the evils of childhood literature…

Typically, once I make up my mind, there’s no turning back. I’m stubborn. Strong-willed. Decisive. I like to think through important issues before taking a stand on them. But once I’ve decided which side of the fence to reside on, I’m not easily moved. Not to say I’ve never taken the wrong side of an issue, but I like to stick with my convictions. Usually.

That being said, I’ve never understood the need for censoring classic literature. Yes, there are words in particular books we should never again employ. At all. But to me, it doesn’t mean that we need to revise entire libraries. These books came from a different era, and they give us a glimpse of how people thought and spoke. Not all of it was correct or appropriate. But it’s a piece of history. and if we alter that to make us less uncomfortable, what else should we edit out of our books?

I guess I should say that I’ve never understood censoring… until now.

Recently, our family was out walking to some neighborhood garage sales. My son Creed found a book he thought he’d like and shelled out a quarter of his own to make the purchase. You can’t beat 25¢ for a good book! It was a proud moment, to see him not use his money to purchase junky little toys, dispensed from a fast food place…but to buy a book! When we got home later that afternoon, Creed went right to work devouring his new read. Laughter kept flowing out of him, and the smiles couldn’t have been any bigger. He told me it was funny, but I didn’t take much time right then to read it. He has other stories from this author, so I figured it was just another benign, silly kids book.

I was wrong. So wrong.

The next day, I ran to the bathroom for a quick potty break. (Sorry if this is too much info. But I am human. I have a tendency to drink water and coffee. This may come as a shocker, but even girls have to pee sometimes go to the powder room to freshen up a bit.). When I sat down (still too much info?), the toilet made a giant CRACK!!! I have to admit, my first thought was that I must have broken the toilet. Then what I saw next actually brought me to tears… tears preceded by laughter, thankfully. Hanging out from one side of the toilet, between the seat and the porcelain was a sauce packet like you’d get at a fast food restaurant. “What the heck?!”… when I looked to my right, I saw the other side had one as well…and it had exploded causing the giant noise. And mess.

There was hot sauce everywhere. Everywhere! It was all over the toilet, splattered on the vanity, on the floor from the toilet to the door (about 6 feet), on the walls… I laughed. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I was pranked by an eight-year-old. Badly. Then I snuck out, tears streaming down my face from laughter and got my husband to come see. And he laughed. After all the laughs were had, I tried to find my serious face so I could go talk to Creed.

I entered the room where he was playing and just said, “Creed?”. At first when he looked at me, I coud tell he didn’t know what I was going to ask him. And as I started to inquire if there was something he needed to fess-up to, he caught on to what had just happened. He had a huge grin, which quickly turned to a panicked expression. I expected Creed to tell me he’d learned this trick from his book of pranks he’d purchased at school a few months back. It wasn’t. It was from that 25¢ purchase the day before. I made him come assess the damages, told him he shouldn’t prank people in such a way and made him clean up the bathroom. He did so willingly, he knew he was guilty. I’ll admit, after it was all over I told him I was impressed he managed to pull such a prank. “Just don’t do it again, okay?!”

As much as I believe in freedom in press and keeping documents true to the original form, my personal beliefs were previously that this should only apply to the classics. But I’m not sure that’s correct to think anymore Some books, current books, need to be censored. I’m planning on writing the author of this evil, prank-inducing book and telling him my thoughts. His publisher will be next on the list. I’m considering boycotting all stores that sell these books, until some revisions are made. Hopefully they will completely remove all bad ideas from the pages. At the very least they could sticker the books with parental warnings!

On second thought, that sounds like a lot of work. And I’m usually a little short on time. There may only be one solution that will truly work, and I think I may be forced to proceed with it. I’m going to borrow his book, read a few chapters ahead and see if I can’t find a prank to play on him…

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