The art of the perfect guilt-trip

By the time I was about 15, I was well-practiced in the art of getting out of trouble (and I was in trouble a LOT. My attitude by then was at an all time high). The secret? Making Tutti laugh. In most cases, laughing made her even more enraged, but it’s very hard to maintain rage when you’re gasping for breath, your upturned mouth betraying your fury.

On one particular occasion, though I can no longer remember my misdemeanor, I was sent to bed without dinner. Tutti had slow-cooked a delicious shoulder of lamb that night, and I was especially embittered to be denied such a scrumptious plate of food.

So what did I do? Did I kick and scream and carry on? Oh no. My strategy was much more targeted. I went upstairs and pulled out my best note card. On one side, I drew a picture. On the other, I wrote a note. Then I slipped silently downstairs, and while the kitchen was empty, buried the card in the middle of the mountain of succulent lamb, before silently retreating to my bedroom.

Halfway through serving out the dinner, Tutti was confronted by the oil-sodden, meaty-juiced corner of an envelope. She pulled it out. Opened it. Laughed.

This is what she saw:

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Side 1

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Side 2

The lamb, by the way, was delicious. Especially in the face of sweet victory.

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