I’ve often watched my patient, calm, friends lose it with their kids and frankly, there are few things I enjoy watching more. Me, if I can make it to seven pm without going hoarse and/or dismembering a child, I feel like the Great American Hero. But the patient mothers, they don’t let anything ruffle them. Until they do, and then that’s something remarkable to behold. Watching a zen-master-mother threaten to snap her toddler in two like a stick of linguine is far more fun that watching a yeller like me… yell.
I did a lot of yelling today. Some days are long enough, but forgetting to eat until four p.m. takes a day from long to interminable.
When I finally sat down to eat, Francie, who had just eaten, materialized.
“Oooh! Yum.” She said. “Can I have that?”
I told her to bugger off in the best way I knew how, but she wouldn’t relent. “Come on, just one bite? A teensy bite?”
“Francie,” I said. “I haven’t eaten a thing all day. Do you want me to die? Because if I don’t eat, I will surely die right before you.” My access to the Jewish Mother Trove of Guilt is nothing if not remarkable. “Let me finish this snack (which, I should note, you don’t even like but only want because I am eating it) and then, should the Almighty let me live, I’ll happily give you something to eat.”
“You know,” she said. “The human can go for days without food.”
“That’s right,” chimed in Efram. (Where do these kids come from? I don’t hear them enter, they just appear.) “Like that woman in Bangladesh. What was it? Two weeks?”
“Three!” announced Bennett.
I was getting nowhere fast. I tried to eat quickly but I knew better than to fight it. I pushed my half-finished snack in front of Francie. “Eat up, kid.” I said.
I went in the kitchen to fix myself a cocktail.
I figured I was safe. There are laws against sharing those.