THE STORY OF LITTLE JOHNNY
AKA “THE BUGS AND BUNNIES”
Little Johnny was in first grade, and he was six years old. One beautiful April afternoon, the teacher, Mrs. Wormgluts, was giving a math lesson and Johnny was daydreaming, his mind on anything but the lesson – you know how six year olds are. Seeing him staring out the window with his eyes focused far away, she called on him.
“Johnny! Johnny! JOHNNY!” she said.
“Huh? What?” he finally responded.
“Were you daydreaming in class, Johnny?” she asked.
“Uh-huh,” he said.
“Well, since it’s obviously more important than this math lesson, why don’t you tell the whole class what it is you were daydreaming about?” she demanded.
“I was just thinking about bugs and bunnies,” he said.
Her smug expression was replaced by one of deep horror.
“You were thinking about WHAT?” she demanded.
“I was just thinking about bugs and -” he began.
“I HEARD YOU!” she shrieked. “Get out of my classroom, you nasty little boy! Go to the principal’s office!”
Johnny was somewhat freaked out by this – he had never been sent to the principal’s office before. But he was an obedient lad, so off to the office he went.
Principle Snodbottom was surprised to see Johnny come in, since the boy was an excellent, well-behaved student.
“Johnny, what are you doing down here?” he asked in a kindly voice.
“Well, I was kind of daydreaming in class, and Mrs. Wormglut called on me,” Johnny explained. “She asked me if I was daydreaming, and I said uh-huh, and she made me tell the whole class what I was daydreaming about. But when I said it, she got really mad and called me a nasty boy and told me to go the office.” By the time he was finished, he was choking back tears.
“That seems a bit of an overreaction,” said Mr. Snodbottom. “But be honest with me, Johnny – what was it you were daydreaming about?”
“Well, I was just thinking about bugs and bunnies,” the boy said.
“You were thinking about WHAT?” the principal screamed, his kindly expression replaced by one of sheer rage.
“I was just thinking about -” the boy tried to explain.
“I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME!” screamed the principal. “Get out of my school! You are expelled, do you hear me!!”
Johnny was kind of freaked out by this. He’d never been expelled before. But he was an obedient lad, so he left the school, crying quietly to himself, and went home. His mother was doing housework, wearing high heels and a pearl necklace, humming a merry tune – you know how moms are! – and was surprised to see Johnny come walking in the door just after noon.
“Johnny, you didn’t tell me school was letting out early today,” she said.
“School didn’t let out early, Momma, I got expelled,” he explained.
“You what?” she was stunned. “What on earth for? How could they do that without calling me?”
“Well, I was kind of daydreaming during the math lesson, and Mrs. Wormglut called on me. When she saw I didn’t know what she was teaching, she made me tell the whole class what I was daydreaming about. I did, and it made her really mad and she sent me to the office. And the principle, Mr. Snodbottom, he was really nice until I told him what I was daydreaming about, and then he started yelling and told me I was expelled,” he said through his sniffles.
“I am going to call that school and give them a piece of my mind!” she exclaimed. “But son, first, in order to deal with this, I have to know what you were daydreaming about that got her so upset.”
“Well, I was just thinking about bugs and bunnies -” he began.
“You were thinking about WHAT?” she screamed the last word.
“ I was just thinking about -”
“I HEARD YOU!!!” she screamed, angry tears streaming down her face. “Go to your room! Just wait till your father gets home!”
Johnny was a bit freaked out by all of this. He’d never been sent to his room before. But he was an obedient child, so up the stairs he trudged to wait for his Dad. He cried into his pillow awhile, and complained to his stuffed animals about the injustice of the world. Finally he heard his father’s voice downstairs, along with a very loud, upset diatribe from his mother. Finally he heard firm footsteps ascending the stairs, and the door to his room opened.
His Dad sat down on the bed, put his arms around Johnny’s shoulders, pulled him close, and chucked him gently under the chin – you know how Dads are! – and began to speak.
“Now, Johnny, your mother is VERY upset, and I can’t make heads nor tails of this whole thing. Why don’t you tell me from the beginning exactly what happened today?” his Dad said.
“Well,” Johnny said. “we were doing math lessons and I was daydreaming in class, and Mrs. Wormglut called on me and when I couldn’t answer the question she made me tell the whole class what I was daydreaming about. I did, and she got really mad and sent me to the principal’s office. Mr. Snodbottom was really nice too, until I told him what I was daydreaming about. Then he yelled at me and told me I was expelled, so I came home. And then Momma made me tell her what my daydream was about, and she got really, really mad and sent me to my room!” Once more he was sniffling by the time he got to the end of the story.
His Dad heaved a long sigh.
“Well, son, it sounds to me like everyone has blown this thing way out of proportion,” he said. “I’ll calm your Mom down, and tomorrow I’ll call the school and see if I can get this whole expulsion thing taken care of. But first, Johnny, you have to tell me the whole truth. I need to know what you were daydreaming about.”
Johnny swallowed hard, and then spoke.
“I was just thinking about bugs and bunnies,” he began.
“You were thinking about WHAT?” his father roared, every vein on his forehead popping out in rage.
“I was just thinking about -” he tried to say.
“I HEARD YOU!!! Get out! Get out of my house! From this day forward, I have no son!” his father yelled.
Johnny was a bit freaked out by all of this. He’d never been disinherited before. But he was an obedient child, so he pulled on his jacked and wandered out the front door, not sure exactly where a dispossessed six year old was supposed to go.
After a few minutes it hit him – Grandma! Grandmas always understand, right? Of course, his grandma lived most of the way across town, so it was dark by the time he got there and rang the doorbell.
