"Have you seen this?" my husband asked. "Charlotte gave it to me."
I looked at the small book in his palm and giggled, "No."
"You can't laugh at this," he scolded. "Do you see what it says?"
I laughed anyway, unable to stifle my amusement. The words "LaYNiE POOPS" were juvenilely lettered in blue ink on the cover. "POOPS" was smeared, where some small criminal, probably lacking commitment to the crime or maybe suddenly overcome with great regret and remorse or perhaps attempting to cover his indelible tracks, had tried to erase it.
"Who did that?" I sputtered, still thoroughly entertained by the odious offense of one of Charlotte's sons. Not only had he written "LaYNiE POOPS," a misguided deed in and of itself, designed to strip an innocent young girl of her privacy in the restroom, but he also wrote it on little Laynie's Bible. Not just any Bible, mind you, but Laynie's Holy (pink) New Testament Bible designed and distributed just for sweet virtuous ladies of Laynie's delicate age and stature. "Oh my goodness, who did that?" I again exclaimed.
"Do you have to ask?" my husband rhetorically quizzed me in disbelief.
"Oh. Oh, no." The weight of the situation settled heavily on my heart. I immediately surmised that one of my sons, the youngest to be exact, tried to scrub Laynie and her Holy (pink) Bible clean of "POOPS." He had violated the unwritten, and now I supposed overlooked and unspoken, rule of not desecrating the vessel carrying God's word.
That deep crease formed in my brow; the one that signals to my offspring that stern words are just about to precede corporal punishment. Taking the Good (pink) Book from my husband, I went in search of my son. I found him kicking a soccer ball against the fence and tapped him on the shoulder, holding the evidence at his eye level so he would see it first thing when he turned around.
His mouth clamped shut and his eyes bulged like a Pekinese's. "Three problems," I said. "Number one, this is someone else's property that you damaged. Number two, you wrote unkind and hurtful words about a friend. And number three, mister, you wrote them on a Bible." I spread on the guilt like jam on toast, (which, incidentally, he was). "Do you think this makes Jesus happy? You graffitied His wall. And you did it out of pure meanness."
"But everybody poops," he defended himself.
"That's only a story. You can't go around announcing it about people." He couldn't convince me that he strictly intended to simply add another fact to the Book of Truths.
After that, he apologized to Laynie for any embarrassment he had caused her. He apologized to Charlotte for making a bad decision. He apologized to Jesus for crudely re-titling the Bible.
Even so, once he and I came to an understanding, he still had to face his sister, who happens to also be his victim's best friend. Despite a fiery temper, she forgives rather quickly and seemed to accept that her brother meant no ill-will toward Laynie when he explained, with a touch of skepticism in his voice, "I always thought everybody poops. But not everyone does. Laynie doesn't poop."
Overhearing that, I said a short prayer that the good Lord in His mercy would hold back the child's hand when he sought to absolve himself of inscribing falsities by printing "LaYNiE dOesN'T POOP" on the replacement pink bible.
(Lucy Adams lives in Thomson, and is a syndicated columnist and the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. Her book is available at The McDuffie Mirror. Lucy enjoys receiving readers' comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.ifmama.com.)