One evening the family sat around the dinner table eating when Little Brother let out a foul smelling fart.
“Excuse me.” Little Brother said politely. He didn’t mean to let one rip at the dinner table, it just sort of snuck up on him and out of him.
“That’s disgusting.” Big Sister snarled. “It’s rude to pass gas in the house.”
“I said excuse me. And it was an accident.” Little Brother said defensively.
“Of course it was an accident,” Father piped up, “But Big Sister is right. It is inappropriate.”
“And offensive.” Mother added pointing with her fork.
And so it was decided, from here on out, that flatulence was banned from the house. One could only fart outside, and anyone who failed to put their rear-end outside before bursting their stench from it was fined $2 to be added to a large jar on the dining room table.
This led to the family having many hurried attempts to get outside at random times and sometimes in questionable attire. Sometimes one only had enough time to jam their bottom through the window. They were able to see that this new rule was foolish, but it was the rule so they just went with it.
The money jar was going to go towards improvements for the family so even though it was a silly hassle it was going to benefit the entire family.
Shortly after, Little Brother noticed Big Sister reading a book from school.
“What’s that about?” He inquired with wide, curious eyes.
“It’s a book I have to read for school. It’s about a boy and a girl who fall in love but their families won’t let them be together, so they kill themselves.” Big Sister summed up for her smaller sibling. “It’s a romantic tragedy.”
“That’s horrible,” Little Brother scrunched his nose in disgust, “They’re in love.”
“And they kill themselves. I can’t believe they would put something horrible like that in a book. I shouldn’t have to read this.” Big Sister sat up. “This isn’t appropriate and this needs to change.”
Little Brother and Big Sister took their concern to Mother and Father.
“Well, these are some valid concerns. It does not seem to be in your best interest to allow you to read something that could be emotionally damaging.” Father agreed. “It’s time for us to ensure that our children only have access to good books, Mother.”
“I think it’s good to read about several things to encourage education, creativity and critical thinking.” Mother objected. She was fond of books, and the one that Big Sister was protesting was among her favourites.
Mother was outvoted and the family began to weed out the bad books.
“This one is about a boy with an imaginary friend. We don’t want to teach our children to make things up and live in a fantasy world.”
“Clearly this one is encouraging children to jump on their fathers. It must go.”
And so the pile of books to get rid of grew, each with a valid reason to be removed from the house for the safety of the children.
A psychology textbook was trashed so as to not offend anyone who may have mental illness and to discourage the children from developing a mental illness of their own through the power of suggestion. Talking animals, magicians and wizards, nightmare creatures, and loving couples all found a new home in the dumpster. History books filled to the brim with violence, slavery and war were discarded. Comics, cartoon characters and superheroes suffered the same fate. Science books could not prove to be an exception since they were full of reproductive parts, venomous creatures and horrific natural disasters. Even inspirational books were considered rubbish because they told sad stories before they became happy.
In the end of this particular purge, no books remained. Mother wept with sadness over the lost information, stories she’ll never visit again and tales never to be told now.
But it was best to protect her innocent children from the horrors of feeling unpleasant emotions.
And so it snowballed perhaps out of control over the course of two months. One member of the family would express displeasure or offense over something and it would become banned from the household. Many things came with fines that would collect in the large jar on the table. Sometimes one would claim offense just out of spite to another family member that had gotten one of their favourite things banned.
Big Sister demanded that guns were violent which led to the cleansing of the house of all guns, rifles, pop guns, water guns, cap guns and the list goes on, right down to the toy soldiers with their miniature plastic guns.
This angered Little Brother who took it upon himself to become outraged at the sight of half naked under-aged boy posters that plastered the walls of Big Sister’s bedroom. This one in particular spiraled so out of control that anything and everything that could possibly be viewed as sexual in any way was to be disposed of. This led to works of art being destroyed, old pictures of Mother and Father from their early adult years that could be considered questionable were burnt, Big Sister’s friend who was fond of wearing slinky tank tops was no longer allowed in the house, clothing that was considered revealing was donated, and any fruit or vegetable that resembled anything sexual…even vaguely, was barred from the house.
Mother complained about the shows the family liked to watch and the ways they used the computer and so those objects no longer had a place in the home. Video games were removed shortly after.
Father made comments about the stench of Mother’s cooking which led to a large variety of foods that could no longer be served. When Mother mentioned how appalled she was by the sugar and preservative content of their foods, the list of foods that was permitted in the house became so tiny that variety was no longer an option.
The wall paper was removed. The furniture was thrown away. Toys were donated to second hand stores. Friends were abandoned.
The money jar found a new home on the floor when the table was removed from the house. Everyone always added to the jar when they were fined for using offensive words such as bossy, stupid, lame or ugly. They also added to it when they made offensive smells or sounds like burping, farting, screaming, sweating or snoring. Yet the amount of money in the jar never actually seemed to increase and so it never could be used as it was intended.
There was always going to be somebody offended by something, and even when everything was gone the family still wasn’t happy. Instead, they were just bitter people feeling as if they’ve had their whole world taken away from them while being angry at those around them. Their world became smaller and darker as they became more disgruntled and the smaller and darker their world got, the harder it was for them to remember how to be happy and healthy.
In the end, Mother, Father, Big Sister and Little Brother sat in the dimly lit living room on the cold hardwood floor, legs crossed and looking at each other in misery until some fool piped up “I don’t like the way you’re looking at me.” and they were all forced to gouge out their own eyes.