2007-11-07 / Editorials

Found a peanut

All That's Fit to Print
Brenda Wall

Mothers invented the worst case scenario. I realized this over the weekend as I watched a news report.

Actually, it wasn't much news but mostly conjecture, mostly what could have happened if the stars were aligned a little bit differently at the moment whatever event it was occurred.

For example, the remnants of Hurricane Noel hit the northeast coast this weekend and on Saturday the news folks were busy talking with experts about shorelines washing away and high winds damaging homes.

On Sunday, beneath a beautiful blue sky and with boats floating peacefully on calm waters, the same reporters admitted there was little damage while the anchors said things like, "well those boats could have banged together and caused a giant explosion and the winds could have blown those exploded boats into that house over there."

What really happened is never as good as what might have happened, what could have happened, or what might be going to happen. Mothers started all of that.

I caught myself doing it at the Kolomoki Festival. I saw a little boy running with what appeared to be a giant spear.

"Someone's gonna put their eye out with that thing," I said to no one in particular. It didn't matter that the spear in question had a floppy rubber tip.

The past rushed over me like the giant waves that are often forecast yet never appear. Memories of going barefoot against my mama's wishes and hearing "you could have stepped on a nail and gotten lock jaw and you know what happens to little girls with lock jaw.

Actually, I didn't, but I could tell it was bad just by looking at my mama.

Then, there was the song "Found a Peanut." It is the theme song of worst case scenarios. Verse by verse, a foolish person finds a peanut, cracks it open, sees it's rotten, eats it anyway, gets sick and dies.

When I was little, I actually did find a peanut, cracked it open and ate it. I was in big trouble because "how do you know that peanut wasn't poisoned? How do you know it wasn't treated with something that will make you sick?"

In retrospect, I knew this because no one rushed me to the hospital. But I never ate another found peanut.

Fathers are not infected with worst case scenario. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a male do much more than roll his eyes as a litany of "what could have happeneds" is presented.

Perhaps that's why little boys are unaffected by their mothers' scare tactics. Perhaps they truly are influenced more by their fathers than mothers. Perhaps my worst case scenario theory proves that having a father figure in the home is important.

Without a father figure to do a little eye rolling during the mother's prediction of dire consequences, what's to happen to a boy?

I guess they turn out to be news reporters. Otherwise, my theory doesn't hold water.

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