Tuesday, September 2, 2008


After the fireworks on Sunday, we were all a little tired. I just wanted to get to bed. I had to be up in another few hours to fill in at the radio station. A friend of mine asked me how I do that? How I stay up late at night, then get up in the morning?

Pretty easy. There's rent to pay.

The kids in the back seat wound down. Flappy was scarcely heard. Even imaginary friends get tired, I suppose.

After the turn, leading down to our home in the slums of South Hills, my daughter suddenly asked, "What's a pariah?"

I looked back. Huh? Where'd you hear that?

"In the world," she said, meaning she wasn't going to tell me.

Concerned, I took a deep breath and told her what I knew. The word means untouchable. It relates to the caste system in India and a group of people considered the lowest of the low and unclean.

"In her terms," my wife suggested.

"It means outcast." I said. "Somebody to stay away from."

She didn't say anything. School started last week: middle school. When you read and listen to people refer to children like yours as a "mouth-breather" you maybe wonder what kind of things get told to her face.

"You're not a pariah," I said. "You're not an outcast."

She didn't say anything for a while, then asked, "What's a celebrity?"

I wasn't sure how to explain it. For a second, in my mind, the end result seemed the same.

1 comment:

The Film Geek said...

Thanks for such a personal, touching story. And my best to your daughter, and to Flappy. Hope middle school is kind to both of 'em.