lessons from young sean, part 3: telling it like it is
(Read Part 1 2) At this stage in my life, I am not an especially direct person. There was, however, a time when I had no hesitation in saying exactly what I thought, as long as it wasn't about something I myself wanted. If I had commentary or thoughts about someone else, I had no problem reporting immediately and truthfully on whatever it was that I saw or felt. This directness was on full display during a trip to the supermarket with my father, Dennis, at about age 4. As we walked through the aisles, I spotted a very corpulent man pushing a heavily-laden cart. "Look Dad!" I exclaimed. "That guy ith weally fat!" I pointed at the fat man, who tried to ignore me. Dennis, deeply embarrassed, tried to argue with me. "He's, he's not that fat, Sean", he stammered quietly. "Why don't we get some..." I cut him off. "No, Dad, look at him! He'th weally, weally fat!" My speech was still impeded at that age, but not the loudness of my voice. My young voice resonated through the store, identifying the fat man, describing his fatness, and giving nary in an inch in my debate with Dennis over said fatness. It may be difficult to get Contemporary Sean to stop talking, but shutting up Young Sean was an impossibility. I had to be physically dragged to another part of the store, while the fat man probably fled the store once I began adding a fourth "weally" to my description of his rotundity. Dennis was humiliated. I was informally banned from the grocery store for a few weeks. Upon my return, I proved I had learned nothing from the experience by loudly insisting to my mother that a portly woman in her fifties was "pwegnant."