Monday, March 26, 2007

Look in the Mirror -- jcarolek

Today I had the opportunity to drive along I-10 from Biloxi, MS, where I am staying this week, to Pascagoula, MS, where I am working this week. The drive was an easy one and gave me a bit of time to think about “stuff.”

When I was a little girl, I had a doll house. Actually, my sister and I “shared” the doll house, and honestly, I never recall playing with it. But there it sat on the dresser, the front facing the door of our bedroom.

One afternoon, during “nap time” (a time when we were all supposed to rest our minds and bodies, but which we kids often used to play quietly so as not to disturb our parents) my sister and I were coloring in our coloring books as we sat in the double bed we shared.

I don’t recall what started the argument, and, I am certain I was just as likely the instigator as she, but I do recall the end result was that she “SCRIBBLED” in my coloring book! Now, I was really mad, because I took pride in my coloring and she had just violated my artwork!

About this time, I heard my parents talking, so I knew they were awake. I traipsed into their room, which was directly across the short hallway from ours. I announced that, “Jeannie ruined my picture!”

Well, being the diplomatic father that he was, Dad told me to go back and get the coloring book so that he could “judge” the situation. Happily, I raced back to my bedroom and snatched up my book of creativity. I flipped to the page which carried the scars of my sister’s evil crayon, and headed back to the RULER.

You cannot imagine how surprised and hurt I was when Dad very calmly told me that he knew I was lying about the whole incident. He told me he had watched me make that “awful mark” in my own coloring book….he watched me in the doll house mirror! Now, I knew that was not true. I remember nothing more about the incident and as I thought about it this morning, I wondered what actually happened to make him think I was lying. Did he really think I was lying? Did he think my sister would stand up for me and admit her crime, if he ruled in her favor? Did he think it would teach me that I was just as much at fault for the crime because I engaged in the “non-nap activity?”

I really do not know. I would bet my bottom dollar that nobody else even recalls this memory. But it stuck in my brain and I doubt it will ever leave. I did learn from that incident that innocent doesn’t really matter when someone has erroneously decided you are guilty, that participating in activities that are already breaking the rules puts you at a disadvantage when trying to claim harm, and that even good sisters can be sufficiently afraid of the consequences of telling the truth, that they silently "plead the 5th" when presented with the opportunity to save their sister’s reputation, but condemn themselves.

Whenever I hear the expression, “look in the mirror,” I am reminded of that incident. I suggest that looking in the mirror only works, if you are able to do so without a preconceived vision of what you will see.

No comments: