News Overflow: Japan-based freelance writer clogs the news drain

I live in Osaka, Japan and write about food and agriculture, stocks, travel and whatever strikes my fickle fancy. This is a grab-bag of on-site photos and observations, along with my very expert opinion. Frankly, this is where I put what my editors don't use. When I clog the news drain, this is where the mess lands.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Three Stories about Ill-mannered Children

Here are three tales about three children—three children with bad manners—two who suffered the consequences of their actions and changed their ways, and a third who, through sheer luck, gained from his badness and never changed his ways.

Natalie Schmeerer – a facemaker

The first was a pretty little face-making girl. Her name was Natalie Schmeerer, and most of the time she was a sweet girl with a sweet face. But around her brother she turned very nasty.

If her brother had a piece of candy, Natalie thought she should have two. If her brother drew a wonderful picture, Natalie would cross it out with black ink. And if her brother stuck out his tongue, Natalie would try to make the nastiest face in the world.

She would pull down the skin around her eyes so that her eyeballs looked huge and round. She would flip her ears forward and stretch out her cheeks, and put her tongue out farther than a tongue is supposed to go.

Her mother, who was a reasonable woman with good manners, told Natalie, “You’d better be careful, or your face will get stuck like that,” but Natalie never paid attention when her mother said that.

Of course, we all know that minding your mother is the first and most important rule of good manners, so Natalie shouldn’t have been surprised when the very next time she made a face, she stretched her skin so far that it wouldn’t go back. Her face was stuck in the nastiest, ugliest pose that any face-maker has ever made!

Well, that’s what happens to nasty little face-making girls, so there’s no sense in feeling sorry for her. But, I will say, Natalie became a much nicer girl after that, especially around her brother, because after her face turned so horrible, all of her friends told her she was ugly and wouldn’t play with her, but her brother said, “I’m used to it because she was always making that face at me anyway.” So, he didn’t care, and he invited her to eat candy and draw pictures together. Natalie started to like her brother and became a very nice girl.

With expensive cosmetic surgery, she was able to get most of her pretty looks back, except that her left ear stuck out more than her right, and her tongue would sometimes hang down around her chin.

She made new friends, and when she grew up, she married a very good man who appreciated how nice she was, despite her slightly odd-looking face.

A Rooster (White Leghorn) and his victim, Samuel, a tongue sticker-outer

The next story in this trilogy of rotten kids is about Samuel—an irrepressible tongue sticker-outer. Unlike Natalie, Samuel did not get his face stuck, but something almost as bad happened to him, and like Natalie, it came from not listening to the good advice of his mother.

Samuel did not have a brother. He liked to stick his tongue out at everyone—people in passing cars, strangers, his parent’s friends… Why, sometimes he even went to the mirror and stuck out his tongue at himself! What a rotten tongue sticker-outer he was!

And when his mother warned him, “Samuel, you rotten child, if you don’t stop it, a rooster will land on your tongue!” he pooh-poohed her good advice and stuck his tongue out at his mother. Well, in fact, a rooster did not land on his tongue at that moment, but he did get a spanking with a wooden spoon, and was sent to his room for two hours.

The next day, however, as he was walking to school, he was sticking his tongue out at nobody, just for practice, when a rooster (that had been standing beside the road waiting to cross—which is what chicken’s do in their spare time) flew into the air and landed right on Samuel’s tongue! It perched there for one whole day, grasping tightly with its scaly toes, which made Samuel very uncomfortable. At school everyone laughed at Samuel, and the rooster left unsightly rooster droppings on Samuel’s shirt and desk. Samuel was afraid the rooster would lay eggs on his tongue too—but that didn’t happen, because rooster are boy chickens and only hens lay eggs.

The rooster finally got tired of sitting on Samuel’s tongue and flew away, which was a great relief to Samuel. That rotten tongue sticker-outer stopped sticking out his tongue and didn’t have any more trouble with his face, except for one incident a couple of years later when he stuck a rock up his nose and his mother had to take him to the doctor to remove it. Well, “live and learn” they say.
As does the child, does the man

Speaking of noses, our next story is about a boy, whom we will just call “Nose-picker boy” because he is now a famous full-grown man, and I wouldn’t want to embarrass him by telling his real name. Nose-picker boy always had his finger up his nose, worming around for boogers. He picked and probed so aggressively that one day his father asked him, “Digging for gold, eh, Nose-picker Boy?”

“That’s right!” Nose-picker Boy joked back, but then he got the idea that there might really be gold up his nose, and he picked all the harder! Sure enough, on the following Friday, he dug out a beautiful large nugget, worth over seventeen-thousand dollars.

“Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” his father said when Nose-picker Boy showed him the nugget of nose gold. They took it to a bullion dealer and sold it for $17,412.

Then, they invested the money in shares of undervalued small-cap companies. By the time this ardent nose-picker was 18, he was a millionaire, and today, through good connections in government, he has become a billionaire.

But, although he has more money than anyone needs, he continues to pick his nose. He never learned his lesson, and everyone he knows thinks he is a gross pig with no manners. He married a woman who only wants his money and who can’t stand to be around him—because of his terrible unsanitary habits. He has few friends.

In the end, through his stroke of luck and some good investment advice from his father this Nose-picker Boy has become a lonely, albeit rich, Nose-picker Man.

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