A Short Story

“Janie, you’re a big girl now, so sit down on your behind at the table, please.”

“Okay, Daddy … but why?”

“Because it’s the polite thing to do.”

“How come?”

“It just is.”

“Mm, thanks for making toast and hot cocoa for breakfast while Mommy visits Aunt Elle. It’s the—SLURRRRRP!—best”

“Don’t slurp when you drink, Janie.”

“Uh-huh, Daddy, but why?”

“It’s not nice.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s not.”

“There, I sipped that time, Daddy. It is SOOO yummy and—BuuUURRrrrp!”

“That’s disgusting! You know you’re not supposed to burp, Janie. I’ve heard Mommy tell you like fifty times before.”

“Yeah, but how come it’s disgusting?”

“Because no one likes to hear it.”

“I wonder why?”

“They just don’t. And you know you need to say ‘Excuse me’ too.”

“Oh yeah. How come?”

“It’s good manners.”


“Because it is.”

“Daddy, can I put some more butter on my toast … pleeease?”

“Yeah, but just a little, okay? And make sure you hold the—Janie, elbows off the table. I know Mommy’s told you that before too.”

“Okay okay, but why?”

“Because it’s not appropriate.”

“How come?”

“It just isn’t.”

“All done, Daddy. Can I go finish gettin’ ready for school now?”

“Yeah, if you had enough, go ahead and—Janie, don’t wipe your mouth on your arm.”

“Uh-huh, okay, but why?”

“It’s gross.”

“How come? ’Cuz it just is?”


“Oh, wait! Ha-ha. I actually, uh, need to go to the bathroom now, Daddy. Hee-hee!”

“Why all the giggles, Janie?”

“Sorry, I was just going to say—hee-hee—I think I need to take a shit!”

“JANIE! You know you don’t talk like that!”

“Yeah yeah, I know, but why?”

“It’s not proper.”

“How come?”

“Because it is. Now go get your shoes on. Bus’ll be here soon.”

“Okay, Daddy.”

“And I can make you toast and cocoa tomorrow morning too if you want, and we can do this again.”

“Really? Oh boy! Okay, Daddy, thanks!”