Most likely some day, perhaps in your lifetime, Audrey will inherit, own, and rule the world. She may also save it, if she so chooses, and unless she forgets. For now, though, she is 9.6, a red-haired menace to herself and others. Only The Happy Tutor, a big kid himself, one thousand years old, well past his second childhood, now into his 73rd childhood, can work with her on her own terms. If you were to peek into Audrey's room just now, as I did, in my capacity as Omniscient Narrator pro tem, you would have seen them, Tutor and Audrey, somersaulting, in opposite directions, starting in the center of her room, bouncing off the far wall, like swimmers racing in a pool, and returning to the center. One large form tumbling not very fast, one small form going at much higher rpms. Audrey always wins, and Tutor, when they meet at the center, always bemoans it, "No fair! You always win! You are a real kid. I am sore all over." This is the process by which Tutor positions his most important moral tutorials; how he opens the child's mind to receive life-changing instruction.
Audrey has been sent to her room because at dinner Diamond Jack, the most trusted advisor, provided as a service by the Private Bank of Wealth Bondage, to form the minds, manners, morals, and mores (what he calls the Four Ms) of the rising generation of Trust Beneficiaries, had told Audrey, "Young ladies finish all the food on their plate. Think about the starving children in Darien who would kill for those broiled Brussels sprouts." To which Audrey had seen fit to reply, "Fuck you!" At which point she was sent from the table, where Tutor, in his red waiter jacket, had been serving the meal, refilling the glasses, and standing at attention, when not needed, behind Mother's chair. Tutor joined Audrey as soon as his other duties permitted.
As Tutor and Audrey meet dead center in her room, Tutor imparts what he calls "secret knowledge from the silliest grownups." There are still Silly Grownups, but they are few, and most are over 500 years old, living on the margins of society, and their underground lore must remain secret. If the Stupid Grownups discover that here and there Silly Grownups still exist, the last ones will be rounded up and done away with. Tutor, winded from the exercise, swears his panting charge to secrecy. "Here is what I know. When a Stupid Grownup makes you mad, you must never say Fuck You out loud," he says. "But I can't help it," she says, "he makes me so mad. He is a big jerk. And Momma likes him. He picks on me." "Yes, but that is his job, kid. He gets paid to be a big jerk. Out of thousands who applied, he was chosen for reasons of aptitude, attitude, education, bearing, countenance, good manners, wide reading, wisdom, virtue, and presumption. Then he had to undergo years of training, being mentored by the biggest jerks in the whole world. They are gone now to their eternal rest, but Diamond Jack carries on the tradition, one he passes on to the newer Pompous Jerks in Service to Wealth coming up through the system. So, of course he makes you mad. Then, because you are so mad, you say Fuck you, then you get sent to your room, then he tells Momma how lucky she is to have him mentoring both her and you," says Tutor. "And then he says you are out of control and need a real Dad, fulltime, not just on retainer, and then he smiles, showing his big white teeth. You have seen him do it, and how Momma smiles back." "Fuck him! That asshole!," Audrey exclaims. "No, no, no, kid. Let me teach you the big secret, ok?" "Ok," she nods. "Let me see your hands; hold them out. When I say something stupid like a real grownup, you can say Fuck You to yourself quietly, and smile, and first clench your left hand, on Fuck, and then your right on You. Or, if you wish, you can do the same for Asshole. I think it is only one word, but two syllables. Clench on first and second. There is more, but lets rehearse, ok? Ready? 'Audrey, be a good little girl and eat all your delicious Brussels sprouts. The children in Darien only get candied carrots and lots of cake, which is bad for their teeth, dear." Audrey smiles like Shirley Temple and her little fists clench and open, first left then right. "Excellent, kid! But there is more. When you finish clenching and opening left and right hand, then and only then you say, 'How interesting!' and you open your eyes wide. Now let's try it, ok? I will be the Big Jerk, ok? Ready? 'Now Audrey, you must learn to brush your hair like a good girl, or I will have to have the maid do it for you. Good girls take pride in their appearance. You must learn to be an asset to your family. That hair of yours is a personal liability, but we can optimize it, with a good stiff brush. You must do the best you can with what you have, such as it is. Have you ever tried a dog brush for the wiry haired breeds?" Audrey's eyes flash, her body trembles, but her hands, stay in her lap, and go, clench, release, clench, release, and her face lights up in the Shirley Temple smile, "How interesting!" "Good," Tutor says. "To make it even better, go like this, "'O Yes! How interesting!' Try it." And so they rehearse, as they do in Judo practice, until Audrey, no matter how she is provoked by a Stupid Grownup, can say, "'O Yes! How interesting!' with a big innocent smile, her hands in her lap, and mind like water.
For those of you who are children, whose Mother or Father is reading this story about Audrey to you at bedtime, never ever use bad language, unless you do it quietly to yourself. Be like like Momma, not Dad, when he's mad. Remember, eat your sprouts, and always brush your hair. And if you if you ever meet a Stupid Grownup, be very careful. They are bigger than you. They are very powerful, and you must treat them with respect, and agree with all they say, or they will send you to your room. You must wait your turn. Some day you can be a Big Jerk, too. Just never ever forget what it is like to be a kid. Only kids can save the world. The grownups have made the mess, and when they try to fix things, they only make it worse. That is a secret. I bet if you tell Momma, she will say, "O how interesting!" And then you will not know what to say, but you will know you are a very lucky kid, because your Momma is a Silly Grownup, after all. The kids in Darien don't have a Silly Grownup in the family. Count your blessings!