So the other day we had a fireman come knock on our door. I answered it and all the kids swarmed around to see what was up. He told us that there has been a lot of arson in our neighborhood lately (we live just outside what is apparently one of the roughest parts of the city) and particularly there had been a lot of fires started just across the field at the neighboring farm. He was wondering if we had happened to see anything suspicious, or any shady characters “skulking about” lately. I told him that no I hadn’t seen a thing – and he left me a little packet of materials about arson and his phone number in case we saw anything that should be reported.

And that was that. I took the packet inside and plunked it on the counter and went off to finish whatever it was I was doing. But later that afternoon I discovered that the children had been occupying themselves for the last few hours by planning what they would do if the fiendish person named “Arson” showed up at our house. They had worked up all kinds of elaborate schemes with which to foil his plans – and they told me that they even knew what he looked like because there was a picture of him in the packet of literature that the fireman had left.

I thought it was so funny that I postponed the crucial moment when I would have to tell them that there actually was no such person as Arson – I let them finish telling me all the ways in which they would make him wish he’d never been born and how he’d think twice before messing with the Merkles again. But eventually I thought that I needed to clear up this misunderstanding. I explained to them that “arson” was an activity and not, as they were all assuming, a proper noun. I told them that it’s like murder or stealing or cheating . . . it’s something that you DO.

At which point, one of them said, “Wow. No wonder his name is Arson then.”

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7 thoughts on “Arson Alert

  1. Oh, mistaken identities! Ours never believed in Santa Claus but it took me years when they were little to convince them that Christmas presents were from out of state grandparents, NOT the UPS man! (But mom, he brought them to the house!)

  2. That is hilarious! I always wonder what goes on in those little kid minds. It’s funny when you hear a snippet. I’m glad to hear they are so well prepared to defend the Merkle household! Too cute.

  3. I’m wondering if in my home, they’d say, “No wonder his name is Our Son then.” ! Nah… surely not! 🙂

  4. LOL, in 6th grade we had to take turns giving a morning news summary. One day Kevin was telling about a house fire. He was confused that the police had made no arrests in light of the fact that the article said, “Police believe Mr Arson was involved.” The teacher had to make him re-read it to see that it did not, in fact, say “Mr” and then look up the word “arson.” Kevin heard about that clear till graduation.

  5. Many years ago I was looking over a list in the church narthex with upcoming Sunday School class topics and the last name of each teacher. Next to one of the classes was written “Pending.” I couldn’t for the life of me think of who Mr. Pending was–until someone pointed out that it wasn’t a name.

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