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Children are born to be lawyers

The Girl held the Matchbox car like it was the memory of her first prom.
She’s almost two, so that wasn’t it, but she sure wasn’t letting go.
“We don’t have toys on the dinner table,” I told her in my calm I’m In Control But Still A Nice Guy voice and held out my hand for the car, palm first. I learned this trick from watching nature shows. If some guy in khaki shorts can talk an elephant bent upon trampling a village into attending anger management classes instead, it should work for kids.
“No,” she said and did with the car what I assume anyone would logically do when facing a similar situation. She put it on top of her head.
“May I have your car?” I asked, expecting the answer ‘no.’
“No,” she barked.
“I don’t have toys on the table,” the Boy said through a mouthful of cheese, taco meat and bits of tortilla chips. Well, mostly tortilla chips. He paused to stuff more into his mouth with his left hand.
“That’s good, son,” I told him. “You …”
“It’s right here,” he interrupted, pulling up his right hand, a plastic sword missing my ear like this was a circus act. Taco salad shrapnel danced across the table and the Girl giggled, the Matchbox car still on her head.
The Boy was right. Technically the toy sword wasn’t on the table, but holding it at the table violated the spirit of Family Law.
The spirit, not the letter. He’s two years older than his sister and in preschool, so he was savvy enough to find a legal loophole.
There are 555,770 lawyers in this country, according to National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, while numbers for truly useful occupations like bartenders (498,090), mail carriers (348,070), heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers (262,570), butchers (128,510), barbers (12,110) and fashion models (2,060), trail off like so much bad conversation.
Why is this?
Because all children are born to be lawyers. Most of us grow out of it by junior high school and eventually become comfortable with the fact that we’ll never have a really big house. The other 555,770 don’t.
But contrary to what appears to be reality, children hear everything we say and store it in their (insert paper towel slogan here)-like brains only to use it against us later in the Court of Mom and Dad.
Yes, he was right, the toy was not on the table and, I guess, since my daughter was smiling at me with a Dodge Viper peeking from between her pigtails, she didn’t have a toy on the table either.
That didn’t keep her from screaming when I plucked it off, stuck it in my pocket and ate taco salad with a clear conscience.
They’re good. I wonder if they’ll represent me when I finally get around to suing McDonald’s for making me afraid of clowns?

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State’s Most Spirited Spots,” is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or tsup.truman.edu. Visit Jason’s Web site, www.jasonoffutt.com, for his other books.

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