I recently hung out with my favorite soon-to-be 2nd grade twins. They are all about animals and trivia and whatnot.
The boy looked at me very seriously. “You’re a grown-up, so you probably know this,” he said. “But did you know that the harpy eagle has talons that are longer than a bear’s claws?”
Uh, no. No, I didn’t know that. My young friend was both delighted at his own intelligence and shocked at my ineptitude. He was too nice to say so, but clearly, I am shitty at being an adult.
I kind of want to start every single sentence with, “You’re a grown-up, so you probably know this.” It would be so awesome! Just think: “You’re a grown-up, so you probably already know this, but when you don’t put your dishes in the dishwasher, it makes the baby Jesus cry.” Or even, “You’re a grown-up, so you probably already know this, but the labradoodle ate poop today.”
Like being an adult is a form of omniscience. But as a kid, that’s totally what being a grown-up was all about! Those tall people knew everything! And yet, they managed to be pretty dull.
I noticed that my kid friends were reading a Beverly Cleary book. In an effort not to be the dullard adult, I mentioned that I, too, was reading a Beverly Cleary book: the second of her autobiographies. The first book is about her childhood, and the second covers college through getting her first book published.
Instead of being heralded as a literary genius, I faced contempt.
“Eww! The school one is probably way better. College and being a grown-up is so boring!”
Plus, if we’re being honest?
I devoured all of Mrs. Cleary’s books as a kid, and finding these books aimed at adults was a thrill. I thought I’d read all the Cleary that’s there to be read, but I was mistaken! She wrote these 2 lovely little autobiographies for me to find as an inept adult.
Mrs. Cleary is 97 years old. I bet she knew all about the harpy eagle’s talons.
As a youngun’, my favorite books were those about Ramona – Ramona the Pest, Ramona Quimby, Age 8. The publication of Ramona Forever was the first time I ever anticipated a new book. I could hardly stand it until that light-blue paperback was available. Instead of going to the library, we bought it. It was a big deal. I tore through that book.
I don’t know crap about the harpy eagle, but I do love to read. And I think Mrs. Cleary helped me there, for sure.
What was your favorite Beverly Cleary book? And did you know about the harpy eagle?
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