Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Know What About What

On my vacation I heard a familiar argument between a child and his parent.

It goes a little something like this.

Parent says child's name. In a stern voice. Something like "Chris!"

Child says "what?"

Parent says "you know what."

I had to laugh when I heard that argument. I've had it millions of times. Haven't we all?

As stupid as the argument sounds, it isn't. It's brilliant. Let's break it down.

The parent says the child's name in a stern voice as if to tell them to "stop it." Only the parent doesn't say "stop it." Or "don't do that." Or "I can't believe you just did that." Or "you should know better." Or "don't make me come over there and put my foot up your ass." They just say their name. In a stern voice.

In response, the child says "what?" As if to say "what did I do?" or "get off my back, I'm just minding my own business" or "you're crazy for thinking I was doing something wrong because I wasn't doing anything wrong you crazy old person." Only they don't say anything of that. They just say "what?"

The parent then says "you know what." As if to say "don't take me for an idiot. You know damn well what you did wrong and don't make me take the time to explain what you did wrong when you know damn well what you did wrong and if you continue to push me you're going to get in a lot of trouble."

This is in effect a five minute discussion whittled down to about five seconds. Volumes are spoken with only the slightest of effort. This is efficiency at its finest. And I bow down before it.

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