We were talking about name-calling the other night at dinner. I decided that the conversation required some of my patented home-spun wisdom.
"Daisy, did I ever tell you what I used to say to kids who called me names when I was little?" I asked, planning to tell the story regardless of how she answered.
"I used to say this, 'I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me...'" and I made a helpful gesture showing something ricocheting off my chest, "'and sticks to you!'" and I gestured triumphantly back to Daisy, clearly demonstrating how the attempted hypothetical insult had backfired.
I beamed at Daisy. She eyed me warily.
I beamed at Hank. She smiled back at me encouragingly, the same way you smile at a three year old who shows you a pathetically unrecognizable finger painting of a dog. Yes, Mike, you're a very good daddy.
"That's what everyone used to say, right, Hank? It was what we all used to say when someone called us a name."
"That's right," she said supportively.
Daisy looked unconvinced.
"But then, it's like you're calling THEM a name. Then you're the name caller. We're not supposed to call names." Daisy replied.
"No. Nooooo. No, that's not it at all. The OTHER person is the name caller. You're just bouncing it back to them. " I explained.
"I think she's got a point, Mike" Hank interjected. "It kind of is like you're sinking down to their level."
"No way! You're not calling anyone names. You're just rubber here. Rubber can't help but bounce things back. Is it your fault you're rubber and they're glue? They're idiots for throwing names when you are so very bouncy and they are so very sticky."
"What if it's a trap?" Daisy asked.
"A trap? It's not a trap. It's rubber and glue. It's physics."
"No, what if they insult you just to make you say that rubber thing, and then once you've bounced the insult back to them, then they tell the teacher that you called THEM that name. They've trapped you!" Daisy leaned back in the bench, envisioning the punishments that would rain down on her upon the execution of the rubber/glue gambit, and shaking her head at the sudden turn of hypothetical events,
"She's right," Hank agreed.
Unbeekeepinglievable. This is not a world I want to live in. Kill me. Kill me, now.