Wednesday, January 9, 2013


To my son Tommy,

When I clean up your toys, which is more often than I would prefer, I try to put them in different categories.  Perhaps it is my obsessive compulsive need to categorize and organize, but jungle animals go in this box, farm animals go in this box, trolls go in this bag, toy story in this bucket, etc etc.  This tends to drive your mother crazy as she has three categories when it comes to clean that go in a box and things that aren't your toys and don't go in your boxes and trash.  She hates the fact that I try to separate everything.

It isn't like my categories aren't flexible. Big bird could go with the sesame street box with Ernie and Grover or the avian box with the angry birds and penguins of Madagascar and some chickens which ended up in the bird box instead of the farm animals box.  Alright, I admit it, my need to classify things might border on a serious mental disturbance.  I prefer to look at it as my inner scientist yearning for the opportunity to classify new found life forms into various taxonomic ranks from domain to species.  Some may say that might be a stretch for a justification but if members of Congress can claim they work for a living, then I can claim I am a scientist when I clean up your toys.

Some times categorizing things in your life can be good.  When you find a loose battery in our house, you know they go in the battery drawer and when you empty coins from your pocket you know they can go in the coin drawer.  In the case of the coins, they rarely stay there because you love playing with coins.  Currently you have a bunch of coins grilling on your kitchen set play grill.  These classifications and locations help us live our lives.

Be careful though when you group things.  It can lead to preconceived notions and bad category choices, especially when dealing with people.  You have only experienced this a little in your life but clicks and groups can hold people back and provide ripe grounds for anger and resentment.  You are classified as "too young" for some of the things your older cousins like to do.  You get ditched so they can go do things they enjoy without having to watch over a toddler.  It is natural occurrence and part of growing up and some day you will do something similar, but it doesn't make it right.  If you group people, make your categories inclusive and accepting.  I wish there was a way to bottle the hurt you feel nowadays when you feel excluded, and save it for the day when the tables have turned and you are the one doing the excluding.  Until then, this alligator toy will be in the pirate bucket so it can attack Capt Hook, but it can always feel free to join the other reptiles in their container or even the exotic animals box.  Of course we might have to exclude it from the farm animals box, it might eat the sheep.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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