Just for easy reading…I babysit a 5-year-old named Pilot.

Pilot: (for the 43rd time this day) Margaret?

Me: No response.

Pilot: (for the 44th time this day) Margaret?

Me: (after a deep and painful sigh) Yes?

Pilot: I…my ring fell in the toilet.

Me: Well, get it out.

Pilot: I peed!!

Me: (seeing the ring at the bottom of a yellow toilet) Well…get it!

Pilot: (looking panicked) I…I can’t!!  It’s dirty!

Me: Well, it’s not my pee.  So you are going to have to deal with this situation.  I deal with situations all day long, do you understand me?  If I pee and drop something in my pee, I get something out of my pee, kid.

Pilot: (starting to cry) It’s my favorite ring!  It’s my favorite one!

sidenote:  Pilot has a counted collection of over a hundred rings.  Many repeats.  This one was a repeat.

Me: I’m not gettin’ it.

Pilot: (crying outright) I hurt so much.  I really…(gasping)…just…(gasping)…hurt!!

Me: (under my breath) Fuck!

I went into the kitchen and got five plastic grocery bags.  I stacked them one upon the other and then shoved my hand in there and…I went into the bathroom.  I got the ring, flushed the toilet, and washed my hands and the ring for close to five minutes.

Me: (handing the clean ring back to the little fart) You understand how wrong this was right?  You understand that the balance of my life has been shifted here.  Because I love you so much, you being in pain is the most horrible thing imaginable in my present existence.  I’m a writer.  Did you know that?  No.  Of course not.  You have no concept of the fact that I’m an artist.  That I have plans and goals and feelings?  Can you imagine what it’s like to be someone other than you for a second?  I could take this ring and throw it out the window and you wouldn’t remember tomorrow!  Do you understand that my love for you and care for your formative years and ideas of safety have completely shifted my ideas of life?  I do this for YOU kid.  This isn’t about me anymore, and I would appreciate a little acknowledgement of the downward slope in my life that makes degradation like this a possibility.  How about this?  A “thank you”?  Could you do that for me?  Could you possibly thank me for this delving into a level unimaginable to the ‘me that was’?

Pilot: (looking at me with the softest eyes imaginable) Sometimes I think you could actually walk on a rainbow if nobody was watching.

Me: (under my breath) Fuck.