The Convincing Child

At the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, as a child, I very nearly always got what I wanted. To give myself credit, I believe my demands to have all been reasonable, and not at all excessive or beyond the scope of rationality. As an interesting point of fact, I was not an only child (regrettably), nor was I the younger of a sibling or the youngest of a group of siblings, who is often treated as though they are the only child that matters. I was, in fact, the elder of a pair, and yet I seldom was left for want. Additionally, my parents were not wealthy in any sense; not poor, though, but very hard workers in an economy that just barely rewards those from a middle class who labor to remain somewhat middle class.

So if that at all aids to eradicate any treacherous preconceived notion of my childhood formed in your mind as a result of my opening claim, then I am satisfied in my ramblings.

To continue– I fairly always received what I desired. How? In a middle class household, not having been the sole affection of working parents, how did I manage to receive satisfaction for all my wanting? Was it that my parents ran the credit card any time their exceptional daughter yearned? Hardly. Was it that I longed only for occasional, measly items? Also not the case. Rather, it was something simpler altogether, yet more complex, something that was dreadfully unfortunate– a trait, in particular, that my parents likely spent ample hours dismaying over, a trait that they themselves bestowed upon me by their given genes, and oh, they didn’t stand a chance against their (hopefully) beloved daughter, with the blue eyes, dreams of an imaginative, and this one blaring skill that came so naturally.

Out with it already! As it may be apparent at this juncture, writing is somewhat of a pleasure to me (to say the least of it), but what good is writing if there is nothing to say, no talent for inventiveness? Oh I have both a-plenty. Thus, my parents found themselves hopelessly wrapped around the pinky finger of my maniacally persuasive inclination. (Ah! There it is!)

And so I mean to say that I was (and am, though I have retired the materialistic, self-serving practices of this craft in my later years) wholly convincing in my desires. Only a manipulation of the tongue was necessary for me to exit a store with coveted toy in hand, or down the road, for me to begin demolishing the stubborn walls within which my sheltered youth was housed.

An example, of course. An example is unquestionably necessary; I can see you pining for one. Much in the way I pined for the first of several in the book collection A Series of Unfortunate Events, hardcover. It was many a year ago, in the hey-day of K-Mart’s existence, and a chance family shopping trip. “Mom, can I have this book?” I began, as she should have been the softer of the two, and thus more inclined to be an advocate for me; moreover, she was the leading cause of my bookishness, and I expected her to encourage this purchase. However, she returned with, “I don’t know; ask your father.” In the days since, she has admitted to me she intended this as a seal of death (the traitor), had not at all expected Father should go along with this. He, his favorite book an illustrated account of a supper consisting only of socks, was not what one would consider a lover of literature in most senses. But, having held this hardcover in my soft hands, having loved the pages of a loaned copy and now wanting to commit to my own print, I couldn’t bare to quit this newly-formed textual relationship, and I boldly asked my somewhat approachable father somewhat sheepishly: “Father, I would really like this book… Would you…?”

Do you recall every bit of your childhood? Though I lend myself to an observant eye and a pointed memory, there are cases of my life that have slipped out the window of my mind when the wind has rustled my desk papers and I carelessly turned my cheek to gather the scattered documents. Thus, though I am certain it was an impressive feat of word and wit, I cannot recall what my argument was for this singular item, what grounds I posited to my father upon which he should buy that revered binding for me. But, as the story goes, the next thing my mother knew, my father and I were wheeling a shopping cart with seven hardback A Series of Unfortunate Events books within. What had begun as an innocent appeal for one cherished book had evolved into a frenzy of literary acquisition. Perhaps the only “unfortunate” quality of this event was the bill, which, in her dumbfounded tizzy, my mother saved as an artifact of my persuasion.

Another example? But of course! Of course–for one example from an incident when I was seven years old is not sufficient enough support for a claim such as the one I made. Another example indeed, right away–and there are plenty. Just one moment please.

Ah yes, and here we are. As a young adolescent, I was drawn to the darker faculties of the human existence, and thus led a somewhat edgy existence for a period of time, during which I celebrated the songs of screamo, cloaked myself in swatches of black and adorned my arms in abundant jewelry of random nature (a cat collar necklace, a chain with a key upon it wrapped around my wrist), donned hair that slept upon my face in daylight and night-dark. And so, within this culture of confederacy, the piercing of the flesh was considerably approved. Thus, as a fourteen-year-old youth with two sets of earrings upon her lobes, I craved the chasm of another upon a steeper faction of my ear. Alas, though, my parents declined this proposal, and, having been of a rebellious state of mind, I seceded on the surface, and, in the privacy of my room on a random school day’s eve, I took the gleaming point of an earring and drove it through my own unsuspecting ear’s cartilage for its final resting place.

Naturally, in the ensuing days, I laid my hair upon my ears in a deliberate fashion, so as not to boast before my parents the action I had committed as the antithesis of their prior conclusion. However, in a brief moment of carelessness, as I sat upon a kitchen chair and spoke with my mother, the curtain of hair parted in a fashion unbeknownst to me, but apparently noticeable to my hawk-eyed mum, and she whipped her hand to place it on the base of my skull and cradling my poor head with this one hand, her digits having raked through my hair, asked, “What is that?” though, despite this question posed, clearly knew precisely the scene upon which she was looking.

So my mother discovered the shiny silver stud so quietly burrowed in the outer fields of my ear, an outlaw housed directly against her orders. And what would be the result of this hideous betrayal of whim? So shall you see.

Defensive, of course, I was, as my mother had just usurped my ear with her sharply angled vision. And in that state, I hand-picked a medley of words in a frantic yet not altogether sloppy manner, so that, as a consequence of what I said (once again, this has been elusive to the encyclopedias of my memory), I was permitted to live, as before, with the mere stipulation that I concoct an essay furthering my argument– to be read before the jury. Perhaps this allowance was their greatest mistake; in fact, indefinitely, this allowance was a fool’s move.

One who trifles with words does not need a lengthy appointment with language to finagle an argument out of anorexic air. I was (and am, as an English scholar) practiced in the style of, as some refer to, “bull-shitting,” and very convincing at it. And so I returned fairly quickly to my parents with a document so compelling, so convincing, so clarifying, that they were left nothing but victims to my imaginative reasoning and my resourceful evidence. In fact, the pair were so turned by my essay, that they not only allowed me to continue to sport the self-pierced earring, but they then gave permission for me to have yet another piercing committed. And in short, that was how I quickly resulted in having an abundant speckling of studs upon my careful ears.

Yet one more example, yes? Ah, but to have three examples of anything is to practically sign it into law. Three examples I have– and more, to boot, yet I am conscious of brevity and am willing to summarize (just this once; we know how I love to drone) the other classic cases: a party I reasoned my way into attending, a cell phone I justified my way into owning, a hamster I rationalized my way into possessing. To delve into each of these would be a pleasure– but another time, of course.

So to conclude this epic of eloquence in persuasion, I would merely like to thank you, my dedicated reader, for allotting me my say. Perhaps you are left altogether with a changed mentality from any initial, uninformed presuppositions formed of me (how very much like a doted-upon daughter I first seemed, in my claim of never being left unsatisfied as a child!). All this I have served merely to share with you, for perhaps a half-hour’s purpose of entertainment, as it remains to this day–this condition of my youth–an amusing aspect of the past to my mother, my father, my sibling, and myself.

Until next time, dear reader.


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