The Bruises You Get From Hitting Someone Else

My five-year-old is in training to be a ninja. Part of that training requires hitting me. A lot.

One of the problems with his hitting me, though -- you know, apart from the fact that wayward blows strategically placed, even from a five-year-old, hurt like hell -- is he misses sometimes and hits something hard, like my elbow or my watch instead. So, then obviously he gets mad at me because … screw you! That hurt.

All of which means that I have to apologize to him for hurting himself on me, when my biggest offense is just trying to watch a little Sportscenter after a long day at the office, which, in a just world doesn’t seem like too much to ask, given the fact that I generally don’t ask for that much, maybe a little peace and quiet now and then, which, as I say, seems like an entirely reasonable request in a world where five year-old ninjas can hone their craft on the unsuspecting with an impunity normally reserved for Wall Street Bankers and small town high school football stars …

Where was I? Oh yeah, I have to tell him I’m sorry for being the anvil he bruises his hand on.

And if I say, “Ha! Serves you right!” if I don’t say “Sorry” right away, I only compound the original offense of not being conveniently soft enough a target by heaping on the added indignity of not being sufficiently sensitive to his need to find someone else to blame for his pain.

It occurs to me that I see this same kind of dynamic in politics:

  • “We love Hispanics, and we need them to broaden our political base … which is why we’ve asked all you illegal aliens to self-deport. That you all don’t love us is probably due to the fact that you don’t understand us, or maybe you’re just too simple minded to see how much better off we’d (I mean, you’d) be if you liked us more. All that talk about Hispanics as shiftless and lazy, as a drain on the economy and healthcare system doesn’t mean we don’t want to appeal to you for your vote. And frankly, it hurts us when the you call us ‘anti-immigrant,’ and don’t like us, and refuse to vote for us. We have feelings, you know.”
  • “We love African-Americans. Remember Abraham Lincoln? Yeah, he was our guy. That was us. (We’ve also got an African-American Supreme Court Justice, you know.) So, we’re tired of being called racists. It hurts our feelings. We love black people -- which is why we’ve been trying so hard to go into heavily populated African-American areas to work on voting issues. One issue we’d like to fix is the fact that you all vote disproportionately for everybody but us -- which we think is bad, and which we’re trying to fix by limiting your voting opportunities. But when we do, you call us racists. And we’re tired of it. Really? That’s the thanks we get for voter suppression?”
  • “We love women. We love them so much, in fact, that we want to take care of them. We’ve been at this whole ‘being in charge’ thing for a long time now. So, you all are just going to have to trust us that when we propose legislation that takes your interests out of your own hands and places it back into the rightful hands of the legislators, health insurance execs, and employers where it belongs we’re doing it for your own good. We know they’re your bodies, but we love those bodies too much to let you silly women be in charge of them. (And you have some great bodies. Just sayin.’) But after all our care for you, you turn around and call us ‘anti-woman?’ How could you? All we’ve done for you and you still call us ‘sexist?’ All this has been for you … mostly -- and you still don’t vote for us?”

And right now I see the bruised hand thing in the church:

“We love gay people -- especially when you all agree to quit being gay and become normal the way God intended you to be. You’re welcome in our church. In fact, we’ve had you in churches for years, and never told you you had to leave. (It was only when you came out of the closet that we said anything about leaving. But it’s hard to blame us for that, right?)

“We’ve said from the pulpit that everybody’s welcome, and we mean it. Gay people are welcome -- as long as you admit you’re reprobates who will occupy the hottest chambers of hell if you don’t start making it with normal people. That’s love, my friends. We love you too much to let you ruin the church, the culture, and the NBA.

“Just because we call you ‘deviants’ and ‘potential child molesters’ doesn’t mean we don’t love you.

“Just because we liken your relationships to bestiality and pederasty doesn’t mean you’re not welcome in our churches.

“Just because we torture your young people with Medieval quackery like ‘Reparative Therapy’ doesn’t mean we don’t care about you.

“So we’re peeved when people call us ‘bigoted’ and ‘homophobic.’ We find it offensive when people say our dearly held theological convictions come across as harmful and unloving. It hurts our feelings to be told that, as much as we talk about the Bible, maybe our interpretation doesn’t make sense of the world we live in anymore.

“How could you be so divisive and insensitive to our needs, when all we’re trying to do is help folks quit being degenerate minions of perdition? Please say you’re sorry.”

Elbows and watches are occupational hazards for aspiring ninjas.