Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
I Don't Know Any BetterGrowing up in the store was interesting, to say the least. It’s nice to have people making a fuss over you all the time. Usually. Certainly it’s good for the ego. Inevitably however, there comes the well meaning, but completely misguided person who just knows better.
My parents always believed in teaching me to use potentially hazardous objects properly so that I wouldn’t hurt myself if I got a hold of such an item when they weren’t around. It worked for me. I was using scissors before most of my peers even knew what they were. This, of course, went against every ounce of wisdom that all of our customers ever knew.
My poor mother.
“You shouldn’t let her have scissors you know.”
“But if we teach her what they are and how to use them, she’ll be much safer.”
“She’s much too young. She’ll poke her eye out.”
“Not if we teach her to use them correctly.”
“What if she gets a hold of them one day when you’re not around? She might run with them and fall and stab herself.”
“Not if we explain to her how to use them properly.”
This kind of conversation would usually end with Mom suddenly remembering something important to do and exiting gracefully, with me still holding the scissors. My mother is a wise woman.
As I got older, and more observant, I would “help” some of the employees. I’ll give them lots of credit. It’s hard to have a little kid following you around, asking to do what you’re doing all the time. Most of them were very good to me though, and taught me a lot about working in the store and getting along with people. Periodically however, I think I just became too much for them.
On one such day, when I was about ten, I was out in the little restaurant that was attached to the store. The woman working out there at the time was pretty busy with orders and cooking and preparing for the lunch hour when she discovered that she was getting low on coffee. Our large coffee brewer worked by pouring water into a hole at one end and placing a pot under the end where the coffee came pouring out. She decided that since there was only a little bit of coffee left in the pot, it would be fine to leave that coffee in there and just let the fresh coffee pour in on top of it. Which was very much not how things were supposed to be done. But I didn’t say anything. I knew better than to contradict. I couldn’t help myself however when I realized soon after the coffee began pouring into the pot that it wouldn’t all fit.
“That’s not all going to fit in that pot.”
“Sure it is, don’t worry about it.”
“But I’m sure it’s not going to fit. It’s going to overflow.”
“It’ll be fine, don’t worry about it. It’ll all fit.”
So I took her word for it and just stood there and watched it get closer and closer to the top of the pot. In her defense, it was definitely a close call. It almost all fit. Almost. As I watched it spill over onto the burner that was keeping it warm and run onto the counter underneath, and as I watched the harried waitress rush to mop it up, I couldn’t help but shake my head inwardly. She knew better than me, because she was the adult.
After helping her get it cleaned up, I left to go see if I could find some scissors to play with.
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