12 Every ant and fly, hammered

“Send ’em a message!” Drew repeated silently, mimicking Granny Guss. It was, as noted before, how babies learned. He reflected and quoted her again. “Send ’em a message.” Then interrogatively, he turned it into an apercu of history and intent and diction. “Send ’em a message?” He questioned the very use.
“Egad!” thought baby Drew (as always, in infantile approximations of the vernacular represented here. It may have taken shape something like “‘g’!”). “Wasn’t that a political slogan, and a perverse one, to put it mildly? Yes, yes, ’twas George Wallace’s slogan, and a mean way of putting things, indeed. Not exactly ‘I Like Ike.'”
Baby Drew was the exception to the rule. Constant exposure to television was not harmful to him. In lieu of parental devotion, he soaked up the lessons of The History Channel and its facsimiles whenever Granny Guss keeled over from somnolence and squashed the remote in that edifying way. No one in the household dared dislodge it, so the baby watched uninterrupted instruction for hours and hours while the Guss Family pageant ran limitlessly.
“A churlish slogan, not at all nice,” baby Drew goo-gooed. “On the other hand . . .” he paused (“O’h’h’r [with a gurgle worthy of stylish denizens of the 4th Arrondissement] ‘nd”), and hammered away at every ant and fly in reach.


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