Make Friends. Wet Your Pants.
I love children.
People say that children are our future, which is why I asked my two kids what next week's lottery numbers would be. Neither of them answered. Well, I don't think either one did. My youngest responded with a screech and ran to the bathroom where she immediately started peeing, but I couldn't think of how that would relate to the Powerball.
My point is that children know a lot of stuff that we don't. Things that perhaps we once knew but have been lost in the misty mists of time. Things like how to go to the bathroom in front of large groups of people. In our underwear. Or how to utterly decimate a room in less than the time it takes for a person to remove the key from an open front door after coming home from a long day of errands. Or even how to be friends.
What? you say. Friends? I can be friends.
Maybe so. But not like kids. My daughter, for example, is known to yell out loudly, "Hey, let's be friends!" to people passing by up to 3.2 miles away. Not only that, but she keeps doing it until the object of her attention turns around, acknowledges her, and responds in the affirmative. She then lets us know that she has a new best friend, and is euphoric, until the next stranger passes by...at which time she repeats the process and a new new best friend is born. Kids can get away with that, and it's really amazing. I tried something similar recently, but all I got for my trouble was a couple of very strange looks and a restraining order.
Fine, maybe I shouldn't have followed the person all the way home, then danced around the house screaming "Be my friend!" at the top of my lungs. But I figured that was what my youngest would have done. I even tried to wet myself, on the off chance that would contribute to the cuteness of the overall scene, but all I managed to do was make some very interesting faces while standing very still. Which just made it that much easier for the police to slap cuffs on me.
See what I'm saying? Kids know how to make friends. Wouldn't it be cool if the leaders of nations were able to do the same thing? Can you just picture the President meeting with the head of some nation we're afraid of/don't like/have it in for, and instead of the two of the world leaders posturing, they both hug, ask "Do you want to play?" and then wet their pants?
Okay, the pants-wetting part is optional. It would probably just confuse things if right after asking "Do you want to play?" the two men's mommies had to come up with a change of pants. But still, you see where I'm going, right?
When do we lose this ability to make instant, life-long connections? I think it probably happens the first time we go to school and one of the bigger kids comes over and bullies us, which instantly changes our perspective. That's why I'm advocating that all kids older than me be locked up somewhere. I'd like to be the oldest kid on Kid Island. That would not only make it easier for me to conquer the rest of the kids, but would also make it so that we could all be friends. Because I'd make it a rule that we had to be friends. Or die. I'm a kind and wise ruler like that.
Maybe that's what we need. Maybe we need a police state (yes, I know, some people think we're already there...just pretend you don't think that for purposes of this essay). And instead of it being a police state that is interested in proving that you "don't belong" or that you're an "enemy combatant" or that you "are ugly" (thanks, home town, for passing the Anti-Michaelbrent Ordinance of '06), this would be a police state that exists solely to require that we make friendsies with someone new every single day.
I think that would be cool.
Government Guy: Do you have your papers?
Me: What papers?
GG: Your papers proving you have made a friend today, signed by said friend?
Me: Yes, yes, they're right here.
GG: Good. Your papers seem to be in order. Lucky thing, or we would have thrown you in our jail for political prisoners.
The jail would be, of course, a bounce house full of cranky people who would have to stay in said bounce house until they had been "reeducated" (aka "learned not to be cranky"). If that didn't work, the next level of reeducation would be to be immersed in a vat of tiny, cute kitties until you gave in and laughed.
I think that day is coming. I think we're close to a time where that kind of law gets passed. If for no other reason than if you let an infinite number of monkeys type for an infinite time, one of them would eventually end up writing the entire works of William Shakespeare. We have fewer monkeys (aka "Congresspeople"), and our monkeys have only been working on their typewriters (aka "Writing bills") for just over two hundred years, but you still have to admit that it's statistically bound to happen at some point.
So go out. Make a friend. Meet someone on the street. Smile.
It's going to be a law soon anyway. You might as well.
Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally bestselling novelist and screenwriter. You can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings, on Twitter @mbcollings, or you can sign up for his mailing list here.