The other night at the store, I wandered into the long side hallway that contains nothing but the entrance to the bathrooms. They are the only reason to head down this hallway. I stepped up to the drinking fountain, opposite the restrooms. A much-beleaguered mother shuffled up the corridor, her two children behind her; both boys around eight to ten years old. The eldest was pushing an empty cart. Both the mother and the younger child started towards the doors, but the older boy lagged behind. The mother turns and tells the older boy:
“You’re going in with your brother.”
“But mom, who’s going to watch the cart? Somebody’s going to take it!”
“Nobody’s going to take the cart, who would want it? We’re all the way down here, and there’s nothing in it, anyway. Just go to the bathroom.”
“Somebody’s going to take it!”
The boy sighed heavily, gave the cart one last skeptical, wary look and reluctantly followed his brother to the bathroom.
I finished my drink, wiped my mouth on my sleeve, grabbed the cart and took off like a bat out of hell. I reached the end of the hallway, made a few random turns down side aisles to hide it from view, then abandoned it. I came back to my girlfriend laughing. She asked what happened, and with an undue sense of pride I told her.
“Why?” she asked, reasonably.
“I just gave that kid a serious victory! He’ll remember that for years!”
“You just undermined all the authority that mom’s built up over the years, is what you did.”
Yes, I did.
YES! I DID!