Gullibility

Kids are a curiosity worthy of a circus sideshow. I hasten to add: I am not advocating children be placed in circuses. Besides, they probably already have their eye on that career goal and don’t need adult assistance. Unless that, too, has become too old-fashioned for current consideration.

One of kids’ endearing qualities is their gullibility. Innocent and naïve, they happily follow the directions of their mothers and fathers, occasionally their sibs. This feature, of course, is one they quickly grow out of. Moving, with sophistication, straight to orneriness and crankiness, like the rest of the adult population.

Equally, they are eager to please. It is only through a very complicated socialization process that children learn how awful school really is; typically, this form of learning occurs on the playground. That and experience with one or two bad teachers. Plus, the kid who keeps sticking their pigtails in the inkwells.

But adults today seem equally gullible. Consider this example.

I had a piece of furniture moved from my house to an art gallery where it would be for sale, on consignment.

The gallery owner picked up the piece and we loaded it in his vehicle. He transported it to his gallery and installed it.

After a (long) while, the gallery owner wanted to return the piece as it had not sold and there didn’t seem much interest in it.

The reverse process to the one just described was required: load it into his (same) vehicle and deliver it to my house.

Surprise! The gallery owner reported, with a perfectly straight face, the furniture was too large to fit in his vehicle. The exact same vehicle that had earlier transported the identical piece of furniture.

“Hard to believe,” he told me. Indeed.

As a teacher, I’ve heard all kinds of excuses. “The dog ate my paper.” Of course. It could happen, students volunteer. Because not only is anything plausible, it is also possible and probable. Or this one: “My typewriter broke.” Kinda dates the story, eh? I responded to that excuse with: “I’ll be right over.”

Students arrive in this world pre-programmed with a list of excuses of infinite length. It’s in their DNA. Or something.

Turn on the (broadcast) radio to hear these promises: You don’t have to pay your credit card debt. Or income taxes. So the advertisements tell us. Why not throw in the tab you’ve run up at the neighborhood saloon?

And that is that.

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