After the Fact: Kindergarten was better


It wouldn’t have the same barb it once had to be told “Your momma wears Army boots!”  And did it ever make sense to hear “So’s your old man!”? Insults may change timbre but the tenor remains the same. Or, as one young lady said of her husband’s discussion technique, “he just gets all sassy and loud.” She probably laughs.

Some retorts can be funny, some are mean and many are just irrational but the sender always seems to think volume and profanity will make up for an absence of information and vocabulary. I was recently told my brain had “shriveled up and was like an old prune.” I thanked my detractor for his witty observation; he said he was tired of talking to me. On line. With a few spelling errors. 

Jacob was not yet in kindergarten when he came to a difference of opinion with Luke. It was never clear what Luke had done or said; he slept right through the whole thing.  Jacob gave Luke the “raspberry” (Brrrrrpppht) and shouted, “So there!” A while later, I looked over to see Jacob curled up next to Luke in his dog bed, sharing an afternoon nap. Most disagreements can be resolved the same way. The “raspberry” (or “razzberry” or “Bronx cheer”) is a very satisfying expression and a nap is a great way to get over whatever it was that started the whole thing in the first place. You seldom win an argument with a dog, NEVER with a cat, and absolutely never with some people.

It’s been a few years since I was on a debate team at ASU with Shari Montgomery and Carlos Lucero and Sam Frizell and a few others you might know if you’ve been around the Valley a while. It’s not an Olympic sport though some of our trips in the college station wagons could have qualified some of us as gymnasts. I haven’t kept up with the “ins” and “outs” of the event, but what I saw televised before the election was NOT debate. There was no particular format and nobody won or lost though the media would have you think otherwise. I’d have been sorely tempted to give a few of those presidential hopefuls a resounding “Brrrrrrpppht” and an added, “So there!” Come to think of it, here’s to the guy who thinks my brain has shriveled to a prune: Brrrrrpppht!.  So there!

On more than one occasion, I’ve been given the “one-finger salute” by someone in another car who (a) didn’t think I was going fast enough, (b) wanted my parking space before I’d vacated it, (c) thought I shouldn’t have allowed another car access to the moving lane of traffic ahead of me, or (d) any and all of the aforementioned sins. My friend Lorraine would “salute” other drivers on I-25, but she always did it at seat level.  The only person who could see the extended finger would have been in the passenger’s seat of her car. She “made her point” without inciting road rage.

Toni Purrachio was one of the all-time great English teachers in the Chama Valley Schools. I heard complaints about her homework assignments every day, with even greater dismay over tests. To hear some of the kids tell it, they’d be ultra-happy if she’d just leave. Then she did. And even those over 6-foot “tough guys” were crying, and parents were calling to beg her to reconsider. She didn’t leave because the kids “hated her,” but because she had a greater opportunity elsewhere. She knew, and I knew that all of those complaints were (and still are) just part of the learning experience. It’s too bad they don’t have juice, graham crackers and naps when you get to high school.

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