Throwing Stones in the River… (On prayer, fire, farts, duck poop and politicians).

by joelmckerrow

My son throws stones into the river this morning like I throw hopes into the air every other morning.

I call them prayers. He calls them splats. Cause the water goes splat.

I sometimes wonder if my prayers do the same.


But the river holds the stones and the air holds the hopes and the sacred holds the prayers and the sun beats down on us both causing mist to smoke out of our noses and my son is overjoyed at the sight. He thinks I am on fire.

“Daddy fire. Daddy fire.” He is cheering and I am burning and the mist is rising and the river is flowing and an aeroplane flies overhead. I am slightly concerned he is so overjoyed at his daddy internally combusting, but I choose to ignore this.

I know I have been burning for a long time now and still have managed to not be snuffed out. A burning bush. My son is Moses. He is staring at my burning. I tell him that he shall set the people free. He agrees. Well, he contemplates this for a moment and then nods his head and says, “Bird poo.”  I take this as agreement. A confirmation of his mission in the world. To set the people free from the bird shit of their lives.

For he shall be called ‘Bird Shit Man’ and the people shall worship him for the way he cleans their skin and their porches and their statues. Like the statue of the stately man at the State Library that always has pigeon poop dripping down his cheeks. It messes with his decorum.


My son is throwing rocks at the ducks now. He takes his mission very seriously. He shall not just clean up bird poop he shall take on the source of the problem. The ducks themselves.

I decide I had better stop him before he actually hits one. He does not understand. He tells me he wants to set the people free. I tell him I think there is a less violent way to do so. He agrees. Well, he contemplates for a moment and says, “Daddy fart.”

It is true.

I did fart.

He is a smart child.

He stops throwing stones at the ducks and tries to make friends with them instead and I think to myself, if only it were so easy with the leaders of our world. When they misunderstand their mission and start throwing stones at others (insert any minority group or Arab country you’d like here), I wish I could take them throwing stones in the river with my son. I wish I could show them that its not nice to throw stones at ducks just like it is not nice to throw stones at people. I wish I could fart and they would think this is funny and they would forget all about the throwing of stones and they would try to make friends instead. Sometimes children are much easier to teach than presidents or prime-ministers.

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