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3:21 p.m. - Friday, Apr. 30, 2004
A Sense of Accomplishment
What I like about having a big yard to mow is that whenever I mow it, I get a sense of accomplishment, as if I'd done something important.

I've definitely done something TIRING, but ... important? — no.

Which makes me think of Easter, when I spent a quarter hour teaching five-year-old Neve to write "peanut butter." That's what she wanted to write, so I showed her how. And for a quarter hour I got to feel like a friggin' genius because I know how to spell "peanut butter."

That's the overpowering allure of children: they make us feel like friggin' geniuses for our most ordinary skills and our smallest knowledge.

Because we know how to pee in the toilet, we are, compared to them, friggin' geniuses.

So you teach a child, slowly and patiently, to pee in the toilet, and you get a sense of great accomplishment. I think that deep in the human psyche, there's a persistent delusion that a child is essentially different from you, better than you; that you have taught not just a child, but the future savior of the world how to pee in the toilet, when in fact the most significant thing that child will probably ever do in his or her life is teach another child to pee in the toilet: another child, who seems essentially different, a budding genius, the savior of the world.

And so: the grass keeps growing, thank goodness, and people keep churning out babies, thank goodness, so we can go on enjoying our delusions.


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