Whenever we went to a store, I was allowed to go by the toys and the magazines by myself. As long as I followed the rule about asking for stuff.
The rule was simple...
"DON'T ASK OR BEG FOR ANYTHING OR ELSE."
On this particular shopping venture there was a brand new rule of conduct added.
"Do NOT talk to strangers!!"
It would seem I had this habit of going up to people and just talking to them.
Of course in my six year old brain, strangers were just people you didn't
know yet. When you start talking to someone new they are strangers,
that is until you get to know them and thus making a stranger, your
This made sense to me.
My mom disagreed. Then and now.
With the glare of death and the addition of this following statement "If you don't know who they are, they are strangers and you CANNOT talk to them. DO YOU Understand THIS?" convinced my brain that mom was not kidding this time...not even a little bit, not even a lot.
We arrive at the Walgreen's, and I made a beeline towards their toy section.
After perusing the toys, I headed towards the magazines.
I was looking at a Starlog (which is a sci fi magazine) that had some
Star Wars pictures on the cover, when one of those "strangers" came by
and picked up a copy of the same magazine.
Clearly remembering my mothers rules regarding strangers ("Do NOT talk to strangers!!"), I stared at the magazine and said very loudly "What's your name." This was not starting a conversation. This was just making a random statement that we kids are oft to do.
As you can see, I am following my mothers instructions.
"Excuse me, but did you say something?" the stranger asked me.
Another one of my mom's rules was "Never be rude to adults." She was a firm believer in the "kids should be seen and not heard" philosophy. Of course when my sister would make her appearance six years later, she would be exempt from the "seen not heard" rule.
Clearly not answering this man, would be an INFRACTION to another one of her rules.
END OF INTERMISSION
So this much smaller and cuter version of the guy typing this story for all of you to read restated "What's your name?".
"uh James, well Jim to my friends." answered the man previously known as the stranger.
"Hello Jim, my names Jose. Now I can talk to you because you are not a
stranger. You are Jim and I know that. Did you like Star Wars? It's
my favorite movie but I like Superman too..."
At that precise moment, well I Want to say that I heard my mom coming up behind me, but that wouldn't be completely accurate.
What I felt was a disturbance in the force.
Like the feeling of a million spankings were headed my way.
I actually felt that icy glare freeze the hairs on the back of my neck.
That, pretty much meant that the judge known as mom had just put my ass on trial, the jury known as mother had passed judgment and when we got home I would be facing the punisher known as very mad mommy.
I immediately went into "Save my butt" mode.
I mean that literally.
I told my mom that this guys name was James, Jim to his friend and that he likes Star Wars, and that I had followed her rules.
I didn't start talking to him.
I was talking to myself and he started talking to me.
I reminded her how she always told me not to be rude to grownups.
I repeated what I had said and then he said his name was James, Jim to his friends.
Now that I knew his name, he wasn't a stranger anymore.
That means I COULD talk to him.
I even added that according to the bible "we were all brothers and sisters."
She, of course, didn't approve nor appreciate the fact that I had found a loophole in her rule.
When we got home I didn't get a spanking. I got worse.
I received the "I'm disappointed in you" speech, and was then sent to my room.
Mom told me to sit in silence and to "contemplate my actions", and that's when I noticed something.
Much to my surprise I realized I was still holding the Starlog.
In all the excitement and fear I forgot that I had been looking at it.
Mom was so mad at me she didn't notice what was in my little grubby
That night while in my room I sat on my bed reading and looking at my new magazine and contemplating my actions, I learned two things..
First, I learned about loopholes, and second that sometimes, the punishment was worth it.
The Trinity Session
By Cowboy Junkies
Release date: 1990-10-25