Two boys can get into rather a bit of trouble in the blink of an eye. Especially when led astray by a rapscallion like Mr. Nobody. I never clapped eyes on the fellow, but he apparently freeloaded at our house for quite a few years – from the time that my boys were 3 or 4 years old on up until they figured out how to get into mischief on their own or with their friends.
He just came into being one day – the day before the standard answer to questions about what was going on was the universal ‘I don’t know’ accompanied with a shrug and shifty eyes, the next day with a wink and a nod the answer changed to ‘Mr. Nobody did it’. I took to sharing pointers with the boys that they should pass on to Mr. Nobody. Like respecting property and what was considered acceptable or not. They would listen and solemnly agree to pass on the lesson or concern.
Mr. Nobody was a safe scapegoat who, to the best of my knowledge, never got into anything really awful or unforgivable. Well, there were the two broken windows (of the two windows in the boys’ room), but luckily no one was actually hurt.
Boys have a lot of energy and curiosity which can be a dangerous combination – it is proven that males have a higher mortality rate from conception onward. Mr. Nobody allowed us to talk about dangers, actions and consequences without accusations. Sometimes the boys even participated in talking about how Mr. Nobody should be punished so that he would understand the gravity of his actions.
Mr. Nobody probably had a hand in helping the boys to develop their critical thinking skills – his invention was certainly a bit of creative thinking. He came about as a bit of avoidance, a hope of deflection – a sophisticated use of humor for boys so young – and he stuck around as long as he was useful.
Is there a Mr. Nobody in your life? An inspired invention that fulfilled much more than its original purpose. (My younger son says he was a diabolical super-villain. Ah, perspective.)
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