Friday, September 19, 2008
Some people are, truly, too sensible for their own good.
Atticus is struggling to understand why, why, why someone would even attempt to subtract any number from zero. Clearly, to paraphrase Wilbur, you can't have less than nothing. Nothing is, by definition, nothing. It's as clear as night and day--and Atticus is very much into clarity.
So to say that you can, actually, have less than nothing ... well, it hurts my sensible boy's brain.
How many times have I said in the past week: "Atticus, honey ... you cannot just flip the problem. You can't. The top number has to stay on top."
Hasn't mattered one. iota. Atticus still refuses to acknowledge that something can, in fact, be less than nothing.
Finally, I went back to the old object lesson. "See, son? You have five dollars. I take all that you have and ask for one more. So you owe me one. You have one less than zero dollars."
Indignant, Atticus sniffed: "I wouldn't give you any. It's not right."
"Why?" I asked, exasperated.
"I'm not going to spend money I don't have, Mom. What kind of person does that?"
Now who's the sensible one?