Vinnie Says He Was Only Trying to be Helpful



Vinnie is sitting at the breakfast bar, an afterschool snack of sliced apples coated with peanut butter are on a plate in front of him. Rupert sits on the counter smiling at Vinnie. Dexter lies on the floor next to Vinnie’s stool hoping something falls off Vinnie’s plate into his awaiting mouth. Dexter’s not particular, he’ll eat anything that drops off Vinnie’s plate.

Vinnie glances at his plate, then looks up at his mom who’s cutting vegetables on a cutting board. Vinnie says, “Mom, how come I can’t have a healthy snack like Joey or Larry when I come home from school.”

Vinnie’s mom turns her head toward Vinnie, “You have a healthy snack. It will give you energy and not ruin your appetite for one of your favorite meals.”

Vinnie says, “Are you making pizza?”


“Spaghetti and meatballs?”


“Hamburgers and fries?”


“I don’t have any other favorite foods, Mom.”

“I am making veggie delight. It’s a combination of healthy veggies sautéed in my special sauce with quinoa.”


“You haven’t tried it, so it might be one of your favorite foods after you eat it. Why did you get five time-outs today?”

“The first time was right after Dr. Cashman made the morning announcements.”

“What did you do, Vinnie, to get put in time out?”

“I started clapping. Mrs. Mavis gave me her look and I raised my hand. She said, “What is it Vincent? I said, I was clapping because Dr. Cashman made a great announcement. I would have whistled too, but I thought whistling might be too much of a surprise for you.”

“She put you in time-out for that? That doesn’t sound fair.”

“Not exactly, Mom.”

“What, Vincent?”

“I said, Mrs. Mavis listen how loud I can whistle. I whistled the way Uncle Mike taught me. The kids all liked it. Mrs. Mavis told me to go to time-out for five minutes. I didn’t get sent to the office, that’s a good thing, right, Mom?”

“What about the other four times you were put in time-out, Vinnie.”

“Mom, I ate my apple slices. If I finish my homework really, really, really, fast, can I go to Joey’s house?”

“You are not going to Joey’s house to eat. Why do you want to go to Joey’s house?”

“We’re going to play football. Can I go, Mom? I’ll be home for your great meal.”

“Before you start your homework, tell me about the four time-outs, Vinnie.”

Vinnie sips his apple juice, glances down at Dexter, “Sorry, Buddy, nothing worth giving you today. I got put in time-out for asking four questions, Mom.”

“What were the questions, Vinnie?” Vinnie’s mom fears the worse knowing it will lead to a request from the school for a conference.

“It all started with the announcements, Mom. Dr. Cashman announced that next Friday there are no classes because we have to spend the day at work with one of our parents or a relative or someone else who has our parents’ permission.”

“That’s exciting. You can go to work with Dad.”

“That’s a good idea, Mom. Dad can teach me how to be a mouthpiece for the mob.”

“Vincent, Dad is not a mouthpiece for the mob. How many times do I have to tell you that?”

“I heard it at school, Mom.”


“Yah, Sara said her Mom heard it from Melissa’s mom who heard it from Rachael’s mom.”

“Oh, dear.”

“Mom, if Dad can’t teach me to be a mouthpiece for the mob, can I spend next Friday with Uncle Mike?”

“Sweet Mother of God, I need some help?”

“You asking Mary to help you with dinner, Mom? Do you think Mary made Jesus pizza every night? If Jesus changed the water into wine, can he change your healthy dinner into pizza?”

“Vincent, what was your question?”

“I finished my math quiz and I was bored. I raised my hand and Mrs. Mavis asked what I wanted. I asked her 321 was the correct answer to the first question.”

Vinnie’s mom takes a deep breath, “We’re other children still taking the quiz.”

“Uh huh. I wanted to help them. That’s a good thing, right, Mom?”

Vinnie’s mom already knows what’s coming, she says, “I suppose when you were in time out, you raised your hand and mentioned another answer.”

“You’re really smart, Mom. But, not as smart as Rupert.”

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