S. is one of my more entertaining students this year. She has a unique take on the world, and sometimes she chooses to share it with all of us. Somewhere in the fall, she and J., another member of the aptly named Cohort B (we call ourselves the FIvE HIvE, so, you know, B, like the insect). Anyhow, S. and J. of Cohort B on a random Friday afternoon, decided that Friday closings needed to include what they dubbed, “Friday Thoughts.”
These thoughts were something like an open mic experience while we waited for the buses and pick-ups. S. and J. would approach a classmate and thrust a fake microphone in their face, requesting (sometimes demanding) a Friday Thought. I don’t remember all of the best Friday Thoughts, because I was not in the middle of a Slice of Life Challenge in the fall and was therefore not paying much attention to the world. I do remember that one of them was a question about the unfairness of the treatment of oranges. S. wondered why all other fruits were given an original name, while the orange simply got called by its color. Imagine if lemons were just called yellows! Really?! Who would ever ask for Yellowade? We pondered that one all weekend.
I should probably explain that S. has a bit of an emo edge to her. She has a habit of looking on the dark side of things. She is a talented artist (the creator of the Cowch image featured in an earlier slice), whose first question whenever I suggest any artistic task is always, “Do we have to make it colorful?” Her favorite color is black.
This year wasn’t depressing enough for her, though, so she decided early on that she would work her way through all 13 volumes of the uplifting Series of Unfortunate Events books. And when I say “uplifting,” reader, I mean, of course it’s the kind of literature that gives you that same sensation the young camper experiences when he receives his first uplifting wedgie at the hands of the camp bully. S. has enjoyed reading about the tragic lives of Sunny, Klaus, and Violet, as well as the delightful villainy of Count Olaf. She revels in the sarcastic wit of Lemony Snicket. It’s really the perfect pandemic read.
So, it shouldn’t have surprised me that as the past week drew to a close, S. shared this particular “Friday Thought,” which I feel obliged to share with you today. I can’t tell if she was smiling behind her mask or frowning as she delivered this news. “I had this thought today,” she said, looking me in the eye, “that when you turn 70 (I believe she imagines me close to this age), you will have experienced TEN YEARS of Mondays.” I paused to consider. Wow. Mind blown.
This must have struck her as the devilishly perfect Friday Thought, designed to stick with you, haunting your private moments throughout the weekend. I had to admit it was impressive. First of all, the math. A brilliant combining of her mental math and our mental breakdown. Then, the precocious dreariness of that revelation. So advanced for a fifth grader. Furthermore, I found that once this demon seed packet of a thought had been ripped open, I could not help but spread it all over the world, a sort of Johnny Rotten Appleseed.
Among the people I spread this news to was my family. My wife was impressed with the awareness that it showed. My daughter, however, had a different reaction. One of her self-proclaimed talents is the ability to overthink. It’s really a gift. So, for an entire walk with Farley, she offered qualifiers to the assertion. “First of all,” she countered, “for your first five years, you have no awareness of Mondays or their significance. If you don’t dislike them, then it’s not really like you are having a Monday experience.” I saw the logic in her philosophical stance: If a Monday happens, but you don’t dread it or despise it, was it really a Monday?
My wife concurred. “That’s true. Plus, I think at least through kindergarten, most kids really look forward to Monday.”
“So, we can subtract five years of Mondays, agreed?” But Sarah wasn’t finished. She was going to blow this “Friday Thought” right out of the water. “On top of that, there’s the fact that for, what, 16 years of your life you’re in school, and you have summer vacations. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of Monday Stress or Sunday Scaries during a vacation.” Again, we had to agree.
The debunking continued throughout the walk. I promised, reluctantly, to report back to S. that some of us were now disputing her contention. I thought perhaps it was the abundance of sunshine and warm breezes that was making it so hard for Sarah to accept this dismal thought. “Just try to see it her way, the darker way, and the mathematical way. There is some validity.” But Sarah, poisoned with positivity remained unconvinced.
So, now it’s your turn, reader. Feel free to darken the lives of your friends and family by continuing this conversation with those around you today. It is, after all, Monday, one of at least 1200 you’ve endured already.
I’ll see myself out.