Monday, August 21, 2017

Jennifer, Me, & Jennifer

What’s the old saying, everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten?

Five-year-old Mark was at school, playing house with Jennifer V and Jennifer W.  (If you’re from my generation, you went to school with at least a dozen Jennifers.)  Now, admittedly, five-year-old Mark was pretty old-fashioned when it came to gender norms, so I went into the game under the assumption that one of the Jenns and I would be the parents, and the other Jenn would be our daughter.  I mentioned as much to the girls, only to get this response:

“No, we’re sisters and you’re our brother.  We’re all living alone since our parents aren’t here.”

I mean…damn.  That’s bleak.  Forget the personal ego blow of these girls preferring to pretend we’re living some traumatic Party Of Five-esque scenario than just pretend one of them is married to me.  But man, suddenly this game of house takes on a whole deeper, more primal meaning.  Suddenly it’s not just “oh, put the kettle on to make some tea,” it’s now “teatime is a cultural norm that we can fall back on in an effort to normalize life in the wake of our parents’ sudden disappearance.” 

Note that they we’re all LIVING alone, not just that we “are” alone or a less-definitive phrasing that might imply our parents are running late getting home from work or something.  No, we three kids have been habituating within this grim, orphaned existence for a while now.  Just me, Jennifer W and Jennifer V against the world.

Who would’ve thought that Red Rover, a game that so often devolved into clotheslining other children, would somehow be the less-traumatic of common kindergarten activities?

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