Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Prayer From Your Secret God

After the moment of my birth during a blizzard, I was treated as if my arrival was heralded by the trumpets of angels and flashing lights the length of the New Jersey Turnpike. I was special. I was unique in all history. The way my every word was cause for celebration you'd think I was the reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson, several saints and half the martyred French Resistance. I can't explain that. Anyway, it's utterly crucial to remember that when I was born both my parents were younger than my daughter Miss Sasha is now, and I was their futuristic prototype; under no circumstances should this conjure up images of blondes in swimsuits exclaiming, "Genuine naugahyde seats!" And I'm not exaggerating my presumed importance in the universe. From Dad's book from before you were born, with all copyrights in place and stealing is bad for your karma:

I'm contemplating jealousy
and what it really means
mostly to me.

I asked my daughter
what jealousy means.
Offhandedly she informed me
that people are jealous
when they don't get enough.

She then asked for an apple
and went outside to play
having exhausted the topic.

Even at three, I was a foul-mouthed temptress with no use for jealousy. What the hell, the parents had me when a dictionary and a Magic 8 Ball would've been easier to potty train. I don't recollect hearing babytalk except when spoken to other children. Then, though I've always tested well, my sixth grade teacher destroyed my reasonably snotty worldview with one simple sentence.

Pre-Teen Tata: What are you talking about? My parents don't talk to me any differently than they do to anyone else. You don't talk to us differently than to other people...
Mrs. Smart Lady: I don't talk to you or your classmates the same way I talk to adults.

I've been in a snit about this for 32 years.


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