularly in school.
posted by XMLicious at 1:05 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


But did she get found?

No, she had already melted away into the Los Angeles underground. Today, still indignant, she survives as a poop doctor and sometime dinosaur scientist. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can control your laughter, maybe you can hire... the girl who got blamed for farting even though she didn't fart.
posted by No-sword at 1:12 PM on August 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm traumatized by the mall to this day because my mom and her best friend sang the mid-80s "Fall into the Gap" TV commercial theme song (for, natch, the Gap) to me before I got my teeth fixed.

Kinda happy about that, though. Malls suck.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:14 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


*sigh* I guess this is something that I would have to have children to understand.
posted by Melismata at 1:15 PM on August 4, 2011


So you were upset because you expected them to praise you for being smart, but they laughed instead?

Uh, no. They could have easily said, "no, the horse's name was Secretairat. With an S," and waited to laugh until I left the room (probably to go pick up an encyclopedia and read about Secretairat, as was my way). Instead, they laughed right in my face, laughed not just at the fact that I said a funny thing that happened to be wrong, but even specifically pointed out that it would be stupid to name a fancy horse after the proletariat. And then proceeded to tell roughly the entire world.

And the thing is, as an adult, trying to look at it objectively, it's really not even that funny.

I'm sorry you were the kind of kid who felt you had to show off to get noticed. I wasn't. I just wanted to learn something, and instead I got metaphorically pooped on by a bunch of grown ups.
posted by phunniemee at 1:17 PM on August 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


The weird thing about the Secretairat/proletariat story is it really isn't that funny. I'm a grown-up, and I'm failing to see the humor in it; it's certainly not something I would remember, or share with others.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 1:29 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


On posting, I'm glad we are on the same page, phunniemee.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 1:29 PM on August 4, 2011


As an adult, because of my personality/stature/gender/whatever I still occasionally get that awful impotent fury that comes from not being taken seriously. I wonder if it were safely part of my childhood (as it would seem to be for most men, I don't find people patting them on the head often) I could see this mockery the way some people here do - as harmless, charming and part of the learning process of not taking myself so seriously.

But because it continues to this day, and I don't feel I have much more recourse* against it than I did when I was a child, it still resonates horribly with me when I see kids treated this way.

We're all people doing the best we can, and there's always someone to tell you you're not parenting right. But if you've got one of those sensitive kids, maybe go the extra mile and laugh behind their back?

*Except the asshole catapult - I've got that going for me.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:37 PM on August 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


driving through Pennsylvania with my family when I was a kid, I asked "is this where Dracula lives?" which got a pretty big laugh. I don't remember being upset about it though, because, hey, it was pretty funny.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:47 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


My son is given to malapropisms and non-sequitur and has been since he learned to talk. He asks me eagerly to recount as many as I can remember. I still collapse in a heap of giggles when I think about the time he was nine and instead of saying "ulterior motive" he said "interior modem". He laughs right along with me. It has always delighted him when he makes his poor ol' momma laugh. He is a bit of a ham, though. I certainly never thought of it as abusive or damaging to his psyche.
posted by msali at 2:10 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I was six year old kid, I was sick of doing my chores. Fucking. Sick. Of. Them. I was royally pissed at my parents for making me do them - so I thought of the most pointed thing I could say to them the next time they asked me to fetch something.

"Did you want to have a kid or a servant when you had me?"

They fucking peed themselves with laughter. Nasty parents - foiling my attempts at revenge! Oh - I'll get the last laugh one day. Ha!
posted by helmutdog at 2:16 PM on August 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


msali depends on the kid, I think. My daughter sometimes makes hilarious puns (being trilingual and prone to getting Danish/Swedish garbled together) across languages and if we laugh at it she'll get very upset and ask us not to laugh at her. I'll try explain why whatever she just came up with was funny and clever, while her dad explains the whole "we're laghing with you not at you!" thing which she'll have none of. She wants to know why it was funny, and hates being laughed at if she hasn't done something she thinks is funny, and I remember feeling much the same at her age (I'd just go beet red though, my daughter sends daggers from her eyes).
posted by dabitch at 2:40 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


My dad was a big-time jokester when I was little. Was NEVER not joking. One time, I wanted him to take me seriously.

