Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Boy, a Snake, and a Rat

The other night Jack's friend Cameron invited him to go rat shopping. Cameron and his family were going rat shopping to feed their boa constrictor. I would have let Jack go, but he had another obligation (and, by the way, I am proud of Jack for giving up doing something really, really cool to meet his obligation without whining).

The next night I learned from a neighbor that Cameron once showed up on her doorstep with the boa constrictor wrapped around his arm.

The following day I sat Jack down for a serious talk.

"Jack, you know that your friend Cameron is always welcome in our home, right? But you have to know that your friend Cameron with a boa constrictor wrapped around his arm is not welcome in our home."

This statement of mine didn't really come as any surprise as Jack. Roger and I have had a long-term understanding that snakes are not welcome in our home. (I choose to ignore their addendum "that you know of." I know they love me and will always respect my wishes on this point. Right?!)

Anyway, as soon as I laid down the law I saw Jack's wheels turning. I saw that gleam in his eyes. I smelled a rat.

"I'm coming up with lots of loopholes, Mom."

I'm sure.

"What if the snake is wrapped around my arm? What if Cameron is carrying the snake on a board? What if . . ."

"What if we talk about the spirit of the law?" After all, a boy who is smart enough to know about loopholes is smart enough to wrap his brain around that concept. Right?!