May 5, 2022Liked by Alexander Riley

Ha! I have two anti-parable of my own, along the lines of "you can't fight nature."

When our son was about three, he and his dad found a lost and slightly confused duck in our yard. My husband duly found a cardboard box, and carefully, with Matthew's supervision, nestled the duck in. They took it to a spot on Bull Run where others were known to congregate and released it. Feeling quite virtuous, they watched it waddle into the water,. Then to Rick's horror the other ducks attacked and killed it. He was relieved that it seemed Matthew had already turned away and hustled him to the car, returning home to tell me one cheerful story in front of the son, and a darker one in hushed tones once we were alone. We still make veiled referenced to the duck around here.

When our son turned four, his birthday party was at the local gymnastics center. After everyone arrived the main floor was still not fully set up for the kids, so we all spent a little time in the waiting area. The mixed-sex four year olds got into bins of toys. (Mind, these are children of Bucknell professors and other such enlightened people who only let their kids watch Caillou and Baby Einstein - or no TV at all, and avoid any exposure to stereotyping gender, as well as violence/weaponry.) Within five minutes, the boys were all pretending that non-weapon toys, like blocks, were guns and proceeded to run around shooting each other, while the girls had rummaged out all the plastic food items and were following the boys, offering to feed them. I was laughing so hard inside.

Expand full comment