The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

October 97 Humor Writing Contest winner
Best Short Humor!

Justifiable Homicide


Sam Harper

Ever feel like stoning Mr. Rogers? Pounding Barney? Sending Sheri Lewisfor a long walk on a short pier? I do. Don't get me wrong. The kiddie showhosts on public TV do a great job. They're endlessly huggable, the kids lovethem, and they send the right message. It's just that by the time I getfinished addressing my kids' needs. "Hearing" them, acknowledging theiremotions, responding appropriately, I've had enough sensitivity for the day!I don't want to hear a lot of numbingly redundant goop from a purpledinosaur! OKAY!!!???

...Sorry. I guess I kind of snapped. But I'm exhausted. Being a perfectparent is hard work. I mean, I'm understanding, I'm sensitive, I'momniscient, I know ALL of the lyrics to the "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" theme.And this perfect parenting stuff isn't exactly second nature to me. Afterall, I was the last child in a litter of six. My parents didn't spend a lotof time "hearing" me! In fact, I don't recall any of my emotional needs EVERbeing met!! I was told what to do, when to do it, and I did it or I would bepunished!! Was this a great environment for learning what's PARENTALLYCORRECT?! I DON'T THINK SO!!!!

But I'm not bitter. I'm aware that I'm the member of a transitionalgeneration in parenting. Without any reference point whatsoever, I'mmastering all of the parenting skills that will make my children emotionallywhole. And in practicing my belief that two hours of good parenting requiresfour hours of good psychiatry, I have learned that "BECAUSE I SAID SO,DAMMIT!" is often not the appropriate response to a toddler's meek query. Butdoes that mean I have to be Mr. Rogers ALL the time!? Mr. Perfect Parent!!?Do I have to smile and hum, "it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..." asjunior takes an ax to the patio furniture!!?

Wait ... Now that I think of it, maybe my son answered this question for methe other day....

I'd had the mother of all bad days--youngest with an ear infection, flattire, meeting with a studio gnome who thought David Lean was the guy whoinvented low fat frozen dinners. So, at the end of the day, when I told myrebellious middle boy to brush his teeth and he said "In another lifetime,Padre!" I exploded, 50s style, barking at him like a big-chested fascist. Myson just stared. When I was through, he looked at me and almost smiled. "Havea bad day?..." he said. He seemed glad to know that I could be a nutbag. AndI was glad to know that my parenting has been good enough that he couldhandle my being, well, imperfect...

I guess I'll put away the parenting manuals and start being myself. P.S.Mr. Rogers, you're a DEAD MAN!!

©Sam Harper

Margie Culbertson hereby has my permission to use "Justifiable Homicide" on her web site. SH

ABOUT Sam Harper

Sam Harper is a screenwriter. He wrote the movie "Rookie Of The Year",released by 20th Century Fox. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, three sons and a turtle named Sassy.

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©Margie Culbertson

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