Give me it!
Why do you want it?
Because it’s mine.
But why do you want it?
…it had to be the television remote control or maybe a “One Free Hug from Dad” coupon. I decided to let it play out to see if they could come to a compromise.
Twenty minutes later, their battling dronified whining started to get to me. I had to intervene. What on Atlas’ shoulders are you two going on about?????
“She has my elephant!”
I didn’t even know my son had an elephant. Is that why his room smells so bad? I never had an elephant. No fair! I’m not paying for this elephant, am I?
“My little rubber elephant.”
Are you serious? Clearly he was either very bored or very insane. Fifteen year olds do not covet little rubber elephants unless they are in an assholic mood, which he was, I deduced. Somewhere in his life my son obtained a little rubber elephant and had kept it sacred somewhere in his bedroom. Gandalf had told him to keep it secret, keep it safe. At some point between the day of her birth and a few days ago, my daughter found it in his bedroom, liked it and put it in her purse. Somehow, it came up in their conversation tonight after dinner.
“So, I was thinking, if Einstein never wrote that letter to Roosevelt,
the United States may not have been the first to develop the atom bomb.”
“Oh, yes, I know. Isn’t that scary? Can you believe they didn’t allow
him to work on the Manhattan Project because they thought he was a security
“How preposterous! By the way, do you have my little rubber elephant?
“Yes, of course. It is in my purse.”
“Give me it.”
“Why do you want it?”
The situation was so bizarre I didn’t attempt to reason with either of them. I confiscated the little rubber elephant. I guessed they were both bored, and not yet certifiably insane, so I gave them each a box of Froot Loops and told them to catalogue each piece by color, size, granularity and crunchitude degradation at ten second intervals of soaking in milk. That should keep them busy while I play with the little rubber elephant.