Me: Dad, be serious.
Dad: OK.
Me: No, Dad, be serious.
Dad: OK.
Me: Dad! Be serious!
Dad: OK

... five minutes later
Me: (tears running down cheeks, snot running out nose, face red from screaming) NO DAD!! BE SERIOUS!!!
Dad: OK
Me: NOOOOOO DAAAAAAAAD!
posted by Foam Pants at 2:55 PM on August 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


I really wish there was a racehorse named Proletariet. Because having Proletariet win would be awesome.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:56 PM on August 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


There HAS been a ProletariO according to the Jockey Club.
posted by brujita at 3:05 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


So let's post it on the internet so they can be embarrassed for the rest of their lives. Google (I mean Bing) searches 20 years from now will pull still be pulling this up. It ain't right to put this stuff on-line and the parents should know better. Keep it in the family nimrods and stop seeking attention.

Holy shit, if you're embarassed by this note when you're 26 you have big problems. It's hilarious. I would show this thing off myself were it something I wrote in my childhood.
posted by Hoopo at 3:09 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really wish there was a racehorse named Proletariet. Because having Proletariet win would be awesome.

"'The world of horse racing mourns today as Proletariet was shot in the face after straining a muscle and finishing fifth at the Washington Derby. To you, Peter.'

'Yes, as a matter of fact the jocky himself pulled the trigger before reading a eulogy borrowed from the pages of Animal Farm. In other news, the Dow dips 4% today and Washington blames a laid-off union worker in Detroit..."
posted by jwhite1979 at 3:37 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


the girl who got blamed for farting even though she didn't fart

I am terribly afraid that this is the title of the new ghost-written Stieg Larsson novel....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:46 PM on August 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


Well, I was seconds away from finishing an epic-length comment when my computer crashed, losing all of it. Awesome. Here's the best I can do (god I hate rewriting.)

Thanksgiving Dinner. I'm seven years old, the youngest of four and my siblings are all teenagers. My grandparents are eating diner with us, and my mom decides for the first time ever to have us start the dinner by going around the table saying what we're thankful for. I think really, really hard and when it gets around to me I say, "I'm thankful for the cleverness of people." The table erupts in laughter.

Now, I'm embarrassed, because I don't know what's funny, but I take it all in stride as much as I can, but as the years pass, it becomes a commonly retold story and eventually just a catchphrase, a family in-joke. Like, whenver there's some impressive new technology or someone solves a problem with some really deceptively simple solution, "well, I'm thankful for the cleverness of people!" I grew up cringing at my own awkward, stilted wording, but still taking it in stride because I was the youngest, so there was going to be some of that, and I didn't have as many stories or in-jokes about me as the rest of the family, so best to take my hazing like anybody else.

It wasn't until my early twenties when it came up and I countered that, you know what? I was seven, okay! My mom looked at me like I was an alien and said, "Yeah, that's what made it so perfect. The rest of us were talking about new cars and things and then you had to come in and be all profound." I'd never considered that the laughter was complimentary. That the story was told because they were bragging about me.

That was the only time I was confused though. I grew up in an uproarious family and it taught me the difference between hurtful laughter and loving laughter, something a lot of people in less mirthful families never learn. It also taught perspective. Yes, everything is dire to a four-year-old, because their world is small and they don't understand what is important yet. But they don't learn that through magic. They learn through experience, and humor helps to ease that process.

And phunniemee, if I had to guess (and obviously I don't have personal knowledge) I'd guess that your story is along similar grounds. It was funny because (1) here's a kid who knows vaguely who Secretariat was, and (2) that wasn't even close to what the adults were talking about, but how funny would "Proletariat" be as the name for a racehorse? It wasn't funny because you were a kid who didn't know things, it was funny because it was an absurd juxtaposition from an unlikely source.

Just trying to put the best spin on it, maybe.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:29 PM on August 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


Wow, people do manage to carry huge bags of shit from their childhoods around with them. It's okay to let it go, you know. When you're a child, lots of shit seems super-scary or dramatic; as an adult you're able to contextualise it better (in theory, leastaways...).

As the youngest of four with a somewhat dramatical bent, I have a few of these stories myself. I do bear the distinction of being the only one to try running away, though. What I love is that I packed my toothbrush, pyjamas and moneybox. Because when you're out on the road, you best have some cotton pyjamas at night...

also, my plan was to run away to nana's, not really the shocking rebellion I had envisioned. "Oh, you'll miss me when I'm gone! JUST DOWN THE ROAD TO NANA'S!". My brother ratted me out. Bastard.
posted by smoke at 5:40 PM on August 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's hilarious. I would show this thing off myself were it something I wrote in my childhood.

