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On the fourth day of Christmas my nephew’s boyz brought me one first class, life-affirming conspiracy.

I prefer the company of kids. Not because kids are so sweet. Perhaps because they are just as capable of meanness as kindness. They are, to an individual, every one of them, a pirate until acculturated. After that, they’re a bit worse.

I conspire with them because they conspire so well, much better than any adult. They teach me the subtler aspects of the art. I need and appreciate the lessons, being all grown up myself and all.

I have no heavy hand, and I suppose they sense that in me and try to take advantage, as any self-preserving biological system should. I try not to mistake a kid promise for an enforceable contract provision, it’s provisional upon it working for them. Should the tides turn, they’ll vacate a solemn promise more quickly than wind shifting. They are shifty and absolutely reliable in this way, and so, extremely reliable.

Kids are more like cats than dogs, and nobody should attempt to train them for obedience. They’re tenaciously loyal and they’ll follow anyone anywhere they want to go. The trick is to understand where they’d quite naturally want to go and suggest they go there. The occasional kitty treat-like reward buys a lot, too.

My relationship with every kid in my life has been in the form of a conspiracy against the adults. I’m on their side, clearly, and we sneak around showing up the grown-ups for the fools they aren’t aware they are. Most grown-ups never even notice. Believe me when I say that every kid notices.

Conspiracies thrive upon the iron-clad ethic that some things are best never mentioned. That cookie you liberated after the gruff voice declared “No More Cookies,” needn’t ever be admitted to, even under some adult form of torture like threatening. Every kid knows which threats are serious and treat 99% of them as lukewarm air—and should.

Relationship are the accumulated unspeakables our wink-acknowledged conspiracies produce.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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