Well let’s just try and be polite about it and say that I have a sense of humour that isn’t shared by many. Because of my freelance status, I am generally careful about the tricks and jokes that I play upon other people. All too frequently, sarcasm, the lowest form of wit, is mis-understood and roughly translates to mean mean. Meaness is not the goal. The goal, broadly speaking, is joint attention and enjoyment, although a wee giggle wouldn’t go amiss.
Hence as I pick up another piece of paper mangled by the completely useless printer, I notice that the tear bears a remarkable resemblance to a bite mark. How can I resist? I march up to the first one with a cross expression. “Hey you Mr. Sonny Jim. No more eating paper if you will?” He looks at me blankly as I waggle the blank piece of paper in front of his face. “It were ent not me.”
“Yes it was. Look. It’s the exact same size as your teeth.”
“No. It is being too big for to be me.”
“Yes.” I see no glimmer of recognition so I pull him along with me to the next one so that he can witness and re-group and practice.
“Hey you Mr. Sonny Jim. No more eating paper if you will?”
His brother blinks at me, not vacant but engaged with other matters.
“No. I din dun do it.”
“It were ent not me neither,” repeats his little brother.
“Are you sure? Look it’s the exact same size as your bite.”
“No. I not.”
“Right then.” I haul them both along to repeat, regroup and practice with their sister.
“Hey you Miss Madam. No more eating paper if you will?”
She rolls her pre-teen eyes and notes her brothers’ presence, hovering and ever so slightly expectant, perhaps.
“Oh yes it was. Look it’s the exact same size as your bite!” She looks at the paper more closely. “Geez! It’s a load of old rubbish that new printer, innit?” No-one is responding as I wish them to respond. I purse my lips and glare at their mystified father. He removes his glasses to begin cleaning them, methodically, as he adds, “I seem to recall that you’re the only one who has ever been caught eating their exercise books in school.” Now they all look at me. Now they’re interested. “True, I have to admit.”
“You are eated paper?” he asks, incredulous.
“Yes. When I was at boarding school. We were always hungry and possibly bored.”
“Dey din dun feed you at your school when you were being a child?”
“They did,……..but not enough……..and we often had to fast on a Friday.”
“Fast Friday? What is dat being? I am liking fast, dat is my kind of a school.”
“No actually, it isn’t your kind of a school. It’s not speedy fast but ‘don’t eat’ kind of a fast. Come to think of it, that probably would suit you very well.”
“I dun fink I am liking dah very fast school for eating paper.”
“Yes, your mum probably has more trees growing inside her than anyone else we know.”
“Don’t be daft dad, that would only be if she ate tree seeds. Did yah eat tree seeds too mom?”
“No, just apple cores and their seeds…….and their stalks……..I was very hungry.”
“Are you……are you……….are you hungry now?” he asks tentatively.
“Starving!” I stuff the paper in my mouth and begin to munch with avid enthusiasm as I watch their faces, to my personal delighted satisfaction.
I’d eat the whole ream for that kind of joint attention.
2 hours ago