the porous city

Hello, and welcome to the eleventh stop on the "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" virtual book tour, the book tour that has ignored every hint you've dropped -- the yawns, the glances at your watch, the insistence that you've got to get up early tomorrow -- and just refuses to leave. My name's Bono and I'm here to talk about third-world debt forgiveness-- No, no. Wait. My name Greg Knauss, and I'm here to shamelessly pitch my book. Sorry for the confusion.

"Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" is now officially approved by my wife. She lay down on the sofa the other night and read it for the first time, because I had apparently neglected to mention to her that I'd been documenting the most intimate details of our lives on a Web site. When asked for a quote, she said, "I can't believe people pay six bucks for this."

There's an "only" missing from that, the way I figure it.

Today's reading is from James Stegall's "I Don't Care If I Ever Get Paid to Write," because I'm just sick to death of that damnedable "Rainy Day" thing:

I've apprehended homeless men who've shoved telephones down their pants and twelve-year-old girls with backpacks full of make-up. I've caught single mothers pushing out strollers with packages of diapers hidden beneath their babies. I caught a woman who emptied an end cap of three hundred Power Ranger figurines into a cart and attempted to push it out the door. One tall man pushed a television out the front doors with his daughter sitting on his shoulders When he saw me he, tried to run and his little girl hit her head on the doorjamb. She started to scream like a siren. That's how I got him.

I apprehended one fourteen-year-old boy who shoplifted a collectable baseball (barely over the $10 minimum). When I notified his mother she said, "Keep him." I had to call the police.

And now, questions from people with far, far too much time on their hands:

A man in a purple sweater asks: If you were to say, race your children -- and I'm not saying you have or implying that you've thought about it at great length -- but if you were to race your three kids from one end of the biggest room of your house to the other, what do you think the approximate finishing times would be for each child and who would win?

Here at Total Bastard Laboratories, we'll never settle for simple conjecture. It's hard, scientifically justifiable experimentation you're looking for, sir, and it's hard, scientifically justifiable experimentation you're going to get.

At approximately 6:45pm PST, at the Total Bastard Test Area and Living Room, Subjects T, M and P* were lined up along the eastern border of the proving grounds, after the coffee table was moved out of the way. Both Subjects T and M showed pre-test jitters, as they repeatedly attempted to wander away and look out the window. Subject P displayed almost preternatural clam, largely because he had fallen asleep in his bouncy seat. Once Subjects T and M were returned to their starting positions -- after the test administrator threatened to count to three -- and the heats were begun.

Trial One ended in a draw, as both Subjects T and M returned to the window while subject P continued to sleep, possibly passing gas in the process. This last is conjecture, but Subjects T and M both denied responsibility and the test administrator refuses to even consider the possibility that it was him.

Trial Two results were abandoned as flawed, because the test administrator had to push both Subjects T and M across the Test Area, muttering helpful "C'mon! Go! C'mon!"s as they went.

Trial Three presented Subject T as the clear winner, though he refused to stop at the foyer and continued down the hall, through the family room, the kitchen, the dining room and back around to the living room again -- repeatedly, four laps by the official count -- all the while shouting "C'mon! Go! C'mon!" Subject M trailed, after a tentative start, wailing "Eeeeee!" The tests were brought to a conclusion when the test administrator's wife interrupted the fifth circuit by saying, "Calm down! Calm down! It's dinner time! In your seats, now!" And then, to the administrator, "I wish you wouldn't do that to them before we eat." Subject P was left on the proving grounds to finish his nap. He crossed the finish line roughly an hour later, after he pooped and had to be taken upstairs to be changed.

Final times -- Subject T: three seconds; Subject M: four seconds; Subject P: one hour (assisted).

For more scientifically rigorous child-rearing and/or -racing, please join the tour tomorrow, when it stops at Harrumph.

* I just realized that my son's initials spell "tmp," or the common computer abbreviation for "temporary." I refuse to consider what subconscious processes might have led to that. Besides, Joanne picked Pete's name.

last modified: 12:03:33 08-Apr-2002
in categories:People/Stories, Arts/Literature





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