The blueberries at the port-swiller residence are ripening fast this week.  (We have half a dozen bushes.  Granted, they’re high-bush, which I know is downright heretical to some people, but they’re very yummy nonetheless.)

Last weekend, before we drove off to camp, the eldest gel and I were out grazing on the earliest arrivals.  I remarked that it was a shame she was going to be gone for the two weeks of prime berry time, and that I guessed I would have no choice but to eat all of them without her.

“Isn’t that a shame,” I said.

Daaaaaaaad!” she replied, and poked me heavily in the rib cage.

I laughed.

She laughed.

A simple tale of father/daughter bonding based on a little gentle teasing, no?  And yet, I’ve told this story to half a dozen people this week and received not a smile or a laugh, but a look of “How could you be so mean?” incredulity.  Granted, the people I’ve told have tended either to be childless or else to have only babies or toddlers, and all of them are much more Liberal than I am, but nonetheless I find their reaction worrisome. 

I’d have thought – well, I do think – that teasing among family members, so long as it is good natured and not designed to be ugly, is an extremely healthy thing.   It teaches the kiddies not to be thin-skinned and it acts as a harmless escape valve to blow off pressure between the grown-ups that might otherwise build to an explosive level if they spent their lives tip-toeing around one another.  Is this no longer acceptable among the Enlightened?

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