From movies, television shows, the news, real life, or any sort of media, we’ve all seen or experienced some sort of verbal confrontation. Both participating parties are indignant and enraged, clenching their fists to their sides in efforts to keep them out of each others’ faces. Their faces are flushed. Their voices are hoarse from shouting. Their eyes bloodshot and reddened from the stress. And in spite of the power and dominance that a physical show of expression could earn one of them, he knows that he could risk the bitter and invalidating taste of defeat.
However, as he is aware of the tremendous power of words, the blustery individual decides to make a threat, intending to strike fear into the heart of the opponent without having to do any of the leg work. Threats often go by the lines of, “You’d better…[perform an action desired by the speaker], or I’m gonna [insert unthinkably violet/treacherous action here]”.
Depending on several factors, such as the severity of the circumstances, the speaker’s tone, the physical size of the aggressor, and the personal comfort of the recipient, the threat shall either be accepted and the desired action shall be carried out, or the verbal cue shall be called out as a weak bluff and the speaker will be reprimanded for it.
But out of all of the threats I’ve heard or received over the course of my lifetime, there’s just one I can’t fathom: “I’m telling my mom.”
It was several years ago when I first received the baffling threat at full force. After hours of breathlessly scurrying across hallways, completing numerous assignments, and worrying over inane projects, I stepped onto the bus and plopped into the first available seat I came across.
“Hi,” a cheerful, little voice came from beside me.
Tired and slow to accepting new stimulus, I turned to see a little girl with a wide, upturned face, bright black eyes, and her hair bound in two neat pigtails. She must have been in the first grade.
“Hi there,” I said half-heartedly, wanting to sleep on the ride back home.
“I’m Julie,” she said as she quickly adjusted the straps on her backpack.
“What’s your name?” she asked exuberantly, either oblivious to my fatigue or speaking to me in spite of it.
“Anusha,” I replied shortly. But seeing her obvious desire to prolong the conversation, I struggled, “So, what’d you do in school today?”
Clearly pleased by my verbal cue, she smiled brilliantly before replying, “Well, we learned about careers today.”
“Careers, eh? What do you want to be when you grow up?” finding myself growing genuinely interested in the conversation. After all, I could have the next Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Barack Obama, or Pablo Picasso sitting next to me.
“A ballerina-doctor-princess-artist-in space.”
How is Julie’s dream job supposed to work? How will this strange conversation end? Will Anusha ever get to take a nap? Find out all this and more on tomorrow’s post. To be continued…