Lori Falce: Pink sprinkle doughnuts and rules
Explaining the rules to a child isn’t easy.
Kids learn fast that a cute grin and an “I love you, Mommy” can be a shortcut around a “no.” They learn just as fast that a well-timed fit in the right venue can motivate an exasperated, embarrassed parent to give some short-term ground — even if it doesn’t pay off in the long run.
I was at the grocery store once when an absolutely adorable little girl was pitching a loud and long tantrum about a frosting-filled, sprinkle-strewn doughnut that she needed right now lest she die. Her mom had been telling her from produce to the deli to the meat department and through dairy that if she was good, she could have said doughnut when they were done.
Now they were in the checkout and the doughnut was in a bag and the fit was going nuclear. The little girl was on the floor, screaming as Mom calmly emptied the cart and paid the bill. In full view of the audience of other shoppers, she opened the bag and took out the doughnut as the little girl, sniffling and wiping her nose, gleefully got up for her prize.
And Mom ate it. Downed it in two enormous bites. She looked a little sick, and she probably chased it later with some Pepto-Bismol the same color as the glaze but she didn’t falter once as she swallowed it like a snake with a live mouse, staring her shocked-silent daughter in the eye the whole time.
The laughter from other moms in the checkout was not quiet. More than one clapped. I was one of them.
There are not enough object lessons about the rules, and there need to be, from the top down.
This isn’t about liberal snowflakes and Republican rogues or millennials and baby boomers. Take a look at what happens in Washington — like GOP House members storming a deposition in defiance of security protocols — or in Harrisburg when Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted of perjury and obstruction, or closer to home when a local mayor is accused of brandishing a gun in a park.
Too often, the grown-up responses echo children’s excuses: But he said! She did! They started it! There is a feeling that personal charm and political support will make the rules optional. And too often, on all sides, they do.
What our political landscape needs is a mom willing to risk a sugar coma to swallow a doughnut whole and deliver a message that the rules are the rules and you follow them or face the consequences.
Lori Falce is a Tribune-Review community engagement editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected].