As a young and idealistic Prude, I loved People. I wanted to help People. Mankind was my favorite kind. I would sing songs like ‘What the World Needs Now, is Love, Sweet Love’, and want to just give the world a big old hug.
Yes, Love for People oozed out of every prudish pore. People with a capital ‘P’, massed together in corporate and anonymous humanity. They were easy to love. But people? Actual individuals who came in contact with The Prude? Well.
The Prude’s life story is filled with heartbreak and betrayal, most inflicted on her by small ‘p’ people. Below you will find stories of great suffering. But they need to be told.
1) The Child Prude learned it was wrong (and unsanitary) to stick out one’s tongue. One day, during a rousing game of Tag, The Prude’s older cousin, to avoid a ‘Tag! You’re It!’ jumped in a station wagon and locked the door. The Prude, already aghast at this clear violation of Tag Rules, approached hyperventilation when the cousin appeared to STICK OUT HER TONGUE! An unwritten Law of Cousins states that if an older cousin does something naughty a younger cousin can:
b) commit the same offense (because 2 wrongs do, of course, make a right)
The Prude, with heady abandon, chose (b). At which point the cousin leapt from her car shouting, “I wasn’t really sticking out my tongue! I was just pulling down my lip!”
And then the cousin proceeded to option (a).
-This taught The Prude that small p people are unjust. And smart.
2) Another Rule drilled into The Prude’s head was Respect for Elders. This meant all adults were Mr., Miss, Mrs., or, if the adults were particularly close to the family, they were addressed by the courtesy title of Uncle or Aunt. The Prude Family had a neighbor named Ed. A ‘Call me Ed’ kind of guy. All the neighborhood children called him Ed. With one exception. Yes, to The Prude he was Uncle Ed.
One day, the small Prude came around the corner of the house and met Uncle Ed, trimming his lawn. The Prude looked to the left. She looked to the right. No one was in sight! It was meant to be. She took a deep and daring breath and uttered the forbidden words, “Hi Ed.” At that very moment, THAT VERY MOMENT! The Prude’s big sister came around the corner. She folded her arms, looked down at The Prude and asked dramatically, “WHAT did you just call him?”
-This taught The Prude that small p people would always ALWAYS catch her in the act.
3) The first grade Prude tried, in a gentle and loving manner, to show a friend how to color in the lines. The friend burst into tears and told the teacher. The Prude remained indoors for recess with her head on her desk while she reflected on the lesson learned:
-small p people are ungrateful
4) The eighth grade Prude, in her first foray into law-breaking, (except that piece of Double Bubble she snatched from an Iowa grocery store, which made her throw up, which made her confess to her mother, who made her go back and pay the grocer with her birthday money and beg forgiveness)
Let’s start that sentence again.
The Prude, in her SECOND foray into law-breaking, went toilet-papering with her friends. The Prude and her friends were super-cool cheerleaders at the time, and TP-ing was required for super-cool cheerleaders. Cheerleaders from an opposing team squad got word of our adventure, and, obviously miffed that we were much cooler, threatened to call their fathers, all of whom, coincidently, were chiefs of police.
The Prude’s fellow cheerleaders scoffed and continued with their Scott’s tissue paper crime spree. But not The Prude! She followed behind, removing the Scott’s from bushes, trees and fences, sure that at any moment 7 police chiefs would arrive and place her under arrest.
-This taught The Prude that small p people not only aren’t honest (you won’t believe this, but it turns out that none of those cheerleaders had police chiefs for fathers) but they also leave messes for Prudes to clean up.
There are more stories. I will spend the weekend jotting them down and weeping for my tender sensibilities which were trampled in the mud by small ‘p’ people. Come back next week, because The Prude plans to share with you how she came to be less fond of People as she aged, and much more appreciative of people.
Have a lovely weekend, people!