“LOOK dammit!” Bop on the back of the head. Lost in the clouds? Daydreaming? Or? Myopic!!!! So, I got glasses. First kid in my kindeegarden class. Wayne Helander got his soon after.
“Mom there’s leaves on the trees!” Car ride home from the optician.
“Look, dammit! You’re not going to see this again in your life!” Bop! “That’s a GD steam engine. LOOK!”
“Look at the aspen! You’re not looking. Get your head out of that GD comic book and LOOK!”
“I didn’t bring you all the way to Yellowstone Park for you to sit sulking in the back seat. Look at the GD hot springs, for Crissakes!” Hand goes for the cane that rests between him and mom so he can wave it over the backseat maybe connecting with one kid or the other. My brother and I laugh, but we LOOK.
So the debate; should parents hit kids?
As you see, my parents hit me and my brother. Not often and not hard, but they did hit us. Well my mom hit me hard, but this isn’t about her and not about those moments. This is about “LOOK, dammit!” Bop!
I’m walking up a hill on a narrow trail with my niece who’s letting me know in no uncertain terms that she is miserable beyond human expression. She’s looking at her feet, her constant view a pair of red Converse All-stars. “I hate this,” she finally says.
We get to the top of the little mountain where we can see the ocean and the whole city of San Diego. She’s looking at her shoes, still.
“Look!” I say pointing to hundreds of seagulls swirling up from the valley floor, getting lift and momentum for a trip to the sea.
“There’s nothing to look at,” she says, her voice resounding with an 11 year old’s pout.
“That’s because you’re not looking! LOOK!”
“Lift your damned head and LOOK!” I point out over the valley toward the ocean.
“Oooooh!” she says. “That’s beautiful!”
“You gotta’ look around. If you don’t look around you miss your LIFE!”
Suddenly all those bops on the back of my head made total sense to me.