daily preciousness

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

coffee mug

Note: Entry written after this life experience.

My nephew had to do a report on Stonewall Jackson using a puppet. The little shit made a sock puppet with a detachable arm, 'cause Jackson lost his arm in battle or something.

So get this: he delivers his report in character, as Stonewall Jackson. At the very climax of the story, when Jackson loses his limb, my nephew yanks off the puppet's arm with a violent flourish. Red ribbons and red glitter pour out of the open wound. Reminds me of a Japanese Noh performance, with a scarlet ribbon standing in for spilled blood.

But the teacher only gave him a C-, despite the fact that the puppet was bleeding glitter! I mean, how many times in your life do you see something -- anything -- bleed glitter?

I was picking him up from school the day it happened. When he was telling me about it, he got this catch in his voice, just like Peg used to when we were little. (It always sounded like she had a frog in her throat.)

When I heard that it, I stopped him right there, put down my coffee and hugged him.

I stifled a grin to see him just break down like that; he's such his father's son -- that over-achiever -- but luckily without the whole "lying alcoholic two-timing asshole" thing. But anyway, then he starts to sputter incoherently about how he worked for five hours on the puppet and his mouth starts that half-yawn shape that precedes a big cry. And then, by the time he's wrapped in a tight hug, the tears come.

And I'm rolling my eyes at the waterworks. This hella sensitive little shit is crying about a puppet of Stonewall Jackson. Just like he cried about a caterpillar's loss of self as it transformed into butterfly. ("Aunt Janey, won't it miss having all those legs?") Just like he cried when the cherry blossoms fell in the spring. Just like he cried at just about anything. And Peg -- hyper-sensitive Peg -- refuses to toughen him up.

So I walk him home, rubbing his back. Stop cryin', I say. Stop it! You better stop it, 'cause you sound like a little fruit. And you don't want to be a little fruit, do ya? Well, that shut him up fast. Kid doesn't know much, but he knows enough not to sound like a damned fairy.

I was so busy yelling that I forgot all about my coffee. I went back later and it was gone. Probably one of those hobos that smell like Colt 44 took it. Wonder if they'll notice the lingering taste of java with their malt liquor?


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home