My sister has one kid, Tommy, who is about five and is the apple of her eye. He can do no wrong even when he’s doing it over and over again. Sort of like a clown. You know, most things that are wrong are like clowns. Anyway, the kid is five going on fifty-five with the misguided conceit of a used-car salesman coupled with the accumulated wisdom of a colony of sea slugs. Pretty much like all precocious five year olds.
Well, last weekend, while I was babysitting Tommy, he let me know he’d found out where little boys and girls come from.
“Good for you,” I said.
Aren’t you going to ask where?”
Due to his chronic case of infantile narcissism, he doesn’t hold my intelligence in high regard. A few of my ex-girlfriends might concur with his assessment, but that’s another story.
I took the bait. “Where?”
“From my Mom’s butt.”
Somehow I succeeded in keeping a straight face. “Who told you that?”
“My friend, Darrell. He said we come from their butts.”
I thought about just letting it go, but I do fear my sister’s wrath, and conversely love her awesome baked sour cream zucchini lasagna which she shares with me periodically. I wouldn’t want word to get back to Mommy that, from the very beginning, I didn’t attempt to dissuade her impressionable young son about his true origins.
“Are you sure about that?” I said.
“Yeah, that’s what he said. I betcha didn’t know dat.”
No, I definitely did not know dat. I took a deep breath. “How about we Google it to make sure?” I whipped out my phone and typed in Where do we come from? and pressed <Search> before he could tell me what a dumbass I was.
I clicked on the first link. It was about the Boshongo people of central Africa, where their traditions talk about the great god Bumba. One day Bumba, in pain from a stomach ache, vomited up the moon, the stars, a bunch of animals and finally, humans. I stopped reading because I saw I was losing Tommy, which was sort of surprising because vomit was involved.
“Not good enough? Let’s try another one.” I clicked the next link.
It was about Evolution. I summarized a few paragraphs, focusing on the monkey aspect. “How about dat?”
He pinched up his face like he might be having a baby, and said, “Monkeys are cool, but it doesn’t say anything about butts.” The kid couldn’t let it go. He was being a bit anal if you don’t mind me saying.
I clicked through a few more links, one focusing on religion, but a rib creating a woman couldn’t compete with butts. God wasn’t quite as creative as Darrell. Another link focused on the technical details with pictures and everything. I saved that to my favorites and scrolled on.
All the other links became less and less informative and further away from the thrill of being squeezed out of a hole the size of a walnut. But, of course, he didn’t know that the orifice he actually exited from was only slightly bigger. Fascinating, yes, but remember, we’re competing with butts. Everything else is just gross.
“Well, I can’t find anything…”
“Told ya’.” Tommy cut me off and stuck out a bratty little pink tongue. “Mmmmm. I was right. I was right. You don’t know nothing.”
Five years ago, when baby Tommy was born, I got to hold him in my arms. I looked down on this cute pudgy-cheeked creation and silently promised I would be the best uncle ever. I would shower him with love and affection, teach him about the wonders of the world, and be the cool, fun guy who he would look forward to seeing every day, and we’d ride purple unicorns off into the sunset as we ate our peppermint and pistachio ice cream cones under a rainbow sky.
Sadly, I hadn’t met that promise yet. However, today, I sensed an opportunity to do the right thing. I needed to step up, put aside my petty resentments and let this bratty little pink-tongued insult slinger in on the truth. Be the adult for a change (that’s an ex-girlfriend thing again).
Hanging in front of me was what you call a teaching moment. It lasted only briefly like a lot of my relationships (geez) and then it was gone.
I smiled at the little shit. “I gotta say. Darrel’s right. Your mom pooped you out. That’s why you get a bath every night. Now, be a good kid and watch some TV.”
I never tasted my sister’s lasagna again.