Monday, September 3, 2007

Drama and Mystery in Daily Life

by Julia Buckley

The conspirators, caught in the act.

I realized today, while doing the humdrum things that are required of me as a householder, a mother, and a teacher, that my everyday life, when broken down, contains many of the elements of a good mystery. Here are some examples from Labor Day Weekend alone:

Prevention of Murder: “There will be no smothering.” (This spoken by me as one boy’s voice distinctly faded, as if under a pillow, during a valiant struggle).

Dramatic Revelation: “Your brother didn’t get rid of your giant rhino. I did.” (This resulted in tears and a trip to Toys R Us for another giant rhino; sadly, there were no longer rhinos in the stuffed animal section, so the price of forgiveness ended up being a small dog and two small tigers).

Warning to the Miscreant: “Stop squeezing the cat!” (This is issued daily, but so far the cat is remarkably good-natured about the squeezing).

Desperate Plea of the Detective: “Who put this here?” (The answer to this, ALWAYS, is “I don’t know.” There is usually a lot of shrugging involved).

War of the Arch Enemies:

“You said I could smack you as part of the game!”

“But you punched me in the chest, and now I’m taking your monkey out of the competition.” (I don’t know what this means, but I overheard it while grading papers. I believe said monkey is a large, stuffed, molting thing that was somehow a part of the drama).

Murder Itself: “Who did this to my necklace?” (As I hold up the remnants of what was nice jewelry).

The Co-Conspirator’s Betrayal: “Graham was swinging it around as his lasso, so I just tried to rope the dog with it. But I didn’t break it. I don’t know what happened.”

Good cop, Bad cop:

Boy one: (Bad cop) “Mom, you never let us play Playstation. Most kids get to play during the summer. It’s called having a childhood.” (He is also a sarcastic cop).

Boy two: (Good cop) “But mom has been really nice lately about letting us play games, and I bet if we walk the dog she’ll let us play, right, Mom?”

Unraveling the Mystery: “Mom, we found the remote! We tried to think back over our day, and we remembered that Dad had it on his belly when he fell asleep, so we knew it was on the couch somewhere or maybe under it, and there it was, under the couch!”

The Sting: “Mom, here’s some Diet Coke with ice the way you like it. And I put in the stirrer with the hula girl on it, and a little paper umbrella. Can I have five dollars?”

Wow—life is full of mystery and drama. It’s not all fascinating, but it’s there! Can anyone share one of his or her own?


Sofie Kelly said...

Julia, the mysteries in my life tend to have more of a fantasy element. For instance, everyone here believes in the Laundry Fairy, a benevolent creature who magically transports the overflowing laundry basket to the basement, waves her fairy wand and Voila! clean clothes appear. And there's her cousin, the T-P Fairy who is the only one with advanced enough magic to replace the toilet paper when the roll is empty.

Julia Buckley said...

And I'm guessing that the TP fairy is the only one who even knows HOW to change the roll, or so they would have you believe. :)

My family also believes in the clutter fairy, the lawnmower fairy and the pet maintenance fairy (although that fairy was foolish enough to allow five pets, so she's a bit masochistic).


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Hmm, I think I'd call this one Justice: My 3-year-old granddaughter Katie had an "interview" at a preschool she might attend this year. While she was there, two little girls got into an altercation, and one smacked the other. As the teacher opened her mouth to deliver the verdict? sentence?, Katie pre-empted her by patting the hitter on the shoulder and saying, "It's okay--you were bad."

Julia Buckley said...

That Katie's a sharp one, Liz! Let's hope she keeps putting the malefactors in their places. :)