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I despise learning. It disrupts my internal model of how this curious universe works, threatening me and my identity. It feels more like dying than living, more like influenza than like nurture. I don’t mind acquiring information, but reconfiguring that aging mental model hurts.

The Grand Other learns quite a bit every day. I understand why, by the end of the day, her mood devolves to cranky. Much of what she’s learning, she’s learning from teachers who seem unaware that they are teaching her anything. She a mynah bird and a skilled impressionist, mirroring almost everything she experiences. Since I’m spending many hours with her every day, I suppose I’m the equivalent of her grad school advisor these days. I try to make certain she’s exposed to enough balderdash to balance out all the serious stuff she absorbs.

”What does the red light mean?”, I ask as we’re idling at a stop light.

”Go!” she enthusiastically responds.

”What does the green light mean?” I continue.


”Nope,” I instruct. “Green means time to go to the bathroom!”

”Oh, it does not! No way Jose!”

”Jose says maybe,” I chide.

So go the hours and so go the days, locked in a more or less fierce acquisition of knowledge, learning to discriminate the shit from the Shinola®, with me adjudicating. I pass her quite a bit more phony stuff than real, but she discriminates well between the two. She exhibits a slight up turn in one corner of her mouth, a tiny sassiness to her tone, and I know she knows that I haven’t fooled her for a second.

I would not want to help educate a fool, so I play the fool, proposing the absurd, professing bizarre beliefs. No, wolverines do not routinely chew off the noses of little girls like her. And, no, one cannot go to a rental agency to rent replacement noses to defray the cost of buying a new one, but I really meant it when I told her she has the sort of face that could unashamedly wear a chicken nose as a replacement.

I don’t think she was being serious when she confided that someone had nailed her father’s nose back on after a construction accident. His nose looks more glued on, and she knows it.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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