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Late Night: The Parable of the Screwdriver

So this afternoon I took our three kids — 4, 6, & 11 — to the Y to go swimming. This is a Fun Family Thing we like to do on those autumn weekends when nobody has a head cold, meaning, this is the first time we’ve all managed it since August. (Mom was working on her book, forgive the plug.)

As usual it took an astounding amount of time to locate bathing suits, clean towels, goggles, and then street clothing, socks, shoes, and all the wherewithal necessary to getting children moving in a specific desired direction. The coordination and logistics required to invade Normandy? Every day at my house. This is a function of young people being weird, running around, not comprehending simple instructions, acting in a thoroughly immature fashion.

Anyhow, we got into our Jeep, finally, and set off for the pool. Dad, me, believes that His Charges are duly constrained from evil by seatbelts and similar devices. So he momentarily relaxed, reached for the radio, attempted to detect if his beloved Hurricanes might beat Georgia Tech. (We did!)

To his right, on the front passenger seat, he heard an odd noise. Crunch. Crunch. Pop.

He ignored it. The occupant of the front passenger seat was an 11-Year-Old boy. Odd noises were to be expected. But they continued.

And so, he looked over. And this is what he saw.

The 11-Year-Old had a small cardboard box on his lap, positioned immediately over the, uh, Spaghetti-Os & Meatballs. In his balled fists, the 11-Year-Old grasped a large Phillips-head screwdriver.

With all of his might, the 11-Year-Old was deliberately ramming a large Phillips-head screwdriver into a cardboard box he had positioned over his Important Regions. Repeatedly.

This was an unexpected spectacle. Diplomacy was required.

“Uh, what are you doing?”


“Making binoculars.”


“Beg pardon…?”


(11-Year-Old displays holes in side of cardboard box)

“Binoculars! Only the holes need to be bigger…”

(Resumes attempt to thrust screwdriver into testicles.)


Father attempts Reason.

“Son. You need to attempt a basic cost-benefit analysis here. Attend me carefully. If you succeed, you will have created pretend cardboard binoculars. If you fail, you will have jammed a screwdriver into your leg, or perhaps penis. You will injure yourself cruelly, perhaps for life. And it will be your own fault. And when anyone finds out what really happened about how you got hurt, they will not in the first instance feel sorry for you. They will collapse in fits of helpless laughter.”

Son looks darkly at Father.


I swerved to the side of the road and relieved the child of the screwdriver by force.


I wish I could do the same thing for the fucking Democratic Party.

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A community college professor from upstate NY. My wife & I have 347 children, all of them rotten.