We Ride

(scene opens in pristine and artistically eclectic dinning room. Table set with fine china.)

Me: Hey K, that blue lamp you have by the t.v. I love it. I want some of those mosaic glass lamps so bad.
Sister: I know, aren’t they fabulous?
Brother: (laughs) But you cannot have nice things.
Me: (wistfully) No, I cannot have nice things. I have a khalasar instead.

(four children and two dogs run through the room, yelling about chocolate)

Sister: Time to eat?

No Hope for Our Future

(scene opens in moderately clean kitchen)

Me: (enters, sees two boys wrestling at the counter) What are you doing?

(they part to reveal a Chef Boyardee can, mangled by can opener)

Me: (stares at them, stares at can)
Them: (stare back)
Me: (cautiously approaches the can, lays a finger on the pull tab) Do you not know what this is?
Beta: No.
Me: (stares out the window, deep breath, pops tab, pulls back lid)
Them: (stare)
Me: (infinite gentleness) Alpha, did you not open yours this way?
Alpha: …No. (leaves room)
Beta: I apologize for my being an imbecile.
Me: (sadly) I love you.

Know a Thing

(scene opens in cluttered basement)

Me: (standing amid several baskets of clean laundry, folding) Alpha, you remember you’re cooking dinner tonight for you merit badge?
Alpha: (On stairs) Yeah. I wish dad was here. To make sure I’m not going to blow up the house.
Me: (frowning) I know how to work the grill, son.
Alpha: (surprised) Really? You know how to grill?
Me: Of course. Believe it or not, I’m a fully actualized adult with an interesting back story and a wide range of useful skills.
Alpha: Do you know how to kill a cow?
Me: In theory. I haven’t had a chance to play test that.

Path of Righteousness

(scene opens at front door)

Elderly Couple: We’re taking a religious survey!
Me: (amused and soft hearted) Sure.
EC: (proceeds to grill on personal religious practices)
Me: (laying down a heavy layer of Catholicism)
EC: If you were to die right now, would you go to heaven?
Me: Of course.
EC: (skeptical look) What do you base that on?
Me: (brilliant smile) Clean living.
EC: (skeptical look intensifies) Here’s a brochure to our church. Hope to see you there.
Me: Thank you so very much. Have a good weekend.

(cut scene to kitchen)

Husband: (in pajamas) I missed my opportunity, didn’t I?
Me: You always do. (hands over Baptist Church recruitment pamphlets)
Husband: Clean living? Really? (tears them up)
Me: Couldn’t quite bring myself to say “Not being a judgmental prick” to someone’s grandparents. I’m nice like that.

Why I get nothing done

(scene opens in school office)

Me: (holding snack pack and water bottle)
School Admin: (enters with morose Gamma) And she broke her promise.
Me: (hands over gear) You weren’t doing your work?
Gamma: (sadly) No. It was hard.
Me: (sigh) We do things not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard.

(school staff collectively stare)

Gamma: That makes no sense.
Me: How else are you going to learn if you only do what you already know? Get back to class, behave yourself. Yo quiero tú estudias espańol.
Gamma: Sí, mama.

(cut scene, mother walks into the house, sees school binder on the floor, picks it up, sighs, swears, heads back to school)

Rise to the Challenge

(scene opens in tossed dining room)

Alpha: What are you reading?
Me: An article about how a movie theater is running all the marvel movies in order before Endgame.
Alpha: (unimpressed) Huh.
Me: Would you like to go?
Alpha: I already saw all of them.
Me: So? We could do it at home. We have all movies, we can spend all weekend watching them in order. A whole weekend! Think of all the popcorn we can eat!
Alpha: (grimace) I don’t really like popcorn.
Me: You break my heart. I’ll watch 59 hours of Marvel with Gamma. She still loves me. I’ll invite all my nerd friends and you can’t hang with us.
Alpha: Whatever.

Ich bin müde

(Scene opens in tossed dining room)

Me: (looking up from laptop) What are you doing?
Alpha: My German homework.
Me: On your Chromebook?
Alpha: I’m using Google Translate.
Me: (headdesk) Ohmigod. You’ve been doing all your homework with Google Translate?! I think we’ve just figured out why you’re getting full points on homework and failing every test!
Alpha: (explosively defensive) I’m an idiot when it comes to my tests. I don’t know shit and I don’t know why!
Me: Because if you don’t try to memorize the vocab during homework, you won’t remember it for the tests! This is what studying is! (points to the page) “ein Ei essen”. What does that mean?
Alpha: (sullen) Don’t know.
Me: (exhausted) Ei is egg and essen is food.
Alpha: (sinks lower in his chair)
Me: Remember when you threw down at the beginning of the year about how what a waste of time doing DuoLingo was because it wasn’t exactly what you were covering in class? I now officially know more German than you. Now I get to order flash cards so I can quiz you on vocab for an hour every night.
Alpha: (headdesk)
Me: Yes, I’m very excited about it too.