Partway to the show, my son started showing signs of Charging Mother Rhino syndrome, so I gave him a small baggie of pretzels. His brother asked for two pretzels of his own which were, grudgingly, given. It turned out my eldest wasn’t hungry, but wanted the two pretzels to play with; he wanted to imagine the pretzels as the stars of a movie (which we recorded later that evening).
This was too much for my youngest, who harangued him about those two pretzels the whole trip. You weren’t supposed to play with them, you were supposed to eat them! He demanded the pretzels be given back even though my wife and I explained, repeatedly, he had more pretzels than he needed.
After a while, he said he was thirsty, and I handed him back his water bottle. His favorite bottle has a blue lid that snaps on, and he likes to pull the nozzle open with his teeth. This time we must not have pushed the lid down tight enough because, a few seconds after handing the bottle to him, I hear a squeal of dismay. I look back and see him with a shocked look on his face, doused with water, the lid off of the bottle and held in his teeth like a cigarette holder.
He insisted we go home so he could change, but we were almost at the show, so we stopped at Old Navy and got him new clothes. Everything seemed resolved, but that’s when the real Pretzel War began. Now he had to have his brother’s two pretzels because they were still dry, his bag was wet, and his brother still wasn’t using them the way they were supposed to be used.
“And thus,” I said, “the Republican Party was born.”