From 10 years ago, when my daughter Scout was nine:
On Division Street, I’m running, Scout is biking. She initiates a huffing/puffing conversation by asking why she is disliked by a certain third-grade contemporary, we’ll call her Olivia.
Resisting the temptation to quote Scout’s late grandmother’s stock line in such situations, “Fuck her if she can’t take a joke,” I remind her that 99 people out of a hundred like her.
Why do people like her? she wants to know.
“I can think of a hundred reasons,” I say.
“You’re warm, you’re smart, you’re polite, you’re loving, you care about other people’s feelings and you’re funny.”
“That’s not a hundred.”
“No, but I could come up with a hundred, easy.”
“How about 30?”
“Okay, 30. But not while I’m trying to run, okay?”
“And as for Olivia? Fuck her if she can’t take a joke.”
I already long for a simpler time ….
Postscript: To this day, when Scout experiences rejection of any kind, all I have to say is, “Well, you know what your grandmother would say.”
And we nod, and smile.
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