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The Child Cyclones

In the "Cult of Escapism": The Child Cyclones

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Child Cyclones

Do any of you remember that Nintendo 64 game Olympic Hockey: Nagano 98'? Among the greatest games ever created, no doubt, but anyway, this morning, I was dreaming that I was playing that game with my buddy Dan and we were having a great time. And I was winning. When suddenly, seven children began knocking on my door and screaming my name. So much for sleeping in and kicking Dan's butt in video game hockey.

The hurricanes
People use the metaphor 'like a storm' to the point where it is cliched and almost meaningless but I can't think of a better time to use it, because those kids really were like a hurricane – shouting, swarming, grabbing everything within their reach and throwing it on the ground. The sheer force of their energy forced me to sit down and just gawk. Really? How is it even possible to be so amped so early?

I'm no good for anything before breakfast, but I knew that if I began cooking, all seven would expect me to feed them. Not happening. So I just sat, swallowing my morning mouth, waiting for them to go to school.

I have a core group of kids that visit my house. This group knows not to bother to ask for anything except my recycling, because I won't give it to them and have already explored every corner (there aren't that many) and asked about every possession, so there's no mystery left for them. They come over and go straight for the box of toys and cards and coloring books and go to work on their own. This morning's kids were not my core group. These seven rookies wanted me to give them everything they could see. And you can see everything in my house from the front room.

Two from the core group..drinking hot sauce (don't ask)
“Yak! Give me this pencil!”
“Yak! Give me this coloring book!”
“No, that book is for all the kids and stays here.”
“Yak! Give me this book!”
Hesitation. “That book is in can't read English.”
“Yes I can!”
“Read me one sentence of that book and I'll give it to you.”
“Yak! Give me this plastic bag!”

I didn't even have the energy or mental fortitude to yell at them, so I just sat, swaying slowly back and forth and wishing that I was still asleep, beating Dan at video game hockey. Then the harmonicas came out.

The kids, not surprisingly, have no idea how to play harmonica, but they can sure make a lot of noise. In fact, this was their clearly stated goal: “Paco! Let's see who can make the most noise!” I swear he actually said that. So Paco and Melvin began blowing as loud as they could into the harmonicas, while the other children continued to whirlwind in circles, scattering my possessions on the ground as they went. I finally said, “Boys! A harmonica is for playing music, not making noise. Stop it.” They smiled and stopped. For about five seconds.

Before I could muster the energy for another scolding, one of the girls again asked me for Atlas Shrugged (in English). I decided to pull out the heavy cultural artillery.

“OK, if you want to visit me, then visit me – don't just come here and ask for things.” Directly calling people out like that is a fairly serious move in this culture and I thought I had made my point. The kids blinked twice, four times. I thought I had successfully guilted them... “Yak, give me this book!”


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