I wish I still had the marker-written running-away-note from when I was seven. I was upset about something -- I think because my parents wouldn't let me advertise to be a babysitter like the cool girls on TV -- and I wrote a note that featured the angry postscript, "P.S. This is America?!"

Still, I try to be very careful about laughing at children, because I was such a serious little girl, and I hated being laughed at. (In fact, that was the reason my parents gave -- "I'm sorry, honey, you were just so serious when you said it!") At some point I decided to go ahead and be funny.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:40 PM on August 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


YAY! 10,000th Favorite!
posted by Navelgazer at 5:47 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


As an adult, because of my personality/stature/gender/whatever I still occasionally get that awful impotent fury that comes from not being taken seriously. I wonder if it were safely part of my childhood (as it would seem to be for most men, I don't find people patting them on the head often) I could see this mockery the way some people here do - as harmless, charming and part of the learning process of not taking myself so seriously.

But because it continues to this day, and I don't feel I have much more recourse* against it than I did when I was a child, it still resonates horribly with me when I see kids treated this way.

We're all people doing the best we can, and there's always someone to tell you you're not parenting right. But if you've got one of those sensitive kids, maybe go the extra mile and laugh behind their back?

*Except the asshole catapult - I've got that going for me.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:37 PM on August 4 [1 favorite +] [!]


The people who see it as harmless are the laughers. Count me as one of the laughees, and I am still utterly outraged when I can't get someone to take something seriously. I don't think it is a gender thing.
posted by gjc at 6:04 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


The people who see it as harmless are the laughers. Count me as one of the laughees, and I am still utterly outraged when I can't get someone to take something seriously. I don't think it is a gender thing.

I agree with this, it's not a gender thing. Nor is it an adult vs. child thing, that's a red herring. The thing that I believe is getting missed here is that laughing at someone who's not trying at that moment to be funny is damned rude behavior. People may feel more at ease doing it to a child, because (a) kids are pretty cute, and yes, funny at times, and (b) generally an offended child isn't as big a problem as an offended spouse, parent, coworker, or stranger on the street. But more at ease or not, it's a fucking disrespectful thing to laugh at someone who's being serious.

People keeping trying to counter this point by pointing out the value of being able to take joke, or able to laugh at oneself. Those are both great traits to have, signs of a mature personality. They are not remotely the same thing as being able to be happy about getting laughed by other people.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:33 PM on August 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Navelgazer: "I grew up in an uproarious family and it taught me the difference between hurtful laughter and loving laughter."

This is my experience, as well. There was also plenty of self-deprecating humor, so I learned it was okay to laugh at myself.

On preview: "People keeping trying to counter this point by pointing out the value of being able to take joke, or able to laugh at oneself. Those are both great traits to have, signs of a mature personality. They are not remotely the same thing as being able to be happy about getting laughed by other people"

Don't get me wrong -- there were plenty of times I was hurt, embarrassed, and/or indignant (especially indignant!) about being laughed at by adults, but in my case I can look back at those examples with humor. I can point to other things that happened that I'm sensitive about, but being laughed at by adults just doesn't happen to be one of them. I can also take myself way too seriously sometimes, and I definitely appreciate it when someone can get me to lighten up. Maybe the difference is that there wasn't really any ad hominem laughing or teasing that went along with it....

I appreciate that I'm in the minority here, and I'm definitely going to talk about it with my mom to get her perspective on it.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:14 PM on August 4, 2011


I'm sorry, I still remind my brother that he used to get really mad and threaten "I'll kick your ass in the head!"

He probably had no idea why we were laughing then, but he does now :-)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:49 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, I do remember one time I laughed at him and felt very bad about it. I'd just poured him the milk he asked for and he dropped the cup and spilled it all over the floor, and began to cry. I tried to tell him, in all earnestness, that it wasn't a big deal. I'll clean it and get him more milk, don't worry about it, but it just came out as "Oh, no, Nick, it's okay, don't cry over... heh.. spilled... HEH" and just started to laugh at honestly telling him not to cry over spilled milk.

He just looked so BETRAYED that he was upset and instead of helping I was laughing at him. It's probably been close to 17 years now (dear god, when did that happen), but I still feel bad about that.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:08 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was at girl scout camp, because my mother was a troop leader, my sisters were in the troop, and they brought me (the youngest) with them. At one point during the multi-day trip, I was tired and bored and just wanted to go home, so I pulled at my mother's arm and started to tell her I was tired and bored and just wanted to go home.

Then, I looked up, and it wasn't my mother, and the woman looking down at me -- whom I'd never noticed before -- was grinning.

