The Shamrock That Was Patient Zero

Or: Why my wife is just the best.

Today, after church, I arrived at the area that my family convenes in prior to our exfiltration to the van. B, who is child 5 and has a personality the size of a continent, ran toward me excitedly brandishing a shamrock he had received in his kids’ Sunday School class.

The shamrock glittered and shone like the sweaty, fevered face of a diseased demon. It was covered in that wicked contagion called glitter.

As you can no doubt imagine, I threw myself backward rather ungracefully, forming my two index fingers into the sign of the cross at the cursed object my son had. “Where’d you get that?” I asked, rather appalled.

“My teachers made it for me,” he answered, somehow unaware of the vile contagion he was holding. “It’s so cool!” How has one of my children made it to the age of seven without understanding the truth of glitter?

“It’s covered in glitter,” I said.

“It’s so shiny!” He swung it my way. I dodged, almost screaming like a terrified vole at the sight of a plummeting falcon.

“Keep it away,” I said. I tended to a few other kids, then we all filed off to the van. In the van, I realized the youngest child had the shamrock. I got in, saying, “Burn it with fire!”

My kids wondered what I was talking about. As I drove us toward home, I said, “Glitter is a contagion. Once it gets on you, it never leaves. And if it gets near you, it’s getting on you. It’s worse than ebola.” I know, I’m a terrible, insensitive person. But it’s also true. The kids laughed, but you know they were thinking, “It’s funny because it’s true.”

My wise nine year old said, “That shamrock is patient zero.”

He has never spoken truer words. Meanwhile, my incredibly courageous wife had secured the shamrock from the 5 year old and set it on the van’s deep dashboard, quite far down and out of reach of little arms. I didn’t realize how smart she’d been until ten minutes later.

We continued to drive home and my wife and I had a conversation. It went something like this:

Me: “Somebody actually made that and gave it to B.”

She: “True story.”

Me: “I guess people just live different lives. Paradigms are so different all around the world.”

She: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, some people, like the ones who made that glitter-crusted shamrock, allow glitter in the home. And since they allow it in the home, it’s naturally everywhere. So the only world they know is a glitter-filled one.”

She: “Yup, true enough.”

Me: “So they don’t know what it’s like to be uncontaminated by glitter.”

She: “Or cheese.”

[Pause for laughter.]

Me: “So it’s like two different worlds. And we live in the one without glitter.” I consider this for a moment. “We have no-glitter privilege, don’t we?”

[Pause for laughter. But it’s funny because it’s true.]

She: “We do.”

And the rest of the drive home was filled with our kids doing their intricate games of hand characters, raucous voices, and inconsiderate giggles.

We pulled into the driveway and everyone was getting out of the car. The five year old had apparently taken ownership of the glitter-scabbed shamrock. He said, “But the shamrock! I need to get it!”

I laughed wickedly. “Go ahead and try to reach it.”

He didn’t, knowing full well his woefully stumpy arms weren’t long enough for the Mr. Fantastic-level task.

Before he could launch into a whiny cry, back came my heroic wife. She took him in a tight hug and said, “W, come here.” She CARRIED HIM OUT OF THE VAN AND LIFTED HIM UP. “See what a nice decoration it is for the van? You can see it so nicely out here.”

And the 5 year old agreed.

The shamrock, patient zero of the glitter infestation that tried to invade our home, is still safely contained deep on the van’s steppe-sized dashboard. Because my wife is brilliant.

So tell me, just how far are you willing to go to keep the scourge of glitter out of your home?

About jaredgarrett

Jared Garrett is the author of Beat, a YA scifi thriller, and its forthcoming sequel, both published by Future House Publishing. A new series, debuting in January 2016 and also published by Future House, kicks off with Lakhoni, a fast-paced rescue adventure in a world reminiscent of Aztec culture, to be released in January 2016. He self-published Beyond the Cabin, a novelization of his childhood in a cult, in December 2014. Both Beat and Beyond the Cabin were Whitney Award nominees, and his story Song of the Wind, received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. In addition to writing, he's spent fifteen years in adult education and is an accomplished public speaker and workshop leader.
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