Insidious, or: How Nutella(TM) Roont My Children
For some reason, The Captain thought it would be a Good Idea to take the *entire jar* of Nutella to school today, and then he thought it would be an *even better* idea to lie about it.
Bloody ridiculous amounts of sugar does strange things to people.
“Where is the Nutella(TM)?” I asked, in preparing The Nipper’s breakfast. I should like to point out that this is the first time in probably fifteen years I have purchased Nutella(TM). While it tastes really good, I’m quite alarmed at how much sugar and salt there are in it, and prefer natural peanut butter (although His Nibs prefers peanut butter that tastes like an icing-sugar coated salt lick). I don’t think I’ve ever given it to the kids before, but The Captain asked if we could buy a jar of it one time. “One Time,” I said, “but probably just once.” He asked, wasn’t it healthier than peanut butter? I said, “don’t believe everything you see on TeeVee”. So anyway, we purchased One Jar of Nutella(TM), and it appears to have driven my children quite mad.
“It’s all gone,” The Captain said.
“Really?” I asked, knowing there had been half a jar yesterday. “Where’s the container?” Usually, because housekeeping is not the #1 thing on my list of things to do when not sleeping, empty food containers live in the sink for a day or so until we rinse them and recycle them. Not so with the Case of the Disappearing Foodstuff.
“I threw it in the garbage,” he said. “It was empty.”
Now, this is weird. We have been recycling since long before The Captain was born. In a four-person-and-one-cat household, we have less than a full bag of trash every week because we compost, recycle, and we reuse stuff. So the kids have grown up with recycling stations and compost bins. They give people Weird Looks when they ask “where is your recycling” and people say, “we don’t recycle”. They will hold on to their bottles and jars and paper until they find a recycling station if we’re Out and About. So to hear The Captain say he’d thrown the plastic Nutella jar in the trash was Very Strange Indeed. Something was About.
“Really.” I said. It wasn’t a question. “I’d like you to get the jar out of the trash so that I can wash and recycle it please.”
The Captain knew the Ruse was Up. He slouched and said, “okay. It’s in my backpack.”
“What the hell is it doing in your backpack?” I asked.
“I was going to take it to school,” he said.
“What the hell for?”
“I dunno,” he said and started slouching away. I could see the teenager in him struggling to emerge.
“Er. Sorry, you don’t get off that easily. You need to tell me what you were going to do with a half a jar of Nutella(TM) at school.” Because to me, this is Weird. What the hell are a bunch of eleven year olds going to do with a half a jar of Nutella(TM)?
He shrugged again, and rubbed his hand over his face. “I DON’T KNOW, okay?”
“So, you were going to sit out in the field at recess with a bunch of spoons and have a Nutella(TM) party with your friends? Is that it?”
His face turned white.
“First of all, I don’t buy food so that you can feed the entire neighbourhood. Second, that’s incredibly short-sighted of you because if your school got wind of the fact that you were bringing a NUT PRODUCT! to SHARE! with OTHER CHILDREN! they would probably put you in irons. Third, Gross. Fourth, the kid who constantly buys stuff for other kids or who brings all kinds of treats from home to share with his six closest friends is the kid that other kids only hang out with because they can use him, ESPECIALLY in grades five through eight, and I don’t want you to be that kid. Fifth, give me the bloody Nutella (TM).”
“Okay,” he said, turning away again.
“Oh hey, wait, I didn’t say I was finished. It’s most decidedly NOT okay. It’s a staggering display of poor judgement, but more importantly, you just lied to me.”
His face blanched some more.
“The fact that you wanted to share something is very kind and noble and well-intentioned, and I realise that there are Forces At Work with you right now that are kind of beginning to prevent your thinking…well…really anything logical at all, I suppose, but still. What is the Grand High Rule of This Family? The one thing we hold self-evident above all other things?”
“*mutter mumble mumble*”, he said, staring at something on the floor that wasn’t there.
“Come again?” I asked. “Didn’t quite hear that.”
“Don’t lie,” he said with a heavy sigh.
“If you’d have just taken half a jar of Nutella (TM) to have a weird sandwich spread party with your friends, and had been truthful about it, I’d have simply explained why it was a Bad Idea, I’d have put the Nutella (TM) back on the shelf, and that would be that. But….” I let my voice trail off.
“I lied,” he said, looking quite young.
“You lied, and that is not acceptible. If I cannot trust your word, son, in our own family, what can I trust? We are a family, and families are bound by love and by blood, and by honour. If you are to be the standard-bearer or the knight of this family, we must be honest with each other. I love you, and do not always love the decisions you make or the things you do. I always love you, though. But lying is not acceptible.”
“I’m sorry,” he said, and he really did look sorry. Incidentally, he and his brother have been reading these adventure books about knights and nobles and such lately, and I’ve been reading Ken Follett and George Martin, so that’s where the stuff about bound by blood and honour and standard-bearing came from.
“Thank you,” I replied. “You’ll not be punished for taking a half-jar of Nutella (TM) to school. But you will be grounded for lying.”
But I can’t get over the thought of a slobber of eleven-year-old boys gathered around a single half-jar of Nutella (TM), with spoons in their hands and a glimmer in their eyes, out in the middle of the field at recess. I mean, it’s this innocent version of all of them smoking a single cigarette out behind the equipment shed, isn’t it?