What’s a Mother to Do?
by Ann Edwards Cannon

Chapter 4
The True Reason Why Guys Have Been in Charge of the World 

[p.12]Up until now I have been confused about a particular issue, namely why men have been the ones in charge of the world. It’s not that I don’t like men. Some of my best friends are men. In fact, as I have pointed out to friends and family before, I even married one. It’s just that I’ve never exactly understood why we would entrust serious matters such as national security to individuals who refuse to stop and ask for directions when they’re lost.

For a while I thought I’d never learn the answer to this question, that it would remain a puzzle to me just like certain other cosmic mysteries such as why I always pick the slowest moving line at the grocery store. This happened to me again the other day, as a matter of fact,

when I stopped at Albertson’s on the way to a wedding in order to buy a pair of nylons, preferably without runs in them. I was in a hurry, so I picked what appeared to be the shortest line. There was one well-groomed woman in it, buying a single box of Kix. The checker rang the order up and announced the price.

“Wait a minute,” said the well-groomed woman with the Kix. “I think I actually may have clipped a coupon for this.”

Even now, as I write, I feel compelled to let out one of those bitter snorts you’re always reading about. Shortest line? Ha! The well-groomed women with the Kix pulled out a wad of coupons as thick as your hand from her very expensive Daytimer and began going through them one by one. Now ordinarily I am filled with a respect bordering on awe for people who do coupons since I myself can never find any scissors with which to clip in our house, but this time I thought I’d lose my mind since the couple whose wedding I was supposed to attend got married and had a couple of kids who were well on their way to puberty while I waited for this women to locate her Kix coupon.

“Excuse me,” I finally said, “but just exactly how big of a savings are we talking here? Fifteen cents? A quarter? How about if I give you [p.13]the money SO YOU’LL JUST BUY THOSE KIX AND GO AWAY?”

She didn’t answer me, no doubt because I was a stranger ranting right there in the middle of Albertson’s with no pantyhose on. Also I was being so incredibly snotty you’d have thought I was in junior high school again. In retrospect, of course, I’m deeply ashamed of myself, and I live in terror that one day she and I will meet again socially because our children will grow up and many each other. But I digress.

As I was saying, I used to spend a lot of time wondering why guys have been the ones in charge until this spring when the answer became perfectly clear to me. My husband, Ken, and I were at Dylan’s kindergarten graduation program which featured the children performing. Basically, this is what happened:

The little girls totally upstaged the little boys.

The little girls knew all the words and all the hand motions and all the dance steps, while the little boys just stood there looking like they’d gotten off at the wrong bus stop.

Half way through the program, one of the little girls turned around and actually started mouthing the words to my son, Dylan, who was too busy watching a fly to notice that she was trying to help him along.

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed the fact that little girls are much more advanced than little boys. My friend’s girl baby, for instance, can practically buy her own shoes on sale, let alone put them on, whereas my boy baby, who is exactly the same age, still thinks that shoes are something you stuff in your mouth.

“Have you ever noticed how girls seem to develop faster than boys?” I asked Ken on the way home from Dylan’s program.

“Are you kidding?” he said. “I was the only male in a family full of sisters. They did everything better than I did. So did the girls at school.”

“Speaking of girls doing things better than boys, did I ever tell you that I once beat Jose deHoyos in the fifty-yard dash when we were in the sixth grade?”

Jose deHoyos was the fastest boy in the entire school and I whipped him one day at recess even though I was wearing a dress and he wasn’t. To this day, beating Jose still rates as one of my favorite life memories.

[p.14]Ken sighed. “See what I mean?”

“So what happened?” I asked. “How did guys grow up to be the ones in charge?”

“Well,” said Ken philosophically, “boys catch up with girls eventually, and when they do, frankly, they’re pretty mad about all those years they spent looking like dorks in kindergarten programs and so forth. They get even by refusing to cut women in on the adult action.”

“That’s not fair,” I pointed out.

“Very true,” he agreed, “which is why things are changing.”

“Well,” I huffed, “I’m certainly all for change.”

And I am, too, although I don’t believe for a second that the little girls will stop showing up the little boys in the near future.

Some things will always stay the same.