Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Talking To Your Children about Scott Brown Winning the Massachusetts Special Election

Let them purchase a high-deductible plan.
We live in troubled, frightening times – our world seems on the brink of disaster, millions of people fall prey to random unimaginable horrors, pernicious exploitative evils, and the ravages of unscrupulous deceptive leaders while the forces for good are scattered, tied into moral knots or lulled into complacency. And that’s before they turn off Glenn Beck and have to deal with the real world.

And we all know that just recently a terrible disaster hit us seemingly out of nowhere. And while it hurts us all, sometimes the most vulnerable are the ones who get the least attention – our children. Because they can’t easily make heads or tails of momentous events, they tend to be more easily frightened and more likely to feel helpless. Worst of all, when young ones are emotionally scarred, they tend to compensate by taking on odd beliefs or practices that make them feel in control of the world – things like arson, self-mutilation or reading the works of Ayn Rand.

So for confused children – and parents just as confused about what to tell their children – here are a few sample lines of thought parents might use to help their children make sense of a frightening situation. You may need to substitute your own specific examples. And where possums aren’t common, armadilloes or even capybara will do just as well.

“Look, Che and Evita, calm down. Mommy and Daddy didn’t mean for you to see CNN call the race. Not that we didn’t think Martha wasn’t gonna get creamed – I mean, we hoped that she would honor Ted Kennedy’s legacy by fighting for the seat instead of accepting it the way a dowager empress accepts the gift of a chewed-up skink from her favorite cat – but when we considered the possibilities over the pre-dinner bong hit, Daddy thought he’d at least be well into his post-prandial coma before ol’ Mondale McKerry went tits-up in the koi pond.

“Alas, it was not to be – she put up a fight that made George McClellan look like Sigourney Weaver in Alien – and not those sequels where it was all body counts and teeth dripping with acid – I’m talking about the original Alien where the giant space cockroach never dies and you think when the ship finally reaches earth Sigourney and the alien are going to be clinging to the outside of it, slamming the hatchway door on each others’ fingers. But she finally kills the damn thing anyway, through sheer guts and perseverance and inner strength – in exactly the same way that Martha Coakley did not hit the giant puff pastry of this election right out of the park.

“But what we want you to know is that even though bad things happen sometimes, the world is still full of good people doing good things. And we can trust most people most of the time – in fact, some of the poorest people are the most trustworthy. Like remember when Mommy told you that if you get lost, to ask the nearest homeless person for help because you can’t trust clowns, priests or people in BMWs? It’s just like that. So don’t lose your faith in human goodness is what I’m saying. But feel free to ditch your faith in a complacent Boston aristocrat who sends her chauffeur out to shake voters’ hands at the mall or who thinks popular appeal is an ironically named entry in the regatta.

“Most importantly, keep your eyes open. We know what happens to people who steer calmly onward into disaster – James Cameron makes horribly expensive, overwrought soap operas about them and you have to spend three hours listening to Celine Dion. And then you say mean, petty things about Leonardo DiCaprio when his lifeless corpsicle is bobbing around in the Atlantic and you have a fight instead of getting laid. The next thing you know, you’re on the street corner holding a misspelled sign about death panels when your HMO won’t even pay to have someone look at that weird blue mole on your arm. Now be a good girl and fix Daddy a gin and tonic – and slice the lime lengthwise this time, not in itty bitty pieces like yesterday.”


Herb said...

"I mean, we hoped that she would honor Ted Kennedy’s legacy by fighting for the seat instead of accepting it the way a dowager empress accepts the gift of a chewed-up skink from her favorite cat. " If anyone asks my thoughts on the election I would quote you verbatim and claim it as my own. And then the listener say, "You never spoke complete sentences before."

Kate said...

Me, I just boot up the computer and let them watch Stewart and Colbert. It saves much weeping. And when they're tall enough to reach the liquor cabinet, they will be instructed in the correct proportion of gin to tonic to ice.

Elmo said...