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My Daughter Punched Out James Patterson

February 20, 2017
(image via wikimedia)

(image via wikimedia)

My daughter didn’t really punch out James Patterson.  She punched out a life-sized cardboard figure of James Patterson.  The James Patterson had been placed near the entrance of B&M Booksellers next to a table with several of Patterson’s new books (I don’t remember which books they were because he has so many of them at any given moment).

Even if my daughter doesn’t like James Patterson, it wasn’t her life-sized cardboard figure to punch out.  It was the book store’s.  And that’s what caused the problem.

I saw part of the violent act from the corner of my eye as we entered the store.  I intentionally was avoiding the Patterson cut-out when my youngest daughter blurred past me and knocked it down with her fist.  It must have been a solid punch.  She didn’t get that from me.  I punch like a girl, but I guess that (punching like a girl) doesn’t mean anything anymore because evidently my daughter can cause some damage.

Anyway, that’s not the whole story.  After the punch, she stumbled forward and butted a YA book display next to her, knocking the stack to the floor.  They weren’t even James Patterson books.

My daughter’s face turned red as she stood over the pile of books at her feet.  If she hadn’t had a conscience, she could have made a run for it.  I thought about running.  I considered fleeing the store without her, but that would have been wrong.  I wasn’t sure what to, so I slowly picked up the James Patterson.

I felt embarrassed until my older daughter laughed.  She has a funny laugh that makes other people laugh too, so several onlookers were given permission to look on with levity.  A young sales associate (young from my point-of-view) approached.  I thought we were going to get banned from B&M Booksellers forever,  so I apologized for my daughter.  I apologized for the mess.  I apologized for the damage to James Patterson.  I think I even apologized for all the business Amazon was taking away from them.

I don’t condone violence, even towards inanimate objects.  Beating up inanimate objects is the gateway to violence against living creatures, and I don’t want my daughters to be violent. Even though I’m not a fan of James Patterson, I would never do anything to harm him or his business.  I wouldn’t block customers from entering a book store where he’s speaking.  I wouldn’t call for a boycott, even though I personally don’t buy his books.  And I would never punch out his cardboard cut-out.

The associate didn’t seem to care that much.  When I stood up the cut-out, it seemed undamaged (but I wasn’t looking that closely).  My youngest daughter was already setting up the books and doing a good job.  She can design and arrange things (she didn’t get that from my side of the family).  My oldest daughter’s laugh had put onlookers in a good mood.  Once the display was finished, I would have a stern talk with my youngest.

“What were you thinking?” I asked in a forced exasperated tone.

She stood silent, eyes focused on the display she had restacked.  I knew I wasn’t going to be too harsh with her though.

“She just brain glitched, Dad,” my oldest said.  My oldest should know.  She has just entered high school and a couple years ago was an expert at brain glitching.

My youngest, in the meantime, is still at that junior high age where kids brain glitch a lot.  A brain glitch is when you do something really stupid and afterwards you can’t explain why.  When you ask kids why they just did something stupid, they stare open-mouthed.  If a kid says “I don’t know,” he/she is probably telling the truth.

My oldest daughter held up her phone, aiming the screen at her sister.  “The next time you’re going to brain glitch, tell me.”

“So you can prevent her from doing something stupid?” I said.

My oldest looked me dead in the eye.  “Yeah, that’s why.”

Then she went back to staring at her phone.  Staring at a phone in a bookstore always aggravates me.

After we left the store, I felt a little better about things.  I was proud that my daughter doesn’t like James Patterson.  Sometimes a child will take the opposite beliefs of a parent, such as when liberal parents accidentally raise a conservative child (or vice-versa).  That has to be frustrating.  A few years ago, I was concerned because my youngest daughter read a couple James Patterson YA books, but then she stopped.  Now she doesn’t think he really writes his own books and she doesn’t read them out of principal.  I was proud.  My youngest daughter has principals, and she was standing up for them.

“If you’re going to punch out a cardboard display, it might as well be James Patterson,” I said, patting her on the shoulder.

My daughter took a few more steps and then said, “I just wanted to knock down a cardboard guy.”

I paused.  “You… didn’t knock it down because it was James Patterson?”

“I’ve always wanted to punch one of those things.”  Then she looked up at me.  “Don’t you?”

“So… it had nothing to do with James Patterson.”

She looked perplexed.  “No.”

Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with my daughter.


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From → Pop culture

  1. Judy permalink

    I love the last line. It made me laugh….out loud!

  2. That was pretty great… I read a few of Patterson’s YA books in my younger years but quickly lost interest and haven’t felt the desire to pick up one of his books since.

  3. Reblogged this on adaratrosclair and commented:
    Heh, heh. I love this author’s sense of humor.

  4. This is funny. I always want to punch the cardboard cutouts, but have seen the price tag on some of them in the collector’s stores, so I refrain. That said, I can’t think Patterson would go for very much.I mean, people who like him would rather have his books, right? If the average reader actually bought a cardboard cutout of James Patterson, that’d be creepy . . . or so I think.

  5. ThoodlesDoodles permalink

    Back in my bookstore day, I remember having to lug those big, heavy cardboard display shelves with big paperbacks and every month, it would be a new James Patterson book. 5 years working in a bookstore and I never read any of his books.

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