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Why grown-ups are grumpy
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And why I am a children’s entertainer.

Grown-ups are grumpy because they have crowded heads. I am speaking anecdotally, of course.[1] When it comes to children, I get the whole "impatience" thing. Children have more energy; they are smaller, quicker, louder. They have fewer responsibilities. Yes, I know, they need to do well in school, and they need to practice their piano lessons or whatever, but they are too young to know why. This is maddening, which is to say, it is that which causes madness in adults.

Grown-ups correct children constantly.

If children tell us that being corrected makes them mad, we correct them and say, “You mean, angry. Saying mad instead of angry is grammatically incorrect. Now, quit being angry!”

This makes them madder.

But grown-ups...

I, for one, hate being interrupted. If I am speaking, and somebody else starts speaking while I am speaking, I get grumpy.

Or…If somebody else is speaking, and I have something to say that’s really, really important for all gathered to hear, and I feel the need to interject my point quickly and loudly so that the speaker and others may share in my wisdom and insights, the person who has already been speaking gets grumpy.

Which makes me grumpy and I end up saying stuff like, “What’s your deal?’

I have been pondering the word, interruption. We tend to think of it in terms of these afore mentioned examples of speaking over one another, but for me, most of my grumpiness is a result of my thoughts being disturbed. This can be when I am trying to daydream (my job, you know [2]) or when I am trying to concentrate on what would seem an ordinary and easy task, like counting CDs and putting them in a box to be shipped [3].

And that is true for a lot of grown-ups, I’ll wager. I get that.

What I don’t get is this: I don't get it when a grown-up says, “I don't understand children.”

Sure, I know these grownups exist. I run into them all the time. But to point out the obvious, every grown-up was once a kid.

It amuses me that these grown-ups seem to be in a state of bewilderment regarding the habits of children. Grown-ups say stuff like, “I can’t believe how these kids today are texting and talking on their phones all the time!” [4]

Maybe I have an advantage when it comes to my fluency in the language of kid-dome. I became a camp counselor at the age of nineteen; I began working with children when I was still pretty much a child.

I have never stopped.

Or maybe it’s more important that I remember what it is like to be a kid.

In the work of my daydreaming, I actively ponder childhood. I am not talking about simply reminiscing about my own childhood, but I consciously think about the lives of children I encounter and what it might be like to walk in their Chuck Taylors. I think about the world they live in. I think about the societal changes that happen all the time. I watch this closely with my own sixteen-year-old son who is, at the afternoon of this writing, out with my car with his three-week-old driver’s license.

People ask me: "Would you rather perform for children or adults?" Truly, I like it when kids are at the grownup shows. And I like to have grownups at the kids' shows.

I like it when they all sit together.

I'll say this over and over; the secret is this (now, pay attention): Treat children with the respect you give adults, and treat grownups with the exuberance children crave.

That works very well for me. And that's why I am a children's entertainer.

Andy is an award-winning storyteller, humorist, and whistler who grew up and resides in Covington.  He can be reached at

Comedic footnotes

[1] I was told by a bona fied academic that too many of my arguments are anecdotal.  But I ain’t an academic. I am a storyteller.

[2] Thank you for pointing this out, Willy Claflin

[3] No kidding. This is really difficult for me.

[4] Y’all, look around; grown-ups are on their phones all the time.