Last night, a sequence of events that I am going to let you individually imagine found me using the restroom at an elementary school in northern New Jersey. During my time there, I found arguably the cutest piece of graffiti that has ever graced a bathroom stall. It said, matter-of-factly, “I love David Simon. This is by Sydney Hall.” Can we quickly acknowledge the complete lack of nonsense that was involved in the making of this graffiti? Sydney Hall loves David Simon. She wants everyone to know that, but she also wants to use the first-person singular, you know? So “I love David Simon. This is by Sydney Hall” was born.
This wall art reminded me of another no-nonsense child moment from a parish breakfast at my home church last week. A family I used to babysit for had left their two youngest kids – aged 2 and about 4 – by themselves at a table for a minute, no doubt assuming that they were safe in the familiar hands of the many other families with kids scattered around the parish hall. One of the moms nearby, however, clearly did not trust the four- and two-year-olds as much as the four- and two-year-olds trusted themselves. She kept asking the older girl, “Where are your parents? Are they out in the lobby?” These are reasonable enough questions in theory, but this was in the middle of a parish breakfast. This four-year-old had a heaping stack of pancakes sitting in front of her, and with that in mind, nosy mom, your questions are irrelevant. Each time the nosy mom asked, the kid responded with the same, simple answer: a silent, sassy point out to the foyer where her parents were. Despite having to provide this answer about five times, this girl did not for one second let herself be torn away from those pancakes. Had she been about ten years older, that point would have translated to something along the lines of, “Jesus, lady, they’re right out there, let me eat my freaking pancakes.”
These recent encounters with the no-nonsense thought processes of these youngest of our female peers got me thinking: what if we all operated with as little pretense as children do? What if any time we were asked a stupid question, we just called it out as stupid and gave the asker a Marva-style isolation cabin point to wherever our answer lay? What if, in every new instance of a crush, we just proclaimed to the world, “Hey everybody, I like” – for instance – “Joseph Gordon-Levitt. That was Sarah Cahalan, by the way, who said that. Just so we’re clear.” The world would be a much sassier place if we all did this, but if you ask me, a sassier world is a happier one. [Note: if you have ever spoken to me in your life and that last statement comes as a surprise to you, you should be aware now that you are a bad judge of character.]
In a world where everyone is straightforwardly sassy to each other, nothing is confusing. There’s no room for lies, and there’s no room for tolerating things we don’t feel like tolerating. Life is good in the no-nonsense world of Syndey Hall Bathroom Defacer and the Unaccompanied Pancake Minor. This summer, let’s join them.