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‘Don’t Touch Me, I’m Buttery.’

Zachary Madison

After eating lunch with my youngest son at his school, Zachary invited me to walk back with him to his third grade class. The bell signaling the end of lunch was still a few minutes away so we enjoyed a quiet walk down the hall where his classroom was located.

He needed to visit the restroom so as I waited, I perused the artwork his teacher had proudly displayed along the wall adjacent to her class. The theme was ‘Time Person of The Year: 2030′ and her pupils had drawn mock magazine covers with themselves as the subject. Zachary’s friend Abby wanted to be a teacher and Remington dreamed of becoming a professional football player. I smiled at the painstaking detail they’d taken with their self-portraits.

Picture after picture, the fellow students in my son’s class shared their professional aspirations. Many wanted to be astronauts, doctors and policemen. A few envisioned themselves as future Presidents. I couldn’t wait to see how Zachary had depicted himself as an adult.

Sure to be overlooked if one were impatient, my son’s declaration of his future was at the very bottom of the last column. I bent down to read his handwriting on the tiny index card underneath his work. Shocked, I gasped so loudly a teacher shut her door in a manner that suggested she didn’t appreciate the distraction. In torturous silence, I  stared in amazement at his portrait. By the time the bell finally rang, I’d thrown my head back and laughed until I cried.

Emblazoned across the top of his construction paper was an adolescent rendition of the magazine’s familiar font, but his profession of choice was anything but. Cutting from the herd, my son boastfully proclaimed he would be known by all for being ‘the fattest man in the world‘. If his words were not convincing enough perhaps the brown t-shirt he’d drawn on his corpulent frame warning, ‘Don’t Touch Me, I’m Buttery’ would suffice. Behind him, a half-eaten chicken leg and diet Coke were momentarily forgotten on a table.

Finally, here was the proof that my child was brilliant. He was mature enough to understand that at the tender age of seven, he had no way of knowing what the future held. Instead of wasting both his and the teacher’s time, he decided to have fun by assuring his parents, friends and teachers that despite their efforts, his biggest achievement in life would be the ability to sweat margarine.

Let’s hope his goals in life will take a more traditional path, but if he ever loses that wicked sense of humor, I’ll be extremely disappointed.


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