Things I, Your Helicopter Parent, Will Not Let You Do Because They Could Be Harmful to You and Make Me Look Bad
This is your mother speaking. Since my job is to protect you from life’s vagaries and always appear to be a competent parent, do NOT do ANY of the following under ANY circumstances:
. . . jump in a mud puddle or play in the mud, even though it’s purported to contain microbes, bacteria, and viruses that allegedly keep your immune system strong. I’m not taking any chances. If I let you play in mud, next thing I know, you’ll be swimming in public pools and drinking from toilet bowls. (Not on my watch, kiddo.)
. . . crawl, play, or sit on the floor, even if our housekeeper swears she’s just cleaned. Just because she says the floor’s “so clean you can eat off it,” doesn’t mean you should. (Do you want to give me a heart attack?)
. . . catch fireflies, crickets, June bugs, ants, ladybugs, or grasshoppers. Bugs are disgusting and nobody should play with them; I don’t care what your science teacher says. (Are you trying to kill me?)
. . . talk to anybody on the street, sidewalk, from a car, or through your bedroom window — especially if they’re already talking to themselves. (Trust me, this can only end badly.)
. . . kiss the family dog. You don’t know where his tongue’s been. Also, no kisses from the family goldfish, the family iguana, or the family hermit crab, either. Their potential to spread deadly diseases trumps any educational value or teachable moments they offer. (And, I’m not so sure you should be kissing the family, either.)
. . . touch anything, even while wearing gloves (which you should wear at all times, actually). There’s nothing wrong with looking but everything wrong with touching. Trees, flowers, and varmints are dirty and germ-ridden. I don’t want you catching rabies from a psychotic caterpillar or hepatitis from butterflies. And, don’t get me started on birds — those things are walking lab experiments.
. . . smell anything outside. Smelling is way overrated. There are viruses and bacteria and allergies and who knows what else you could inhale. Better to just not breathe while you’re outside. On second thought, don’t go outside!
. . . eat dirt — unless it’s on the menu at a trendy restaurant and you’re eating with me and I’ve thoroughly quizzed the server on where the dirt was sourced. (And even then, those people just want a hefty tip, so don’t.)
. . . eat non-hydroponically-grown plants. I’ve gone to a lot of expense and trouble to grow this crap for you. The water’s added humidity to the air and mold is taking over the basement, but damn it, those plants are good for you! And, you are going to eat them, three meals a day if I have my way!
. . .run around with dirty hands. DO NOT leave the apartment with dirty hands for ANY reason. I don’t care if there IS a fire! Stop and wash your hands for a full two Happy Birthdays before you vacate the premises. And, for God’s sake, don’t touch the doorknob on the way out — it’s full of germs!
Debbie L. Miller is a humor/satire/comedy writer in Brooklyn, New York, where she parents by proxy. www.DebbieLMillerComedy.com, DebbieLMillerWriter@gmail.com