I have a saying. “Negative breeds negative: positive breeds positive.” I say it to my kids all the time, when they’re misbehaving, making bad decisions, or experiencing one of those Contrary Mary days. (side note: I am fully aware of the shortcomings of such a philosophy; however, I’m dealing with children who are not aware that cracks in philosophical underpinnings exist, so please cut me a break.)
I’ve spouted this little nugget of wisdom enough that they’ve taken to saying it to each other and to their friends. That’s when I really laugh – when they say it to their friends.
Late yesterday morning, we were piled in the car on our way to Memphis when I asked Z if he knew how to do an evil laugh. He of course looked confused and answered, “No,” in a way that intimated that he thought it was a stupid question to begin with, so I asked F. She answered the same way but added that maybe if a person did their laugh a tad higher in pitch than they usually laugh, that might do the trick.
While I was getting her to demonstrate an evil laugh for me, Z asked me if my interest in evil laughing had anything to do with the auditions for the Wicked Witch in the community theater’s production of the Wizard of Oz (he didn’t say it quite that intellectually. He is only 8). I confirmed his thought and was starting to explain that I thought it would be fun, but I didn’t know how to do an evil laugh when I saw flashing blue lights in my rear-view mirror.
I looked at the speedometer and sure enough I was doing 47 in a 35.
Poop. I started looking for a place to pull over. The road I was on was curvy with no shoulder, so I started to look for a side road or parking lot to pull off.
I came around the corner, and there was the Munford Funeral Home’s parking lot. I pulled in far enough to allow the police officer to pull in behind. I thought by being courteous he may go easy on me.
After I had given him the requisite documentation, I leaned over to the passenger seat to put my billfold back in my purse when I notice about twenty people staring back at me from the other side of the parking lot.
Oh, crap. This isn’t the parking lot.
I had pulled into the mortuary’s back lot where cars were being queued behind the hearse for the funeral procession that was getting ready to leave.
Oh, dear God, please let the officer be quick about giving me the ticket I so deserve.
I fully expected that by admitting my guilt and how I deserved the worst punishment, God would turn the heart of the police officer to 1) notice time was of the essence since there was a funeral procession lining up and we were in the way, and 2) have grace upon the cotton-headed ninny-muggins who turned into the lot.
By the time he finished writing my ticket and telling me to slow down, more cars were queued and I had to maneuver around them (going the opposite direction of the queue, of course, which added that much more humiliation to that which I was already experiencing).
Each time I passed a car, I raised my hand in apology and said “Sorry” as if it was a magical word that adequately explained the entire circumstance and that I wasn’t just some inconsiderate, unfeeling nincompoop.
It didn’t work.
Grieving people can give very nasty looks.
A minute or two down the road, Z pipes up from the back seat and says, ” You know how you always tell us that negative produces negative? Well, maybe if you hadn’t been talking about evil laughs, none of that would have happened.”
Well, thank you for that tidbit, my little putter together of all thoughts.
It is such a joy to have one’s children uses one’s words against oneself. Wouldn’t you agree?