Life may be beautiful, but school is a good place to start learning about ugly and dirty.
You begin the socialization process at around age six by being pushed together with twenty or thirty other kids, many of them with colds and coughs. Kids aren’t particularly decorous about their illnesses. Step into any primary school, and you’re bound to hear the sound of some kid snuffling back so hard on his snot that it sounds like a vacuum cleaner with convulsions.
Then there’s the kid who cuts farts on the school bus—with fifty other kids trapped around him. The smell never varies: rotten eggs that have just burst open, the close-to-the-ground stink that wraps itself around outhouse walls. Strangely, the school bus fart is usually dealt on the way to school, not from. Nothing smells more like early education than packed lunches of apples, cookies, and farts, inside an early morning chill.
Of course, there’s always the kid who pukes all over his desk. And stick around long enough, you’ll come into contact with the pants-shitter.It’s interesting how we learn to get along with others when we’re little children. Perhaps the first and most important lesson we learn is that ugly dirty crap is part of humanity, and that somehow, other people always seem to stink worse than we do.
Donald Gallinger is the author of The Master Planets
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