Archive for February 14th, 2007

Those three little words

During the recent ice storm and power outages, I was amazed and appalled to read some of the interviews conducted with my co-Ozarkians.  The paucity of imagination and intellectual independence shown by some of these folks was frightening.

 There was a woman who was just SO relieved when her cable television was finally re-connected after 17 days.  You would have thought that some sort of life threatening event was represented by the lack of televised entertainment.  But, they were so lucky because they had a DVD player, and their power was only off 4 or 5 days.  They had purchased DVDs and they could get movies at the library too, so they were able to stave off their death by boredom.

Please envision me vomiting in disgust, and then having a conniption fit, and screaming, “Have you never heard of BOOKS, you brain dead morons?” or words to that effect.   It apparently never occurred to them to actually get up off their couch and go for a walk, or start clearing all the brush out of their yards.  Or get out paper, pencil and colors and draw a picture, write a poem about the storm.   Whatever.

My mother did not feel it was her bounden duty to entertain her children.  In fact, my parents were so adamant that we children should have the means in our power to entertain ourselves that they refused to purchase a television before all of their children could read, and read well.  We had tons of books, went to the library regularly, and had all sorts of art supplies available to us.

My parents felt that it should be just as entertaining for us to read a book as it was to watch a television programme.  They finally bought a television a week before Apollo 11 started off for the moon.  They felt that Man’s first moon landing was an historic enough occasion to warrant allowing the demon TV to enter the household. 

I learned long ago that there were three little words that I never wanted to have pass my lips:  “Mamma, I’m bored.”  I would like to be able to report that I learned this lesson quickly, but it took almost an entire summer for my mother to teach it to me.  The first time during that memorable summer vacation that I mentioned that I was looking to be entertained, I was given the job of ironing the clothes that needed to be ironed.  So I did that.  Okay, it wasn’t much fun, but it needed to be done, and it was not out of the ordinary to be expected to do it. 

I believe the next time I mentioned that I was less than excited about my life around the house, I was told to clean the stove.  I did that pretty often anyway, so it didn’t really make a connection for me.   The third time I mentioned that I was bored, my mother had me clean all the cabinets in the kitchen.  That actually backfired, because I was actually enthralled and interested by all the silver and stemware up on the top shelves, and was quite amused by the family history I induced her to impart to me regarding them.

It was the fourth time that I pronounced the unmentionable phrase that finally made the connection for me.   “Mamma, I’m bored,” I whined to her.   She looked at me for a full minute, and then said, “I believe that the walls and ceiling in this kitchen need washing.”  It was a large kitchen, and she made it clear that the hall past the bathroom and into the living room was included in this chore.   It took me pretty much all day to accomplish the job, and it was as I was working on the second third of the job that it occurred to me that perhaps I was even more bored at that moment than I had ever been in the whole summer, and there was another third of the boring task left to do before I could exit the premises. 

I can assure you of one thing:  I think long and hard before I allow those words to pass my lips, or even to enter the conscious part of my brain.  That long ago lesson stuck firmly in my brain.  

I wonder why more parents don’t endeavor to teach their children this, rather than feeling responsible for making sure that their little dears are never bored.   At any rate,  I am glad I had the mother I had rather than the panderer that those children in Springfield have.   Because of my mother, and her “cruel” lessons, I have no fear of power outages, lack of TV, or long layovers.  There is ALWAYS something I can find to entertain myself. 

Thanks, Mom.   I love you.

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