Last night’s incident made me remember why I don’t want children of my own. After five minutes at my friend Jimmy’s house, I even considered rescheduling the vasectomy appointment I’d canceled in September.
Jimmy has a two-year-old daughter, Lacey. Like most parents I’ve observed, my pal and his wife consider their child a certifiable genius. According to them, not only does their future mensa member talk in full sentences, but she also understands the spelling of many words. I won’t debate the accuracy of either assertion, but true or not, Lacey’s alleged abilities have prompted drastic evasive action. Her parents no longer voice or spell out in their entirety words which usually lead to whining or even worse. Instead, they voice only the first and last few letters. For instance, “ice cream” becomes “i.e.a.m.,” and “diaper” translates to “d.p.e.r.” Jimmy had told me their code works like a charm. Last night’s events, however, will likely force him to reevaluate that opinion.
Understandably, the couple has reserved their most important abbreviations for matters which typically induce tantrums. These days, the term guaranteed to launch the most frenzied outburst is “medicine.” I’m not sure which medicine or the reason why the tyke needs it. What I do know is, Lacey welcomes her daily dose about as warmly as a southern Republican appreciates a same-sex wedding.
Before I arrived at their house this morning, Melinda asked Jimmy in code to run an errand. He complained, but like any dutiful husband, he also agreed. I volunteered to accompany him to the pharmacy, where he purchased the latest issue of “People” magazine. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why Melinda would send her husband out simply to buy a magazine. Nor could I fathom why she’d need to abbreviate that request. When asked, Jimmy couldn’t answer the first question. He did explain the second though, telling me his child prodigy reads magazines, with her favorite being “People.” In order to prevent major whining, Melinda refers to the publication by the generic “m.i.n.e.”
We found mother and daughter in the kitchen on our return from the store. Jimmy handed the shopping bag to his wife, whose brief glance inside yielded a puzzled expression. Obviously, she hadn’t expected a periodical, and the unanticipated sight so surprised her she forgot to speak in code: “Why’d you get me ‘People?’ I sent you out for Lacey’s medicine!”
I’m not sure which impressed me most: Lacey’s ensuing shrieks of “People! I want People!” at mere mention of the publication; or the immensity of her nuclear tantrum following Melinda’s utterance of the dreaded “medicine.” I certainly didn’t stick around to decide. I silently excused myself the moment the genius’s parents began arguing over their belated realization … that their codes for “magazine” and “medicine” were the same.