Sharon D. Foresyte: A study in what to say and what not to.

(Written in anticipation of the Loud House episode "Friends In Dry Places")

We find ourselves in the main office of Lynn's Table watching Lynn Loud Senior go over the afternoon's paperwork. As he does so, he notices something that had been brought over by his son Lincoln. He then pauses and looks as if at a television camera and says "I would to talk to you young children about a subject that might interest you. You will no doubt have noticed that the person who usually speaks to you has been behaving, shall we say, less mature the closer he gets to being promoted to middle school. Case in point: the Lincoln in fourth grade would, having come across his baby clothes, tossed them out or asked how much cash he could get from them instead of wearing them in the belief that doing so would make his childhood last longer. The younger Lincoln wouldn't have convinced himself that a parent-teacher meaning would result in his being demoted to kindergarten or being quietly euthanized as punishment for failure or what the Heck ever nonsense he'd cooked up. The younger Lincoln wouldn't have made an embarrassing fool of himself at that convention he and his best friend went to. The reason I do not say anything (and please, do not mistake this as an apology or a request for absolution) is not that I'm a sucker or someone who's lost sight of childhood. The reason is that I know about it far too well."

"This is because I am holding in my hand the reason for his slide back into younger behavior: the permission slip for the end-of-the-year field trip. I remember that last big trip quite well. Much like him, I had five good friends. I'd spent most of the year like a lot of kids your age and thought that we'd be buddies for good….right up until we were about to transition from being the biggest kids in grade school to the smallest fry at what used to be called junior high before they changed the names. My circle of friends consisted of

1) Me

2) Kotaro

3) Moved Away Before Eighth Grade

4) Person who I'm on a last-name basis with because of a horrible falling out over a girl

and

5) I know his face and I see him around but I can't quite remember his name.

Once Lincoln has time enough to think about his future, it seems inevitable that he's no longer be able to avoid admitting that he's going to see much the same thing coming. Since he's a kid, he's going to think he's the first person this has happened to and it is going to hurt for now."

"Now I know that you're probably going to make the same hash of my little talk Lincoln would were I stupid enough to try to give it to him but as you get older, you'll start to notice that people drift in and out of your life all the time. As I said, Lincoln is just now starting to notice this and since he's kind of gloomy really and tends to see the world as a not-so-nice place where everything is kind of against him, he's for sure going to take it poorly when it becomes obvious that he's in danger of becoming mutual Name-Escapes-Mes with one of the three red-haired boys he thinks he's supposed to be friends with forever. Not, of course, that I'm going to be poor fool who has to tell him that. Let someone he relates to flag down that catastrophe!"

"The reason I'm going to let my wife or one of my older daughters try to jolly him out of the inevitable blue funk he'll be in is not that I'm a doormat or a sucker or a stooge (I get a lot of all three accusations because I don't want to have to end up at the cop shop picking up a stray daughter or five if I tell them I find their antics difficult to love) but because I know my audience: someone who yearns desperately for recognition and has the weird fear that people are simply going to forget he exists without proof. If his friends drift away, that means he'll just be this zero no one can quite place. That's nuts but how sane was I back then? Probably nuts enough to think I speak crazy better than I do now."

"Anyhow, I have to get back to paying for all of this. Feel free to talk about this with your mom and dad. I'm sure they'll say the same thing. It might not seem fair but as they used to say, hate the game, not the players."