I remember being mortified, running away, and being torn between not wanting to go back out of embarrassment, and wondering where my mother was. She eventually came and found me hiding behind a tree.

Nowadays, I laugh when my kids do such things, and they usually laugh, too. But when they don't, I sit them down, tell them I know how they feel, help them identify what the feeling is (shame, embarrassment, confusion, frustration, whatever) and then tell a story about when I felt that way as a kid. I usually include something about how nobody else thinks it is important, so if they pretend it didn't happen, everyone else will too because they've already stopping thinking about it -- and that always seems to make them happy.
posted by davejay at 10:35 PM on August 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I suppose I should check in with my sister about whether she minds that 20 years later, we are still laughing our asses off about the time during communion when she loudly informed the priest "I DON'T WANT THE CUP OF SALVATION!"
posted by naoko at 10:58 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I will say I'm glad we were already on the way out of the restaurant when we overheard this kid protesting "But I don't want to stop my nonsense!" because that shit was funny and she was in no mood to be laughed at.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:24 PM on August 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hm, I was a smug little bastard as a child and laughed at the grown-ups whenever they were being serious.
posted by dominik at 2:20 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Long story short, don't laugh at your kids.

If I didn't laugh at my kid occasionally, I'd have to take her seriously all the time. And that would be terrible for both of us. She's not a little adult. I wouldn't let an adult do a fair amount of the stuff she does without serious repercussions.
posted by rodgerd at 2:25 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I used to run away all the time. I'd write a note, pack a backpack and get my mom to make me a lunch. I'd hop on my bike and ride about 5 blocks and then sit on the curb and eat my lunch. Then I would turn around ride home and carry on as if nothing had ever happened.
posted by srboisvert at 4:12 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


trying to look at it objectively, it's really not even that funny..

Viewed objectively, nothing is funny. The whole basis of funny is subjectivity.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:10 AM on August 5, 2011


I remember sitting on the floor in my pyjamas, talking on the phone so earnestly, surrounded by notepads and paper. My Dad would walk in, glance at me, guffaw loudly, and walk off with a dismissive wave of his hand.

I was 22 at the time, heavily in debt, and having very little luck finding that first shitty job out of university. But in his eyes, I was just so gosh-darn cute and he obviously had a far wiser perspective on job-hunting than I did.

But it wasn't really any more fun being small and powerless at 22 than it was at 2 or 12, nor any better for morale to have it pointed out how ridiculous I was in my efforts to cope with life.
posted by tel3path at 7:40 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a tradition in our family for the kids to write a letter to Santa on Christmas Eve and leave it for him to read. One year, when my brother was about 3, he asked for "a stick to poke emmling with." And I dutifully wrote that down in our letter.

I think Mom, Dad, Grandparents, and Santa laughed at the both of us for that.
posted by emmling at 8:43 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Owning racehorses (and racing them) is generally a pastime of the wealthy, and why would they name a horse Proletariat?

Of course, it's also appropriate because his owners are exploiting the horse's labor for material gain.

Both ways, it's funny.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:44 AM on August 5, 2011


In college, I had one of the first cars with the automatic seatbelts. I'm showing off the new car to one of my dorm-mates, and he's fascinated by the seat belt mechanism, opening and closing the door to watch it slide back and forth on it's track. Eventually he is done playing, and sits back in his seat so we I can drive off to wherever we were going, at which point the belt starts moving back into the 'locked-in' position. While he was playing around, he'd managed to wrap the belt around his neck such that he's immediately pulled face first into the window, and is trapped there blindly groping for the door handle, while I'm sitting in the driver's seat, a mixture of dumbfounded amusement, laughing too hard to help him.
posted by nomisxid at 9:28 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got laughed at all the time. Probably because I was hilarious. I suffered no mental damage. Kids are funny. Why else would you go through the hell and financial loss of parenting?
posted by Foam Pants at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


How are kids supposed to learn to discern between actual problems and minor issues without shame and ridicule?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:51 AM on August 5, 2011


My mother once belted me because she thought I'd lost the top off the toothpaste. She belted me around the head, as she always did (and man, she had a hell of a right arm) when she was mad at me, and later the missing top was found in my sister's pocket. My mother did not apologise to me. She said that the belting would do for one of those occasions when I had misbehaved and she had not caught me.

I wouldn't say that I bear a grudge, or that I am still bitter, but I will not be paying for any post-Alzheimer's medical needs my mother may develop.
posted by Decani at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


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