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Jewish World Review June 1, 2000 / 27 Iyar, 5760

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly
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Consumer Reports

Sunshine on My Shoulders -- A WALK IN THE WOODS with a 4-year-old (more or less verbatim):

"Carry me. Please, carry me. Please, carry me. I really need you to carry me. My legs are very tired. Just a little bit, okay? No, not that way. Shoulders, carry on shoulders. Okay, I'll hold your hair, and I'll pull it this way when you should go this way and that way when you should go that way. Right?

"It's very muddy. Why is it muddy? What makes mud? It's very slippery, right? Why is mud slippery? When sand gets wet it's not slippery, right? Why isn't sand slippery? If it rains some more, there will be more mud, right? Will there be a tornado? If there is a tornado, we will go in the basement, right? Because in a tornado, you go in the basement, right? Why aren't there tornadoes here? There are some tornadoes here, right? One or two, probably. If there is a tornado while we are walking, we'll go home and go in the basement, right?

"Can I walk in the mud? This mud is making my boots muddy. It's good that we're wearing boots, right? All men wear boots, right? Some ladies wear boots too, right? If there is a tornado, you should always wear boots, right? You should wear boots and go in your basement. Can I walk in the water? Are there fish in this water? Where are the fish? Why can't you see the fish? Are there frogs in this water? Where are the frogs? Are the fish and the frogs hiding? We'll throw rocks in the water and that will make the fish and the frogs come up, right? Can I walk on this rock? Why are there rocks in this water? Why is this rock flat and the other rock not flat? I'm just going to put my feet in the water a little bit, okay? My boots fell off. Can you get my boots? Get my boots, please. See, one is over there and one is over there. Don't go in the water? Why did you go in the water? Your legs are wet, did you notice? It's good that you got my boots, right? Shoulders, please.

"This hill is very hard to go up, right? Why do people pick up dog poop and not horse poop? Why are horses bigger than dogs? Why is there a fence here? Why is there a tractor here? Why did somebody leave the tractor here? Why is the tractor broken? Why doesn't somebody fix the tractor? Somebody should fix the tractor, right? Probably somebody will come and fix the tractor tomorrow, right? Why don't we have a tractor? Probably we used to have a tractor, right? When we move to Boston we will get a tractor, right? Why won't we get a tractor? We should get a tractor. I really need a tractor.

"Why is it raining now? I need my umbrella. Will you go back to the house and get my umbrella? I'll wait here. You bring my umbrella here. Please. I said please. Why won't you go back to the house and get my umbrella? I really need my umbrella. Is this a tornado? Probably this is a tornado, right? We better go back to the house and get in the basement. You should run. Why can't you run with me on your shoulders? I'm very heavy, right?

"It stopped. The rain stopped. Why does it rain and then it stops? Now, it's even more slippery, right? It's very hot now, isn't it? I don't want to go back anymore. Let's go this way. I said, go this way, horsey. Why does it hurt when I pull your hair? Okay, I'll only pull it a little bit, okay? This hill is very hard to go down, right? Don't fall. Why did you fall? Where are your glasses? Why are they broken? Why did you step on them? You should not have stepped on them, right? It's okay. Probably we can get some glue and fix them, right? You have a hole in your pants, did you notice that? Probably you made a hole in your pants when you fell down, right? You should not have fallen down, right?

"I don't want to go home. Why do you want to go home? It's not raining anymore, so we don't have to go home. Anyway, they don't have tornadoes here, right? No, I don't want to go home. I really need to walk some more. Let's go just a little more. Okay?"

Michael Kelly is the editor of National Journal. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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