Saturday, January 21, 2017


One sunny afternoon in the Sherman Oaks huge public park on Hazeltine Avenue in the valley, way back in the early nineties, I was momming it with the kid, who was five, when a strange group of people showed up in a nearby picnic area. From a distance, watching them play volleyball, I found it very hard to tell the men from the women. All had long hair, frequently in ponytails, and all were in tight clothing that was shorn of any kind of gender cues in color or style. Bizarre, I thought. Word went round among the other moms and Spanish nannies substituting for moms that these were Clinton reelection campaign workers celebrating their victory. 

The Clinton campaign elders did not mingle with us hoi polloi, but one of the little girls came over to the children's park area where there were all kinds of park equipment to play on, including swings.

The protocol that the park kid regulars had evolved for themselves was that if the swings were full, you stood by the anchor poles and waited your turn. We were in that park almost every day and there was never any problem with this. All the kids understood how it worked, waited for a swing to be free, or changed their mind and played on some other of the park apparatus.

But, this Clinton election kid wasn't a park regular. As one of the swings became free, she raced after it, grabbed it for herself, and plopped herself onto the seat. My son who had been patiently waiting his turn by the side, came over to her and very politely explained that when people wanted a swing they waited for a turn by the side until one was free. He pointed to show her where she could go and wait her turn.

She gave him a haughty look and informed him that it was her swing and she wasn't going to let him have it and if he tried to take it away, she'd go get her mommy who would sue him. Whereupon she put her nose high in the air and prepared to swing.

You may wonder that I remember this, but who could forget a six year old child threatening to sue over a swing? I knew we were in deep trouble as a nation when I looked at those creepy lawyer types celebrating the victory of equally creepy Bill Clinton. But it was what came next that taught me to trust my son, pop culture and human nature to come through when it counts.

My five year old son looked a bit miffed. Then he gave her a dismissive look, drew himself up and said, "S'cuse me, Princess," delivering the perfect Han Solo put down, imitating his hero. Then he turned and walked away with great dignity. He's still a STAR WARS fan and God Bless him and all the boys who admired Han Solo, and God Bless STAR WARS.