Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Joy of Growing Up

By Paul Nichols

Don’t ask.
Don’t speak unless spoken to. Don’t interrupt. Don’t talk back.
Don’t leave the gate open. Don’t leave the door open.
Don’t pick your nose. Don’t hunch like that.
Don’t squirm in church. Don’t whistle in the house.
Don’t play with your food. Don’t sing at the dinner table.
Don’t leave the lid off. Don’t leave the milk out.
Don’t bug me. Don’t come on my side of the back seat. Don’t tease your sister.
Don’t tattle.
Don’t answer the phone. Don’t play on the phone. Don’t play in the street.
Don’t climb on the fence. Don’t swing on the screen door.
Don’t forget. Don’t make so much racket.
Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t cross the street.
Don’t point guns at people—not even toy guns.
Don’t run with scissors. Don’t poke your eye out.
Don’t whine or I’ll give you something to whine about.
Don’t slouch.
Don’t take such big bites. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Don’t chew with your mouth open.
Don’t wipe your hands on your pants. Don’t wipe your nose on your sleeve.
Don’t drink milk from the carton. Don’t eat ice cream from the carton.
Don’t leave the tools lying around. Don’t leave your bike in the middle of the driveway.
Don’t do that. Do what? You know: poot. You mean fart? Don’t say that.
Don’t bite your fingernails. Don’t bang on the piano.
Don’t use up all the hot water. Don’t forget to brush.
Don’t smoke.
Don’t chew. Don’t go out with girls who do.
Don’t drink. Don’t drink and drive.
Don’t throw that ball in the house. Don’t run in the house. Don’t slam the door.
Don’t let the dog out. Don’t let the flies in.
Don’t tease the girls. Don’t get out of my sight.
Don’t get those pants dirty, young man. Don’t step in that pudd…
Don’t do anything till you’ve finished your homework. Don’t pout.
Don’t point.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t spend it all in one place.
Don’t play with matches. Don’t worry about it. Don’t believe everything you hear.
Don’t leave a ring in the bathtub. Don’t leave your clothes lying on the floor.
Don’t sit on the arm of the chair. Don’t dive from the edge of the pool. Don’t look back.
Don’t come out till I say so. Don’t say another word. Don’t move a muscle.
Don’t let the clutch out so fast. Don’t stay out too late. Don’t make me laugh.
Don’t open before Christmas.
Don’t peek. Don’t sulk.
Don’t end a sentence with a preposition. Don’t color outside the lines.
Don’t look at other people’s papers. Don’t run in the hallway.
Don't go up the down staircase.
Don’t talk in the library. Don’t come back till you’re finished. Don’t drag your feet.
Don’t forget your manners. Don’t go getting yourself in trouble.
Don’t paint yourself into a corner.
Don’t touch it. Don’t lose it. Don’t spill it.
Don’t be late. Don’t be silly. Don’t be nosy.
Don’t cry, honey.

I’m proud to say I never left the gate open—and don’t you forget it.

©2007 Paul Nichols

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