Make what you want of my somewhat uncharitable comment about The Girl, but as I write this Casa Shotgun holds three overweight cats and three large dogs, one of which is overweight and the other borderline. Overweight, that is. The castle also has a foster child, also overweight. I live in a house of fat people.
Since I use aliases for everyone when I write, I'm very tempted to snatch up a few for the foster kid. Hillbilly Helen, Hog Trough Hannah, Trailer Park Trixie, or maybe just plain Fat Girl. All have a certain appeal to them. I'll refrain from bestowing a name just now... cut to the scene in Animal House where Bluto is naming the pledges.
Kent Dorfman: Uh, what's my Delta Tau Chi name?Flounder. Flounder's mother is drying out right now, and so far as I know she'll be in the State funded dry cleaning system for a while. Flounder's father decided he couldn't raise her - she 'got all up in his face', according to the social worker. So the stupid hillbilly called the welfare people to come and get her. None of the relatives will take her in. The paternal grandparents who live within five miles of Casa Shotgun refuse to give out their phone numbers. Just think about that one for a minute. We have their address, but they refuse to give their granddaughter their phone number.
Bluto: Dorfman, I've given this a lot of thought. From now on, your name is Flounder.
Kent Dorfman: [Pause] Flounder?
Flounder is 12 years old, will be 13 in a month or so and hasn't been raised. She has no table manners beyond shoveling in bio-degradable items she likes (sugar, caffeine and colors not found in nature) and refusing anything the resembles real food. "I don't like that." is common. She is selfish and finds it very difficult not to be the center of attention. The other day when Yours Truly, Shotgun Bob, The Girl and Flounder all had dinner over at their neighbor's house, Flounder's abhorrent behavior surfaced. I thought Shotgun Bob was going to blow a fuse, but evidently some kind soul had thoughtfully removed his fuses and substituted pennies and .45 casings, so the temper held. Happily the neighbors, Trucker Tom and his wife Betty are very experienced parents and - get this - they know Flounder's family, either directly or by reputation. They handled the situation beautifully.
Then Shotgun Bob made two more interesting discoveries. It seems that Flounder's grades at public school (Jack hits the spittoon with a vengeance) are Bs and Cs, with one D (math). Old Shotgun expected much worse and so did I. The second discovery is that Flounder has been out of paper for about two months. Paper, you know... like notebook paper. Flounder's solution was to cadge a sheet here and there, listen to the lectures and memorize everything on the board. That's right, memorize. How many of you mental giants reading this drivel could pull that one off? Because I couldn't. Not on the best day I ever had. Flounder admitted this as casually as anyone else would talk about shopping for groceries or what they had for breakfast this morning. What else would she do? In the same conversation, Flounder admitted that her math teacher, Mister Fairy, called her a retard. I'd like five minutes alone with Mister Fairy, but I'd settle for three.
And so it goes. No one has taught the child table manners, how to react to teasing or compliments, how to share or be helpful. Shotgun Bob and The Girl finally had a business meeting about the state of Flounder and made a few decisions. No more Facebook, for instance. Flounder's older cousin (16, which is prime marrying age in Tennessee) likes to pose in her underwear on Facebook. Many of Flounders Facebook friends are older males, 15 and up. Shotgun Bob put his foot down.
For my part I waited until Flounder needed a little cheering up at the dinner table, then asked if she could read. When Flounder timidly affirmed that she could, I stated that her reading skill would indicate that she could write. So, when the school year is up in 21 days, she could write about her racially prejudice math teacher.
Flounder lit up like the fourth of July at the White House.
We shall see, but I'm betting that the kid writes something.