Buster and Big Man got into a debate, separate and apart from the many outright fights they have over LEGOs, somebody calling somebody else Butt Cheek, or the billion other potential provocations. This debate involved no hitting or kicking, probably because I intervened before it had a chance to run its normal course.
The debate revolved around the fingers of the hand as they related to our family structure. We happen to be a family of five, which means each person gets to be represented by a digit on the standard human hand.
They agreed that Daddy was the middle finger, because of its relative length, not because of its proclivity to become rude when left unattended. Mommy was the ring finger, because in our family, ring fingers run slightly taller than index fingers, just like Mommy is still slightly taller than Big Brother. Conversely, Big Brother was the index finger.
The point of contention was over which of the debaters was the pinky finger and which was the thumb. Each boy claimed to be the pinky finger and relegated the other to the distant position of the thumb.
The thumb is set apart and stands on a lower pedestal than the rest. This is what they saw when they looked at their hands. It was different and apart. Nobody wanted to be either of those things.
They went on casting each other in the role of thumb, without a thought to its uniqueness or value.
Because the debate was becoming annoyingly monotonous, somebody had to step in and tell them who was right and who was wrong.
“You’re both wrong,” I told them. They looked at me with incredulous faces. How could they both be wrong? There were only two positions in question, and between them, they had all the possibilities covered.
I held up my hand and pointed out the fingers. Daddy was the middle finger. Big Brother was the ring finger. Buster was the index finger (although there are certain properties of the middle finger that suit him best). Big Man was the pinky, and Mommy was the thumb.
They stared at me dumbstruck. How could Mommy be the lowly thumb, the digit nobody wanted to be?
How little they understood the miracle of the thumb, the digit that brings all the fingers up to their potential.
“It’s true,” I told them. “Mommy is the opposable thumb of this family. She’s the one who makes it all work. She is what separates us from the animals. Without her, we might as well be a family of skunks.”
Well, Mommy does her best to differentiate us from a family of skunks, but she has her work cut out for her in this house full of stinky boys. Sometimes I think she should move away to someplace nice and let us revert to our natural state, but a good thumb never abandons the hand.
Great analogy! In the interest of fairness, I’d probably choose the foot instead and delegate everybody a specific toe. Then again, I was a family of four, so it’s a moot (and thumbless) point anyway!
I don’t like to get too close to my kids’ feet, so I don’t really know how many toes any of them have.
Great analysis. Shows how our perspectives about life and what surrounds us can be so different and unique to each individual.
The lesson I took was that skunks would probably dominate the Earth if they had thumbs.
I’m roaring here, Scott! Oh to have been able to see those faces looking up at you with disbelief on their faces! This is just so cute and how you wrote it flat out hysterical! Oh for the power of the thumb! Your closing paragraph had me even laughing all the harder. Boys! I know that one is spades having had 5 brothers. LOL
Glad you enjoyed it, Amy. Imagine how much poorer of spirit you’d be today without those wonderful brothers.
Both poignant and HILARIOUS.
Thanks, Ed. These boys are really great at hitting their cues.
The best direction for any thumb.
Sooo what you’re saying is they had a real life thumb war?? Great post!
Well, it didn’t get as violent as some of their wars do, so I guess I would call it a real life thumb Cold War.
She’s also the only female. That’s so cool. Now do they all want to be thumbs?
No way! Too much responsibility.
And you might need more thumbs.
When I first started reading, I thought you would have been the thumb as the “head of the family”. When I got to the arguing part, I wanted to shout: “Me, me! I want to be the thumb”. They still have a long way to go. Or maybe we are beyond the point of no return?
They’re still little fingers.