Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Play nice.

I wanna play nice.  I really do.  But, who among us, when there’s a brat on the playground, doesn’t want to pack up their toys and just go home.  In fact, I get so frustrated by Bratty McBratness that I’d kind of like to kick that ultracool Barbie Motorhome across the playground on my way out.  But, I won’t.  Forgive me, my snark is showing.  I’m not proud of my bad attitude, just honest and I’ve found that brutal honesty won’t win a girl any beauty contests.


Generally speaking, I am a “play-nice” kind of person and most of my peers are, too.  Not because of any special wiring or exceptional relationship skills, but when people come to the table with a set of principles (that can include, but is not limited to being civil, gracious, logical and reasonable), it more or less seems that we all can play nicely.  Most of us have to be pushed pretty hard by the brats of the world before the game pieces go flying.  You know, even in war there are laws and a code of ethics.  And it doesn’t take much to turn dodgeball from a friendly game that encourages balance, eye-hand coordination and reflex skills to attempted assault & battery. has a couple of lovely articles about “How Not to Raise a Brat” written by Child Psychologist, Kenneth N. Condrell, PhD.  I’ll tell you, that Dr. Ken has a pretty wicked sense of humor as he leads parents through the steps to take if you WANT to raise a “demanding, selfish, rude, self-centered rascal who couldn’t care less about the rules and the feelings of others.”  He gives you some mighty tasty advice to sink your teeth into if you’ve got wee ones or one on the way.


But it got me to thinking… what about those registered voters and lottery ticket buying brats out there, the ones whose horse is already out of the barn?  What hope is there for the rest of us subjected to grown-up brats and their naughty behavior?  Since there’s no big Time Out Chair with their name on it (and feel free to now visualize the people you’d like to see sitting there with their feet dangling high off the ground) we, the people have to have some tools in our utility belt (not exactly like Batman’s but you can pretend, if it helps) that will help when dealing with the (im)mature brat:


  • Ignore inappropriate comments and behavior.  Brats like attention.  A lot.  Don’t give it to them, especially when they behave badly, say or write terrible things.
  • Set clear boundaries and stick to them.  Do not be wimpy!
  • Don’t be afraid to say, “No!” and mean it.  No, really.  Own your no.


So, again – I wanna play nice.  I really do, Bratty McBratness.  Maybe you could take a few steps in the right direction, too, to keep the party polite.  My gentle peers and I will resist the urge to shove a few of the twelve Monopoly game pieces down your gullet (my personal choices would be the Top Hat, Wheelbarrow and Iron – but that’s just me) if you could possibly tone down your brattitude, keeping your ill-mannered behavior to a minimum.  From all indications, your momma apparently didn’t guide you very well in this arena and for the benefit of all mankind I’m going to give you some pointers on what to work on from here on out:


  • Leave your braggadocio in your leather lunchbag.  If you’ve got it goin’ on, you don’t need to continually draw breath and blow hard about it.  We’ll see it for ourselves (providing no hot air is fogging up our lenses, thank you very much).


  • Put your gold doubloons back in the vault.  No matter how hard you might have worked for it, where you found it or what golden ticket you were issued – all of the other kids on the playground might not have shiny objects of their own to sit around and compare with you.  In fact, some are on the reduced lunch plan and having you swing your fat stash of coins about in that slick, iconic handbag of yours is just irritating.  Cut it out.


  • Don’t act so bloody entitled.  Even if you did receive an engraved proclamation from the Queen stating in gold leaf that It Is So.  Shut your piehole.  Okay?  Apparently she likes you better than us, and maybe you do deserve to stand a littler taller than everybody else.  Hooty-hoo and yay for you!  But, honestly?  Not another soul in the schoolyard needs to know.  At least, not from your lips, babydoll.


  • Everybody else is not mean and unfair when they disagree with you.  They just have a differing opinion and it isn’t going to hurt you one iota if they don’t see eye to eye with you (unless you’re at loggerheads over munitions and military tactics).  Let it go, little bird.


NFL Coach Vince Lombardi said that “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”  What he did not say, but was probably thinking (because he was brilliant) was that we also need to play nice in order to achieve our goals.  I’m all for that.  Keeping in mind, that if you aim that red rubber ball for my head again… I’m leaving the playground. [What?  You were hoping for justifiable violence?  Nah.  I’m using going to try and use my superpowers for good, not evil and play nice.  Even if it makes me snarky.]


To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an non-teachable brat, well birched and none the wise.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

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