The Journal of Provincial Thought
jptArchives Issue 18
lildiamond1-Iss18-luminancediamond2_18 Pigasus- Cogito ergo nix iss18- c2007 Schafer
MOM sees all, knows more, so heed her advyce* or pays the pryce. And that you can hardly afford, citizen.
Martha Q. Schafer
Second Course
Stories always trick people into listening to advice: "and the moral of
that story is. . . " Sooo. . .

1. When my children were young we lived in a set of three-plexes that backed onto another set, and the whole place was called The Ghetto. At the other end of our set lived our friends Glenda and John and their two boys. All in all, there were around eight children who hung out together (or who together hung each other). As I often said, my method of child rearing involved sending children out to play ("Don't get hurt!"), telling them to eat lunch at the neighbors' and be home for supper. Glenda, on the other hand, always had a houseful of kids, for whom she made costumes and to whom taught wonderful things. Now Glenda wasn't a very picky housekeeper, but she had invented a brilliant method of kitchen-floor cleaning. She told all the children to run home and get into their bathing suits and return quickly. She then presented them with a bucket of soapy water and a number of sponges and rags. And she went away. They slid around on feet and bottoms and bellies for a half-hour or so, screaming and having the time of their lives. Then she came back and removed the soapy water and the wet rags and handed out dry rags and they slid around for another half-hour drying the floor. Result: the cleanest floor in town, a group of happy and tired hooligans and a number of parents who had read two chapters of the book they had been working on for a month.

2. Remember those plastic bowl covers your mother always used and you couldn't find them for sale for years until quite recently, but now they are $12 for four? Here's how you get them for free. Whenever you stay in a motel that is fancier than a place frequented by working girls, you'll find a strange assortment of stuff in the bathroom. This is to lure your back to the same chain, but every chain has its own strange assortment which, aside from a bar of soap, isn't very identifiable. Well, look closely. There will be a packet labeled "shower cap." This is really a perfect bowl cover. Take it home. Ask for another one or two at the desk. Alert friends and relations to bring ones to you. I have left people absolutely open-mouthed when I've told them about this.

3. Here is an easy and cheap way to get a baby to entertain itself. (Notice the non-PC pronoun that should always be used for any child under the age of one.) Buy a balloon. Helium is good but a regular blow-up one is okay. Plain color rather than picture. Tie the balloon to or above wherever the baby is lying. If it is a non-helium balloon, turn a fan onto so it moves around. Use thread rather than string for safety. You can vary the color of the balloon if you want to teach the names of colors. Then you stand there and say over and over while pointing, "blue balloon, red balloon, yellow balloon." Actually that won't teach anyone anything, so don't do it. Go read a book. Here is what will happen if you can tie the thread where the baby can reach it. Very young babies need to develop the reflexes in their fingers, and eventually they'll get hold of the string and pull and pull. Use this only with babies newborn to around 6 months, because the time will come when baby bites balloon and it blows up. Once this happens, quickly remove the balloon remains before baby eats it or smothers under it. At that point get baby a job delivering newspapers.

Coming soon: buttons up the nose.

*Actually, neither Mom nor jpt can be responsible for anything that happens should some well-meaning yutz attempt one of these anecdotal activities (depicted purely as "what-if" Einsteinian thought experiments) and blunder, or even get it right. Anything you might be inspired to do as a result of reading this amusement is strictly, absolutely on your own head and into your wallet. Consider this: at jpt we endorse nothing. We back nothing up. Our stance is CYA compliant. —Legalese Dept.
jptARCHIVE Issue 18
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