Mr Pointy Nose
Once upon a time, there lived a happy family in a great wood: Mother and
Father, Brother, Sister and Baby. Father went off to work each day, and
Mother planted seeds and tended her garden and loved her children and
taught them to read and write. At night, when Father came home, the
family sang songs and laughed and played together.
One day while Father was away at work, a knock came at the door of the
family's home. Mother opened the door and found a stern man with sharp
teeth and a very pointy nose standing on the doorstep.
"May I help you?" Mother asked.
"I am here," snarled the man, "to inspect your home and your children."
Mother was surprised. "Whatever for?" she asked.
"It has been reported," snapped Mr. Pointy Nose, "that you do not
institutionalize your children, as is the norm. It has been reported
that you spend an abnormal amount of time with your children, and you
have been seen laughing with them, and they with you. It has been
reported that your teen child is not embarrassed to be seen with you and
that she smiles while working in your garden and hanging laundry. I will
have to inspect your house and ask you some questions."
Mother invited Mr. Pointy Nose in and offered him a cup of tea. Mr.
Pointy Nose pulled a great pile of papers from his briefcase and began
asking important questions: "How many television sets do you own, how
often do you dine out, why do you have so many books, what do you have
against institutions, why do you grow your own food, do your children
know who Madonna is, how about Beavis and Butthead?"
Mother was very kind and reassuring: "We have one television set in the
closet," she told Mr. Pointy Nose, "and we dine outside several times a
week in nice weather. We have so many books because we love to read. We
have no personal grudge against institutions -- we simply choose not to
institutionalize. We grow food to eat, and of course my children know
who the Madonna is. I'm not sure what a beavis is, and while butthead is a
rather crude term, I have known a few."
Mr. Pointy Nose seemed insulted by this last statement and jumped up in
a huff. "I must speak with your children," he announced.
Mother called Brother and Sister. Baby was too young to speak. Brother
was six years old and Sister was 13. Mr. Pointy Nose asked Brother,
“Have you ever heard of Beavis and Butthead?"
“Yes," said Brother. "We have beavers in the creek, and Butthead is my
Sister giggled, but Mr. Pointy Nose was not amused. He addressed Brother
again. "Do your parents ever yell at you?"
"You better believe it!" said Brother. "One time I climbed clear to the
top of a 30 foot tree, and Dad yelled and yelled at me to stay up there
till he could climb up, too. He doesn't get much time to climb trees,
and I think he yelled so much 'cause he was excited at the chance."
Mr. Pointy Nose turned in disgust and asked Sister, "Wouldn't you like
to be institutionalized with other children your age?"
"Well, most of my friends are institutionalized," Sister told him. "And
haven't been too impressed with it. They can hardly read anything –
they don't even like Charles Dickens. And they all hate history and math. I
like playing jump rope with them in the evening, but they talk about the
most boring things, like clothes and make-up and what's on TV, and... oh
-- I know who Beavis and Butthead are. Do you know who Mr. Pickwick is?"
"No," said Mr. Pointy nose curtly. "What sort of music do you listen
"Oh, Beethoven is my favorite. Did you know he went deaf and just kept
on writing music?"
"No," said Mr. Pointy Nose impatiently. "Why don't you listen to popular
Sister was surprised that a grown-up would ask such a question, but she
answered as politely as possible, "Because it sounds simply wretched."
"Wretched! Wretched!?" screeched Mr. Pointy Nose. "That is not a seventh
grade word! Where did you learn it?"
Mother had been in the kitchen preparing a snack of homemade bread and
strawberry preserves. When she heard Mr. Pointy Nose screech, she rushed
to the living room. "What's wretched?" she asked, a little alarmed.
"This child," Mr. Pointy Nose said indignantly, "correctly used the word
"Oh, I'm sure she wasn't referring to you," Mother said gently. "Here,
have some fresh bread and jam."
Mr. Pointy Nose looked at the tray in Mother's hands suspiciously, then
cautiously took her offering. As he ate he began to relax a little. "You
made this yourself?" he asked.
"Oh, yes," said Mother.
"And I helped," chimed in Sister. Then she added, "I'm sorry for
upsetting you. I didn't know you had an aversion to that word, or I
would never have said it."
"Aversion?" Mr. Pointy Nose sighed. He slumped in his chair and looked
at Mother. "How do you ever expect your children to fit into the world if
you don't institutionalize them, and you encourage them to develop
advanced vocabularies and you teach them self-sufficiency. This does not
coincide with the new way -- they must follow the new standards."
Mother looked at Mr. Pointy Nose thoughtfully. "I appreciate your
apparent concern, kind sir," she said, " but you see, I am not raising
children to follow standards -- I am raising them to set standards."
Mr. Pointy Nose looked around in a musing way and murmured, "Yes, yes. I
can see that." He left with a bread recipe and an invitation to visit
again some time.
~ Author Unknown