She Couldn’t Pour Water Out of a Boot If The Instructions Were on the Heel


A few weeks ago, I was driving a van load of kids towards sweet treats. In addition to massaging the New York Times crossword puzzle, pushing back my cuticles, and pouring Malbec down my gullet, this is what I do. I drive the small people. Towards the ice cream.

Right around the Lake Street exit off the highway, 8-year-old Girl-o-mine advised me, “Mom, don’t close the windows right now with your magical driver’s seat electronic wizardry; I have my fingers hanging out one of them.”

Triggered thusly back into the annals of his five vast years of memory, Niblet then chimed in with a dramatic tale of near finger-loss eons ago when he was a mere boy of four, recounting a story that gisted, “One time I had my hand in the window, and then the window started going up, and then I pulled my hand out really fast, and for a minute it seemed like my hand was going to get caught, but then it didn’t.”

At this point, Brain Trust Neighbor Child, age 6 and strapped securely into the seat next to Niblet (but loosely enough to draw mind-renewing breaf into her lungs), dislodged her finger from her nostril long enough to ask, “So, did one of your hands get chopped off?”

She threw out her query while staring directly at the live, animated version of this clearly double-pawed popsicle sucker:

Up front, suddenly entertaining the idea of cranking up every gadzookian window in the van–especially if Brain Trust’s paw wandered near one–I rolled my eyes and pictured this girl’s future as a visual merchandiser at The Gap, should all expectations be exceeded.

Yea, Fluffernutter. You got it. Ever since that fateful day, we’ve had to call the lad Stumpy. He used to be a regular General Grievous, but now, since the amputation, well, he’s been relegated to a life of single-light-saber battle.

Fortunately, Niblet piped up with a kinder explanation, “No, look, Brain Trust Girl, I have all ten fingers, and they still wiggle. See me right here next to you with two hands?”

She nodded slowly, still a bit bewildered, and reinserted her finger into the neglected nostril.



By Jocelyn

There's this game put out by the American Girl company called "300 Wishes"--I really like playing it because then I get to marvel, "Wow, it's like I'm a real live American girl who has 300 wishes, and that doesn't suck, especially compared to being a dead one with none."


  1. oh brilliant brilliant brilliant You! you are SO FUNNY.. i am so glad i found you. the kids conversation mind blowingly spot on, eh? right down to the very last hole in nostril…XXX janelle

  2. i bet she could get her own finger way up that nostril with no brain to impede her progress and all.

    also, at the inquiry i’d have been tempted to weave a fantastical tale of such amputational woe and such brilliant surgical reattachment including bionic digits covered in real flesh she’d forever be awestruck at the powers of wee niblet.

  3. I wince at this, having seen the results of jammed fingers too many times (car doors, sliding glass doors,car windows),inflicted by myself, friends and relatives.Now that I am child-free (of my own and everybody else’s), Dennis the Menace cat-next-door, always appears when the garage door is automatically relentlessly descending, rolling down, marginally slower than the guillotine.Cats don’t pick their nose I know, but just be thankful the neighbours child doesn’t proudly present her bottom to your face.In what universe does a cat think that’s attractive?..and neither, Dennis is a half-splayed squashed herniated feline.Actually, on the nose-pickey thing, I’ve seen more motorists than children indulging.I feel like winding down the window and saying “Marry me”.Nose rage I think they call it.xox.

  4. i did once roll up the window trapping my eldest child’s chubby arm. luckily he is too young to remember it.

    bad mommy.

  5. you know… what if the boot didn’t have water in it in the first place? hmm?

    that’s right, you the frog, jump.

  6. The scene:
    Me in driver’s seat.
    Stuck driver side window.
    Left hand on “up” button.
    Right hand pulling up stuck window.
    Knee steering wheel.
    Window releases FAST.
    Right hand gets stuck in window.
    Left hand still on “up” button.
    Left hand, left brain, dead.
    Here comes stop sign.
    Knee no longer has control.
    Stop sign getting closer.
    Left brain, left hand, still dead.
    Enter front bumper into stop sign.

    Why the hell didn’t I just use my left hand to push the “down button” thus setting my right hand free? I ask myself that question quite often. I guess it makes for a better story this way.

  7. That’s how I end all my conversations, too, mostly because people aren’t as impressed with my finding of gold as you’d think.

  8. Hey, haven’t you ever heard of bionic hand-reattachment surgery? That girl was just clearly up to date on her medical-super-hero literature

  9. Ah, Jocelyn. I nearly lost my coffee, heavy on the cream, no sugar, through my nose which it should be noted was not impeded by any fingers, mine or anyone else’s.

    Maybe Brain Trust Girl believes that body parts regenerate. I’m sure that if anyone could pull off such a maneuver, it would be Wee Niblet, but how nice that he doesn’t have to.

    My mother once slammed my daughter’s tiny paw in the car door and as we were leaving the hospital hours later, she managed to do the same thing to my son. Kids are survivors. (They have to be.)

  10. Ha ha ha! You’d have to call him Wee Nublet!

    And poor little girl. But at least she has sorority life to look forward to.

  11. Hey, you know if they can re-attach those tractor-torn limbs and have them grip the ice cream cone, surely they could have re-attached Niblet’s after a fairly clean separation via window.

    Just always remember to save the parts in a plastic baggie.

    Thus I put to use my learnin’.

  12. kind of like, at the end of a an exciting life or death lesson/story about why we listen to mommy, my little one says “DID YOU DIE?”

  13. Sounds like she has what we now call ‘learning difficulties’ but used to describe as ‘being thick’. Sigh.


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