THE SONIC BOOMER
After decades of living, I have come to the realization that a person’s best qualities are also their worst qualities, depending upon whom you ask.
What one person sees as an outgoing, sociable, friendly person comes across to another as loud, invasive and nosy.
What one person sees as a well-put-together fashion icon with perfect grooming habits comes across to another as being overly concerned with outward appearances.
What one person sees as an intelligent, well-educated, infallible source of information comes across to another as being an annoying, boorish, know-it-all.
The bad news about this is, no matter how hard you try, haters gonna hate.
The good news is, who cares? You’re a sociable, well-groomed, intelligent person!
The exception to my brilliant observation is, of course, children. Children speak their minds, and you have to believe them because they have not yet had time to learn hate nor to let their egos consume them. They are speaking from the heart. And they are speaking the truth.
That is why, last week, when my darling little six-year-old (“almost seven!”) granddaughter was stroking my arm and looking up at me adoringly, it threw me to have her speak these words — “Grandma, you have wrinkly skin.”
I like truthful children, so I tried not to react badly. Instead, I took a deep breath and looked into her honest and observant little face and said, “Well, yes, after you live a long time, you get a few wrinkles.”
To which my sweet angel replied, “But you have a lot of wrinkles!”
Again sucking it up, I took another deep breath and tried to turn this disastrous conversation into a “teaching moment.” I explained the consequences of gravity on human flesh, even going so far as to include NASA, the space station and floating potato chips. I summed up with, “So, here on Earth, things are different. We are constantly being pulled on by gravity.”
She replied by smoothing her own skin lovingly and saying, “I don’t have any wrinkles at all.”
Rather than grabbing this precious child by her smooth little neck and throttling her, I expanded the “teaching moment” into a rather graphic portrayal of facelifts, pulling the skin along my jawline up roughly and twisting it into bows just under my earlobes until my face felt tight. “Is that better?!” I tried to shout but, in typical childlike fashion, she was continuing along nonplussed, again stroking my arm and saying, “I like how this skin looks. It’s like little waves of skin bumping up against other little waves of skin. And it feels nice.”
I let my gravity-ravaged skin drop back into place (where, thankfully, at least it did not bounce or wobble) and gave the child a hug.
She does love me.
It’s not her fault that I look like an elephant.