Monday, January 14, 2008

A Story Written in Reverse Aesopian style

Moral of the story: you can't fool kids.
You may think it odd that I begin with the moral, rather than following the great Aesop's tradition of concluding with the point. But then I have learned a great lesson from the kindergartners, first and second graders of Holy Trinity School. Get to the point, fast!
So we arrive at the school at around 730 in the morning, having arisen at 5:55 am to make the drive. In this somewhat groggy state we size up the sitch: an enormous echoing gym with limited seating arrangements. Stage? One rotating chair. Lights? An amazing old-style can light that sends light blasting into your face from only one direction. Perfect.
We are quickly ready, and watch as the kids file in under the direction of their frazzled looking teachers. The show starts... and perhaps you're asking yourself when the point is coming... be patient... setting the scene is always the most important part of any story-telling attempt. Anyways, the show starts with me coming out as the inspector trying to find out who killed Christmas. For the kids, this was no joke. This was serious, and they really were going to help me find out whodunnit. Mary skitters out from the side, dressed in puritan garb with a black robe, white neck wrap, and a pointy black hat with a buckle. Very Pilgrim, right? Oh no, don't be so sure, my sharp-eyed gumshoes. The kids look on in horror, and then a single voice begins a cry that is quickly taken up by the rest of the shrill-voiced children, all 150 of them: "It's a Witch! She's a Witch!" It took a while to silence them, for what are two adult voices against the power of 150 young ones? After this day, I can answer without hesitation: absolutely nothing. The rest of the scene continued with just the usual comments from the intensely involved audience. The second scene brings Mary on again as a car salesman-type character. The kids instantly recognized her though, even with the costume change, and took it upon themselves to warn me: "Thats the Witch! She's the Witch!" The swell was even harder to calm this time. The final moment comes in the third and final scene, Mary as a police inspector from the future moves to arrest me for killing Christmas in my own life and heart. The kids came valiantly to my defense:"Don't take her! She didn't do it! You're the witch! You did it!" I tried in vain to admit my guilt, to persuade my supporters that I indeed was the guilty one, but to no avail. I do believe that the situation would have become ugly, had not Mary stepped up to the plate: "Listen, y'all kids," she said, "if you don't shut yer mouths, I'll write y'all tickets!" This threat slowly took affect and eventually all was quiet again. The script had pretty much gone out the window by this point, so we wrapped up in good ad lib style.
Have you forgotten the moral? It wasn't that we all kill the Spirit of Christmas by materialism, false tolerance, or by being killjoys. Rather, it was never to forget that you can't fool kids, no matter how clever your disguise.

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