“Do you like to feel important and busy?”
I can rely on the daughter to ask me scorching questions like this, at the most unexpected of times. I hemmed and hawed, for truth be told, I have a paragraph answer to this question. I told her that I did like to feel a bit important and be busy doing the right things. Before we could go down the path of what classifies as the right things, I send the question back to her in the same tone she asked me: mildly curious to see what the answer will be. I mentally prepared for either a serious conversation or a perfectly goofball-ish one.
“What about you? Do you like to feel important?”
She laughs with a sound that reminds me of a train on a bridge. “Everyone likes to feel important and busy amma. Do you know how kids like to brag about how busy they are?”
“No..how do they do that?”
“Some kids brag about their homework. We honestly don’t have much, but everybody likes to say ‘Oh! we have 6 pages, we have 9 pages.’ Some of them even take empty sheets from the printer, so their stack looks bigger than the rest amma! Like it matters.”
Wow…I had no idea that training starts this early. She is, after all, still in Elementary School. From there to walking around with print-outs looking important in company hallways does not seem that big a step. I am now agog to know more. “What about you? Do you brag?” I ask her.
“Sometimes, but not much. I do a little bit of homework bragging. Everybody is a bragger in some way or the other, you know?”
Well, I knew some people are better at bragging than others, and also that tools such as Facebook are always there to give the reticent a little nudge. I hmm-ed meditatively.
She continued, “There are Homework braggers, Dress braggers, Thinnest braggers, Fattest braggers (mostly boys by the way), Can-break-pencils braggers, Im-the-Smartest braggers and I-am-the-fastest braggers (also, mostly boys). One boy in my class: he is a can-break-pencils bragger. He bragged that he can break pencils on his nose. So, we asked him to do it, and he said he needs to go to the bathroom. He goes there, breaks it, probably on his leg, and comes and says he broke it on his nose. But his nose wasn’t even broken! ”
I am sure there are more bragging classifications as we mature. The Busy Bragger, Award Bragger, Most Liked Bragger and so on. What brag types can you think of? The Art of cooking up more bragging categories? I am sure this will be an interesting exercise.