The Shiner

Solving a world of problems with simple talk.

Throughout supper, Jeremy had his head turned downward, towards his plate. His mom and dad both noticed.

“How’s my fourth grader today?” his dad asked.

He sighed. “Mmm, ok, I guess.”

“What’s that shiner I see on your eye there, Buddy?”

“Meh, long story, Dad. Probably bore you to tears.”

“Try me.”

“Um, can I tell it to you later? It’s, uh, it’s kinda embarrassing.” For the first time since he spoke, he looked up and glanced at both parents.

“Sure, when you’re ready.”

An hour later, Jeremy knocked on his father’s office door and walked in.

“Yes, son. What’s up?” his father said, pushing his office chair away from the desk and turning his full body towards Jeremy.

“So, I kissed a girl today and this is the result,” Jeremy said pointing to his eye.

“Uh, okay. How’d it happen?”

“Well, she – Grace – was on the merry-go-round during recess, and I thought it’d be a good chance to sneak a kiss on her shoulder. The thing was spinning and I jumped on right behind her. Must have scared her because she spun around and her head knocked into my eye. Boom. She said she was sorry but it really wasn’t her fault. And that’s it. Nothing exciting about that.”

“So, this Grace didn’t know you kissed her, did she?”

“No, no way, Dad. I wouldn’t do that.”

“Does she even know you like her?”

Jeremy thought about the question and said, “Yeah, I think she does. It’s not like we’ve talked about it or anything.”

“Interesting story.”

“What? You don’t believe it?” Jeremy asked.

“Oh no. That’s the problem. I believe every word of it.”

“What do you mean, ‘that’s the problem?’”

“You’re what, 9, 10?”

“Almost 10.

“Right. Jeremy, you’ve got plenty of time for girls and kisses and all that mushy stuff. When you kiss a girl, especially for the first few times, you’ve got to ask their permission.”


“Absolutely. But don’t worry. That’s a few years down the road.”

“So then, what should I do?”

“Talk to Grace. Talk to other girls too. Don’t just limit it to Grace. Be their friends. Talk does a world of wonders for girls.”

“You’re kidding!”

“No, you’ll have to trust me on that one. If you learn how to communicate with girls, you will have almost conquered the world.”

“You think?” Jeremy said.

“No, I know. I don’t know a lot in life, Son. But learning to communicate with girls is one of the great and fabulous mysteries in life. If you master it, you will go on to do great things.”

Jeremy looked puzzled.

“Talk to Grace.”

“Oh, okay.”


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