Judo

On a good day I read to one child.  The neighborhood doesn’t have that many kids on account of being in downtown, but a couple do come in on Saturdays.  Most kids go to the library not to read, but to– play computer games.  So I try to walk up to kids, tell them that if they want, I can read a book to them or they can read a book to me, if they want.  They just look at me and every once in a while, will turn their head around and peek a glance at me, and smile, a wholehearted innocent meaningful smile that gets corrupted and lost with age.

One boy, a six-year old Judo expert, asked me to read a book about the earth.  He would ask, very often, questions like, “What is that part of the rocket?”  “Where is Antartica?”  “Do Jaguars eat other Jaguars?”

Then, two twin girls came:  four years old with black hair, long enough to sit on.  I let the three sit together, and we looked for Waldo.

“I found him!”  they yelled.  The boy, very frustrated and being a bit bossy while still being as polite as he could, said, “Can you guys move your arms up?  I know I can find him.”

Girls aren’t paying attention.  Arms splattered on the book and giggles.

Then he says, after terse silence: “My dad told me not to do Judo on nice people.”

“No, dear, let’s not do that,” I said.

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