It’s ten o’clock. I’ve put the boy to bed. I’ve cuddled. I’ve kissed and hugged. I’ve discussed the meaning of life. Now, I’m sitting with my tea and a book.

Stomp, stomp, stomp. A little face appears in the threshold.

“Can someone help me with the blankets?”

“No. Go to bed.” I should be able to sit down once or twice a year without “Help me, get this, MOMMY, MOMMY I NEED WATERRRRR!!” I just watched a survival show. They got chucked in the woods naked. I’m here to tell you not one person died from not having water for 8-12 hours.


“But I need help. The blankets are wrong.”  It’s the same game every night. It’s either food, water, blankets, or a monster…anything to get out of bed. It’s better for all parties involved if I get up because if my husband gets up again, life as Declan knows it will end.

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 6.55.10 AMI walk down the hall into The Room, which has been ransacked. This explains the problem with the blankets. I check around. Nothing critical has been stolen–the matchbox cars, cardboard scraps, corner-eaten board books, the nearly moldy half-apple on the nightstand. And heaven forbid, the dinosaur collection. All present and accounted for. No criminal in site. We’re safe for the moment. But I am not happy.

“WHAT happened HERE?” I inquire.

Declan stares right into my eyes. “Alvin did it.”

Alvin the Chipmunk. The imaginary friend. Declan memorizes movies. The chipmunk movie left us with six imaginary friends, Alvin being the most nefarious. Alvin is responsible for all mischief in the house. He comes with us on all road trips. He walks beside us in the store. People watch us while Declan discusses the meaning of life with Alvin and disciplines him when necessary.

This got me to thinking. I need an imaginary friend. Hmm….. Who could it be… That’s it!!  Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 6.56.46 AMMr. Green Jeans. Mr. Green Jeans can help me around the house and with the garden. And when I fail to get something right, I can blame him.

“I didn’t leave the door open. It was Mr. Green Jeans.”

“Mr. Green Jeans didn’t get around to cleaning the kitchen. And he messed up my dresser, too.

“My teacher evaluation data isn’t finished because Mr. Green Jeans didn’t finish the pile of correcting. He was responsible for the graphs. I was supposed to be teaching.”

“Mr. Green Jeans burned your dinner, here’s a salad instead.”

I think it will work. I think of all the times I threatened to bring Alvin to the ASPCA.  I should have been thanking him instead. Because now, I will have Mr. Green Jeans to help me explain away the chaos that is my life.

I went running yesterday. I pushed by a tangle of vines growing from a stone wall, when all of a sudden I saw something dead on the side of the road. A chipmunk. Squashed.

Alvin? God, I hoped not. I still hadn’t thanked him for Mr. Green Jeans. I went home frightened, and said nothing. Declan was in the yard.

“Have you seen Alvin?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. There was a living, scurrying chipmunk five feet away from us under a tree, digging up a nut and watching us both.

“Phew. There he is,” I said.

“That’s not Alvin,” Declan replied. “That’s….” the chipmunk sprung away, “Leapster. He jumps high.” I’m sorry. They all look alike to me. Sort of like freshmen trying to dress goth when the school year begins.

With a nod, Leapster ran off into the woods, making the promise he’d be back later that day to make sure Alvin to destroyed something.

It was a promise he kept, as I found torn up egg cartons and a million boxes littering my dining room. Alvin was making a maze.

I turned to the figure at my left. “Mr. Green Jeans,” I said. “Go clean the cellar. It’s horrific.”

“I’m not doing it,” he replied, standing firm. “Alvin made the mess!”  My own imaginary character revolting and shifting the blame. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work!

In either case, blaming people is an important part of American culture. Put this effective strategy to work for you today. Do it now–go mess something up and blame the nearest person. You’ll feel great immediately. It’s a tactic that works every time. It works in law, government, education, corporate America, business, banking… Why not follow suit? Once you get the hang of it, do it at least once a day. It’s fun. Then take the extra time you have in not remedying the situation and…

You guessed it…

Enjoy just one more cup of coffee.  On me.

And Alvin, I suppose, too.

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