Two Brothers and a Big Wheel

The faded red and yellow plastic Big Wheel, scooted down the sidewalk, skidded to a stop, picked it up, turned it around, and raced back to our drive where the older brother spun out, leaving a thin trails of black polypropylene from each rear tire. He circled his little brother on my daughter’s plastic toy.
“It’s my turn, Michael. You’ve had it forever,” the little brother shouted. The older boy, bolted down the sidewalk again, going farther on the low-riding three-wheel wonder. The third drive down, he pulled out of sight behind the neighbor’s car.
Matthew turned to his father, who stood speaking with me. “Daaad?”
His father ignored his plea, and buzzed on about whatever we discussed.
“Daaad?”
“One minute, Matthew. Don’t interrupt.”
“Dad! He won’t give me a turn.”
His father turned to his older boy. “Michael. Give Matthew a turn. Michael? Michael!” Eventually Michael popped out from behind the neighbor’s car and zoomed back into our drive, spinning out again, and then slowly rolled out of the toy, savoring his ownership.
“You’re too big for that, anyway,” his father said. “Why in the world…?” And he turned back to our conversation.
The little brother saddled up—a perfect fit. With a big smile, he spun the front wheel till he got traction. He skidded onto the sidewalk. Michael chased along behind him. He put his hands on the little boy’s shoulders, and pushed him . “Ow! Michael, leave me alone,” Matthew shouted. He squirmed, and ducked forward avoiding his grip.big-wheel
Michael ran ahead of him. He jumped onto the sidewalk in front of him. “Dead end, sir! You’ll have to go around.”
“Michael! Let me go. You had your turn!”
“Go around.”
I watched, looking past their father. Matthew tried to peddle over the lawn, but St. Augustine is not passable. As the father turned to see what I was looking at, Michael quickly stepped aside, and the Big Wheel moved along the edge of the sidewalk, half on the grass.
There wasn’t a moment that the younger boy was free to enjoy his turn—his older brother had taken the pleasure and the joy from him. Why? What was the payoff in fouling someone else’s pleasure? Was it jealously, or hope that his target would give up his turn sooner than later? Was it the idea that ‘if I can’t have it, no one can?’ Or, was it a base pleasure that accompanies destruction of others and their property—vandalism. It frustrated me, it was unfair—it certainly wasn’t my place to step in. True story.
Since Donald Trump’s election, we have had riots that some called demonstrations. There was an expensive recounting of the votes into which ring Hillary Clinton threw her crown. And the media’s criticism of Mister Trump has been relentless. And now, President Obama is planting landmines of fiat laws, regulations, commuted sentences, and inflammatory statements about Donald J. Trump—anything he can do to stall the new administration.
Trump and his supporters have not been free to enjoy their victory—the opposition has sucked the pleasure and joy from the Americans who elected him. Why? What’s the payoff in fouling up someone’s pleasure in their success? Is it jealously? Or is it the hope that their target will give up his turn? Or, is it the idea that ‘if I can’t have it, no one can have it?’ Maybe it’s the banal pleasure that accompanies destruction of others and their property—vandalism, nihilism—gives a crude, undeserved power. It’s unfair—but boys will be boys, I guess. I think I could use one of those crying rooms at one of those expensive schools.

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