I've always considered it a great wisdom passed down from my father that adults who remind kids of how easy they have it because they don't have a mortgage to pay, are brutes.
Kids' problems may seem simple to us, Dad said, but they don't seem simple to kids. And they should be taken every bit as seriously, by us.
Lately though, 10-year-old Scout's problems don't even seem simple to me.
The other day, the naturally cheerful demi-dame came home from fourth grade in tears. The next day she had to rehearse a long memorized speech in Chinese in front of an audience of seventh graders. When I suggested the seventh graders would be impressed to hear her spewing Chinese, she cut me short. "You don't know what the seventh graders are like. They make fun of everything!"
Also on her mind, in addition to her usual asinine amount of homework, at least 40 percent of it utter busywork that she knows full well is utter busywork, was: "Boys!" What about them? "A lot of them like me!" And what's the problem with that? "I think about it all the time. I don't want them to like me. I worry that they'll stop liking me. I don't know, I'm just sick of it. I'M SICK OF EVERYTHING!"
I thought about my day, which I didn't think was any great shakes either: An article I was trying to peddle was was being ignored, I suffered dull anxiety about a conference I'm promoting and the power went out for an hour in the afternoon.
Yeah, I work pretty hard, and I worry sometimes. But I don't have to do it while memorizing Chinese, finding my way around my own mind and figuring out what the fuck to do with a half-dozen fourth-grade imbecile boys who are in love with me.