Grandma answered the door, her face a little flush from the warmth of the kitchen, a dab of flour on her cheek, the house filled with the aroma of good things baking – you know how grandmas are! – and smiled when she saw Johnny standing there.
“Johnny! The kids didn’t tell me they were bringing you by!” she exclaimed. “Where are they?”
“I walked,” he said.
“You walked?” she asked in amazement. “All the way across town? Do your parents know? They must be worried sick!”
“They’re not my parents anymore,” Johnny said. “Dad told me I wasn’t his son from this day on.”
She scooped Johnny up in her arms, carried him to the kitchen, and sat him down at a stool, placing fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and a glass of warm milk in front of him. After watching him chow down for a minute, she spoke.
“Now I want you to tell me exactly what happened before I call that no-good son-in-law of mine and pull his ears off!” she said.
Johnny finished his cookie, took a long drink of milk, and told the story.
“I was daydreaming in class this morning, and my teacher, Mrs. Wormglut, made me tell the whole class what I was daydreaming about. She got really mad when I said it and sent me to the principal’s office. Mr. Snodbottom seemed like he was really nice, but when I told him my daydream he yelled at me and expelled me from the school. So I came home and told my Mom, and she sent me to my room till Dad got home. Finally I told my Dad, and he got really mad and said I couldn’t be his son any more.”
Grandma’s jaw clenched in fury.
“I am going to deal the both of them!” she said. “This is the most awful thing I’ve ever heard!” She picked up the phone and started to dial, then stopped and looked back at Johnny. “Just out of curiosity, though, Johnny, what on earth were you daydreaming about, anyway?”
He heaved a long sigh, and whispered:
“I was just thinking about bugs and bunnies.”
Her face turned beet-red. “YOU WERE THINKING ABOUT WHAT?” she demanded.
“I was just thinking about -” the boy tried to explain.
“I HEARD YOU!” she shrieked, and then dumped the glass of milk over his head, and drop-kicked him out the front door.
Johnny was a bit freaked out by all of this. He’d never been drop-kicked by his grandma before – nor by anyone else, for that matter. But he was a resilient child as well as obedient, so he slowly trudged off into the night, and, having nowhere else to go, he turned himself in at the local orphanage.
There he was raised, there he went to school, and there he spent the rest of his youthful life never telling anyone where he came from or who his parents were. Because his status was so uncertain, he was never adopted, either. But, he was a bright and industrious boy as well as an obedient one, so he excelled at the orphanage school and graduated first in his class. He went to trade school and became an electrician, and by the time he was 25 he owned his own company.
Then he met Laura. She was a perfect match – sweet, outgoing, funny, and compassionate. Soon he was head over heels in love, and after dating her for six months, he popped the question and she said yes.
It was a fine summer afternoon about three weeks before their wedding, and they were sitting in the park , their backs against a tree, watching the ducks on the pond – you know how young lovers are! – when Laura turned and looked at him.
“Johnny,” she said, “You know all about my childhood. You know I got chicken pox when I was seven, you know about my parents divorcing when I was twelve, you know when I got my first kiss and when I saw my first R-rated movie – but you’ve never told me a thing about your childhood. Is there something you’re hiding?”
Johnny shrugged. “There’s not much to tell,” he replied. “I was raised in an orphanage.”
“That’s so sad!” she said. “How old were you when your parents died?”
“They didn’t die,” he said. “When I was six years old Dad disinherited me and threw me out of the house.”
“Disinherited? At SIX?” she said in disbelief. “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. What happened?”
“Well,” he said, “it’s a long story and I haven’t spoken of it in years.”
“I’d really like to hear it,” she said.
He sighed. “OK,” he finally replied. “You see, I was six years old and I was daydreaming in class. The teacher called on me, and then made me tell the whole class what I was daydreaming about. Well, when I said it, she got really, really mad and sent me to the principal’s office. I told him my daydream, and he expelled me from school on the spot. So I came home, and told my mom. She sent me to my room, but then when my Dad came in he made me tell him my daydream – and he disinherited me on the spot! As a last resort, I went to see my grandma. She was all sweetness and sympathy – until I told her my daydream, then she grabbed me and drop-kicked me onto her lawn. I had no place to go, so I came to the orphanage and turned myself in. And that’s where I grew up.”
Tears of sympathy coursed down Laura’s cheeks.
“You poor, poor baby,” she said. “That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. How strong and brave you must have been – and still are! To make something of yourself after such a horrible beginning. But there is one thing that is bothering me. What on earth were you daydreaming about that got everyone so upset?”
“I’d rather not say,” Johnny told her.
She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “I don’t blame you in the least,” she said.
But then he got to thinking. This is my fiancée, soon to be my wife. We’re going to make a home together, have kids together, grow old together – if I can’t trust her, who can I trust? So he finally spoke again.
“If you really want to know,” he began.
“I do, but only if you’re ready to talk about it,” she said.
“I think I am. It’ll do me good, after all these years, to get it off my chest. You see, Laura, all I was thinking about was bugs and bunnies,” he said.
“What was it?” she asked. “I couldn’t hear you.”
He sighed. “I was just thinking about bugs and bunnies,” he said in a normal tone of voice.
The color drained from her face. She leaped to her feet, both hands at her mouth, a terrible look of shock and horror on her face.
“NO!!!!!!!!” she screamed, and began running through the park.
Johnny ran after her, fleet as the wind, wanting to catch her, wanting to explain, wishing he could take those words back – but alas! In her shock and fear, she darted right out into a busy street and got creamed by a passing 18-wheeler.
The moral of the story is simply this:
LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CROSS THE STREET!
Wow.... I'll take Paul Lynde to block....