Needy parents

Needy parents

Sometimes the best conversations are the ones you walk through.  As I was leaving the grocery store yesterday, I passed a young boy, maybe 10 or 11, standing in front of the Redbox machine.  Somewhere outside my field of vision was the boy’s mother.  As I passed, the boy turned away from the machine, looked past me, and asked the unseen parent, “Mom, why do we need a watermelon?”

Something struck me about the lad’s tone of voice.  It sounded awfully familiar.  I couldn’t place it at first, but I gradually realized it was the same tone of voice my mother used with me when I was his age: “Why do you need a new pair of sneakers?  Those still fit.”  “Why do you need a new bike?  You never ride the old one.”

I was out of earshot before I heard the reply, but the whole way home, my mind kept fixating on that one question, “Why do we need a watermelon?” It’s only a short drive from the store to the house, so I only managed to come up with these possible answers:

  • Because it’s there.
  • To get to the other side.
  • Because I said so.
  • Go ask your father.

(Disclaimer: I hate watermelon, so I never considered any responses that involve the consumption of watermelon or watermelon byproducts.)

(Disclaimer 2: The picture above is from a training video for the game Alligator/Watermelon/Intrepid Kitten, a coping exercise used to help crocodiles combat fruit addiction. That would also be a good reason why we might need a watermelon.)

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