As a child in kindergarten, Donald would pluck the legs off of the insects he found, specifically daddy long legs spiders, and occasionally eat them. He would study how the legs would keep moving after he removed them, and would sort them into piles of wigglers, non-wigglers, and pop the legless bodies in his mouth. 15 years later he would learn that daddy long legs spiders carry venom approximately 600 times more potent than a black widow spider, but they are incapable of biting humans, rendering them harmless; but he still wondered why he didn’t die after eating the entire spider along with all its venom. Donald would learn 20 years later that he was misinformed, and that daddy long legs spiders are harmless because they in fact don’t have any venom at all.
Upon moving to first grade, to a different school in a different neighborhood with different people, Donald noticed that no one ate insects anymore; they just watched them. On the first day of school Donald saw two insects fighting and decided to break up the fight by squishing them. This was the first time a complete stranger had gone out of her way to tell him a question.
“How would you like it if you were squished by a giant foot?” Donald had not learned what puns were yet, so he couldn’t say ‘I would feel depressed,’ but he still had some manner of wits about him, and replied,
“I squished them with my shoe, not my foot.”
“Yes it does. I wouldn’t be out here without shoes on. If I didn’t have shoes, then they would still be fighting!”
The girl held her stern gaze on Donald and let out a shrill, high-pitched burst of sound. “Ms. Schneider!”
Ms. Schneider was a heavy, non-Germanic woman with the classic wart on her nose, who’s official title was ‘Recess Duty,’ and who’s unfortunate unofficial title was ‘Playground Witch’)
“Ms. Schneider! He’s making fun of me!”
This confused Donald on two accounts: the first because he had no idea why the girl, unprovoked, would shriek; and secondly because he was a very literal child and was in fact not having any fun on this girl’s behalf, nor was she transforming into any derivative of the greater concept of fun. Donald felt that either this girl’s choice of words, or her line of thinking were poorly misguided, and he rebutted on the matter:
Donald was simply trying to prevent an insect war, but apparently this little girl had nothing to do but complain during recess.
“What’s your name?” Ms. Schneider lumbered over with an invisible cane.
“Donald, can you come with me?”
Donald was glad this peculiar woman with the loyalty of an abused dog had pulled him away from the girl, but he was completely unaware that every time someone followed the Duty, that she lead them to the principal’s office. Donald was, again, confused as to the situation that presented him. In this wonderful country of checks and balances and democracy and freedom where those who are persecuted are innocent until proven guilty, Donald was now subjected to stay after school for ‘making fun’ of that girl. He didn’t even know her, and it was in that moment he learned never to underestimate the power of a little girl.
Donald was inexplicably afraid to hold eye contact with anyone, for reasons unknown to him in his present age, which didn’t help his case as he tried to explain to this grown man with a patch of hair on his chin that he didn’t actually make any fun; and even if he did, he wondered why he would be forced to stay inside for making fun? “Isn’t the point of recess to have fun?”
The principal’s stomach growled and he wanted to finish his sandwich before he had to go class to class introducing himself in a fun and friendly manner, and so he settled on telling Donald,
“I think you might have a different idea of fun than the rest of the kids.”
Which was true, but also not a bad thing. After all, Donald was the only one pacifying insect wars on the playground. Donald was sent back to the classroom and realized that during all the explaining that was just done to him by the principal, nothing was explained. He wondered if he could be a principal some day and sit in a room and not explain things to confused kids as they were delivered to his door. He thought he could do that now, but he didn’t have enough hair on his chin. He wondered if he shouted for the Duty their roles would have been reversed and if he could have enjoyed the rest of his recess, but first Donald had to get back for arts and crafts time…
“Why do politicians never answer with a straight yes or no?”
It’s not that they want to explain their answer; they want votes. So if you answered “yes” or “no,” more people may agree with you, but more people may disagree with you. And if you’ve ever been on the playground, you probably remember the one kid who pushed you down or made fun of you once, once; and not the countless times other kids helped you out. Yes, politics is a bit like an elementary school popularity contest, and the one kid who doesn’t disagree with anyone ends up being the most liked.