Daryl loves to climb poles. He’s gotten pretty good at it over the years too, perfecting his wrap-around leg technique to grasp the pole with the edges of his shoes. We recently found ourselves at the high school football field, where Daryl saw an excellent pole climbing challenge: the field goal.
This pole was considerably fatter than his usual regimen and a bit taller as well. With some effort, however, he was soon calling out from the cross bar, “Mommy! Daddy! Look at me! I did it!”
We congratulated his success but told him to hurry down because we were leaving. He slid back down the pole and joined us. As we walked, he began to explain the proper approach to climbing a fat pole.
“With a big pole like that, it’s all about speed. You’ve got to keep moving or you’ll slip back down.”
“I see,” I responded. “I’m glad you got it figured out.”
“The pole was pretty rough, though. Look at my leg,” he said, turning to show me the scraped inside of his right leg.
“Ouch,” I said.
“Yeah, it kind of hurts. I’m all scratched up.”
“Looks like it.”
When we got to the car, he resumed the complaints, possibly because he didn’t feel that I had given his injuries the attention they deserved. “Why did that pole have to be so rough? I’ve got scratches all over. It really hurts.”
“Well, maybe when you realize that a pole is so rough, you should stop trying to climb it.”
In a fierce and determined voice, he declaimed, “No. I Do Not. Give Up.”
“Well then maybe you should quit whining about how rough the pole was. You don’t sound very tough complaining about it so much.”
Seriously, son. You don’t get to be tough and whiny at the same time. Pick one.