The Wise Teachings of the Practically Nine

Lissa Explains It All For You

I can tell you the secrets of boys. But these are not my epiphanies.  These are not my teachings.  I am only the messenger, but I feel I was recently in the presence of greatness and should spread the word.

The first note was written inside a sheet of pink paper folded in the sacred origami of grade school.  Lissa, whom I’d just met, passed it to me with a look of urgency.  She was eight years old. “Practically nine,” she added.  Like all the great teachers she was small, bossy, with unruly hair and a cherry-red stain across her upper lip from an addiction to Kool-Aid.

I unfolded the note to read:

Met me on the bach poch tomorow. I will tech you ever thing I know

Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet her the next day. I told Lissa I only had a few hours left of watching her while her parents were out for the night. If she wanted to share her secrets, she’d have to do it right then and there in her kitchen, and quickly.

She scrunched her face, already frustrated with me, and reached for a fresh sheet of pink paper. Within a few minutes she tossed another carefully folded note across the table.  She closed her eyes and quietly hummed a Lady Gaga song to herself.  The prophet needed rest from my idiocy.

The new letter read:

Five Three Things That You Know

  1. Boy’s have 3% chemicals in them.
  1. Boy’s have smaller brains than grils.
  1. Boy’s hate when you said hey.

I asked Lissa if she could elaborate.

“More?!” she shrieked!  “I’ve been writing all night!  This is taking forever! Why can’t you just get it?”

“I’m sorry.  I just don’t understand.  What kind of chemicals do you mean?”

She sighed. She flopped herself onto the table.  She got herself more Kool-Aid.  And then she went back to her scribbles.  Soon another pink sheet of paper was tucking and folding between her hands.

Another note.

  1. Girls have 100% chemical
  2. Ham is the best food.
  3. Boys have blue chemical
  4. Girls have red chemical
  5. This is all in my book “All About Boys” I am writing 100% truths.

I told her I still didn’t quite understand.  “Is ham part of the chemical?”

Lissa slapped her face in exhaustion. “We have more chemicals than boys do because we are a lot smarter than they are,” she said.  “Everybody knows that. It’s like, number two of things you learn.”

She stopped, looked around the kitchen, and then put her finger over her mouth to make sure I didn’t say anything.  She then dragged one of the chairs from under the table over to the kitchen door, propping the back of the chair under the doorknob.

“Where did you learn how to do that?” I asked.

She rolled her eyes.  “Scooby-Doo.”

“Of course.  Sorry.”

“You want to get a boy’s attention?” she asked. “Do not say ‘hey’ to them.  It’s annoying. If you want to get a boy’s attention you have to call his name or walk up to him and say, ‘Hi.’”

“What’s the difference?”

“Boys get distracted when you say ‘H-E-Y.’  What is that, how you talk to your friend?  How you yell at someone on the street?  It’s rude.  Boys don’t like it when you talk to them like you’re another boy who is mad at them or wants to play soccer.  It’s complicated to get to know boys. Trust me. I dated one since the first grade and he cheated on me.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Do you mean he–?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. I just know boys don’t listen when you say, ‘Hey.’ I know that now.”

I thanked her for her wisdom.  “I really learned a lot tonight,” I said.

“I can teach you,” she said, placing her small hand on top of mine.  “Can you give me your address and your phone numbers and your email accounts?  Because you have a lot to learn.”

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