Monday, May 25, 2009

Stinky Morrill, his Mother and the Water Wings

Stinky (Steven) Morrill was pouting. He was upset because one of his water wings had a puncture and mother refused to leave the pool to buy a new one. He was on step three of his multi step procedure into getting mother to surrender to his will.

• Step one. One tear paired with a look of despair.

He forced one tear out of his left eye and down his cheek the second he heard air escaping from the cracked seam of the water wing. He changed his facial appearance from that of a happy boy about to go swimming into an injured puppy. He rushed to find his mother before the one tear dried up on his face. She was sitting beside the pool with the other mothers. She looked at his face, took the water wing, tried to inflate it, saw the leak and put it under her chair.“We will get you a new one when we leave,” she said wanting to get back to her conversation with the ladies.

Stinky pulled on her arm to get attention. He wasn’t sure she saw his lost puppy dog eyes with added tear for effect. “Not now Stinky. Go into the baby pool and I’ll keep an eye on you.” she said.

• Step Two. Crying.

Stinky started to cry. Big crocodile tears streamed down his face and onto the wet swimming pool’s pavement. Mother raised a finger to the other ladies, the worldwide accepted mother's sign that she needed a moment with an upset and rude child. “Stinky, stop crying. I’m not leaving the pool. Crying won’t help," she said in a quiet voice only he could hear. Stinky didn’t stop crying. He knew he was pushing her buttons. Although taking the risk of a spanking, if he played the game correctly, they would soon be in the car on their way to Woolworth’s to purchase new water wings. He kept crying
“Ladies, would you excuse me,” mother said. She got up from the deck chair and took Stinky by the arm. Stinky knew his mother’s holds. If she took him gently then he got his way. If she was firm, then he’d had his chips. She took him firmly. They were walking toward the gate. His crying increased in intensity. He had nothing to loose at that point.

A moment later he was in the back seat of the car over mother’s knee. She spanked him three times on the backside. Mother was good. Her blows found their way to the mark despite Stinky’s repeated use of his arms and hands for shielding. “I told you I’d give you something to cry about,” she said sternly. Mother believed children should behave. She had no patience for a spoiled child. Stinky gambled and lost.

She took him back to the pool after calming him down by saying, “You don’t want the other children to see you’ve been crying do you?” Stinky stopped sobbing and wiped his eyes and his nose with the back of his hand. Mother went back to the ladies and Stinky stood beside the baby pool thinking about his next move.

• Step Three. Guilt.

Stinky needed mother to feel guilty for what she had done. If successful, the guilt would eat away at mother’s self imposed vision of what a perfect mother was. She would then solicit his forgiveness by taking him to Woolworth’s to purchase the water wings. Stinking stood beside his mother and tugged at her arm. “What is it Stinky?” she asked.
“I’m not going to swim. I’m going to the bathroom,” he said while wiping his nose and eyes again to illicit sympathy. He looked at the other ladies in the circle and gave them his lost puppy eyes hoping to capture their motherly instincts and use them in his favor. He needed one of them to tell mother what a cute boy he was. No one spoke. “Go ahead Stinky.” mother replied.

Stinky walked back into the locker room. He found an open locker and sat down. It was turning out to be a horrible, terrible, very bad day. How could he have lost the upper hand? Why wasn’t his mother like other mothers? Why was she so insistent on good behavior in public?

Stinky thought and pouted for awhile. Several minutes later he heard his brother’s voice from the locker room’s door. “Stinky, mom wants you.” Stinky jumped to his feet. Did he win after all? Did the guilt he spread so thickly take hold? He ran out the locker room and straight toward his mother. She was holding a pair of pink water wings decorated with unicorns. Stinky stopped dead in his tracks. “Stinky, Mrs. Marshall is leaving and is kind enough to let you borrow Silvia’s water wings. You can go swimming now. What do you say to Mrs. Marshall and Silvia?”
Stinky wanted to cry. He wanted to scream. He could never be seen wearing girl’s water wings, but the look in his mother’s eyes convinced him otherwise. Ingratitude was something mother would not tolerate. If he said or did anything at that moment other than say “thank you” he might as well prepare for early death.

“Thank you,” he said. He reached out and took the water wings, while all the time looking into his mother’s eyes. Mother smiled. She was proud of Stinky. He came through in the end. She patted him on the head and whispered “thank you for being a polite boy” into his ear. Stinky felt better. His mother thanked him. That meant she owed him. What a wonderful position to be in. That meant not only a pair of water wings from Woolworth’s but a treat at the lunch counter as well!

All was well with Stinky. It was a good day after all.

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