This morning I stepped in doggy poopy. My parents told me time and time again to walk on the driveway and avoid the yard, but because I think I know everything, I knew that the shortest distance between two points (in my case the house and car) was a straight line. Besides, I knew that many things parents say are insignificant.
A few years ago I learned the secret of parenting. While snooping around my parents’ room, I found a book entitled How to Make Your Kids Eat Spinach and Other Green Things: A Manual for the Domestically Challenged. It was hidden behind a jar of teeth (my mom was the Tooth Fairy by night) and was covering a rubber mask (my dad was the Boogie Man). The author was some doctor, but he only had a Ph.D. so I knew he wasn’t credible. I revisited this book whenever my parents gave me instructions (“Jerica, clean your room. It’s good for your health.” “Jerica, brush your teeth, it will make you stronger.” “Jerica, you have a good personality. Your acquaintances will surely be able to tolerate you.”) and when I found their counsel or directions in that book, I would simply disregard it. As the reader may have guessed, there was a chapter directing that children not play or walk on grass, so I ignored this admonition, too. It was more convenient to cut through the yard, and I usually arrived at my destination in safety.
Because I thought I knew everything, I did not even have to look down to know it was doggy poopy my foot had so gracefully slid into. I had barely 10 minutes to get to the bus stop, so I acted fast, not really thinking about what I was going to do to fix the problem. I’ll leave the grotesque details to the power of imagination.
During school, as I constantly smelled the evidence of recent events, I conceived a bazillion different ways I could have handled the situation. Needless to say, it seemed my shoe emitted an unpleasant stench all day. Removing the falling star I had caught when I was six from my pocket - I was saving it for a rainy day but supposed this was as good a time as any - I wished that no one would detect the odor.
People often take short cuts in life, but embracing the easy way is useful only because it often leads to mistakes, which in turn causes people to learn, grow and move on. Even though I know everything, I still make a lot of mistakes. I know that the problems and trials I encounter help mold me into perfection. They may be difficult, but one day, when I am old and gray, I will lose my sense of smell and be able to step in all the doggy poopy I want. Everyone should step in it once in a while. It reminds them to watch where they are going in life, helping to return them to the right path. Also, I would never have learned as much as I have, and that is saying a lot considering (I am sure the reader remembers) I know everything.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.