Thursday, April 15, 2021

Equal Rights by Andrew Ball

“I’m bored... Bored, bored, bored.”
“Wanna play a game, then?”
“Okay; what shall we play?”
“I know! Let’s play ‘Protagonists and Secondary Characters’. I’ll be the protagonist; you can
be the secondary character.”
“But you’re always the protagerist. Why can’t I be the protagerist this time?”
“You just can’t.”
“Why not?”
“’Cos you’re a girl, and girls can’t be protagonists. Daddy said so. Anyway, I bet you don’t
even know how to do it.”
“Do what?”
“Protagonize, of course.”
“Do you?”
“Er... Yes; at least I think so.”
“Go on, then; do it.”
“Well, first you have to stand like this... see? And then you wave your arms around like
this...”
“You look silly.”
“Well, I can’t do it properly unless I have a viewpoint. Protagonists always need viewpoints,
so I’m going to build one right here behind the settee. Oh, don’t pout like that; you can
share it if you want to.”
“Why should I want to share your stupid viewpoint? It’s all one-sided. Mine’s over here by
the window, so it’s much more enlightened than yours. And no boys allowed!”
“Ha! Your position is indefensible! I can attack your viewpoint from all sides.”
“Go on then; make my day. Start protagerizing.”
“I can’t; I need ten things about me first.”
“What sort of things?”
“Oh, you know... Just things.”
“Do I get to have ten things too?”
“No; secondary characters only get to have nine things.”
“That’s no fair! I want ten things, like you.”
“Hey, what are you doing? Stop it! Let go of my thing!”
“Shan’t!”
“Children? What’s all that noise?”
“She’s holding onto my thing, Mom, and she won’t let go!”
“She’s doing what? Roberta! Stop that this instant!... Oh! For a minute there I thought...
Well, never mind.”
“But Mom, I need his thing so I can be the protagerist.”
“The word is ‘protagonist’, honey.”
“But girls can’t be protagonists, can they, Mommy? Daddy told me.”
“Oh, he did, did he? Well, you listen to me, sweetie. You don’t need a thing like your brother
to be a protagonist. Girls can do it every bit as well as boys.”
“You mean... Daddy’s wrong?”
“Yes! Er... No! Well, maybe he’s a little confused. I’ll sort him out - I mean we’ll sort it out -
later this evening, okay? In the meantime, you kids must play nicely together; you must play
by the rules.”
“Rules, Mom? What are the rules?”
“They’re called Robert’s Rules, sweetheart; your Dad uses them at work all the time. They’re
all in this book here. Now, you read the rules and play quietly while I finish making dinner.”
“Cool! Now I can protagonize properly. Let’s see what the rules say. Hmm... First, we need
to choose a Chair. This one’ll do.”
“What’s that for?”
“I guess it’s for me to stand on while I protagonize. But apparently I can’t do that unless I
have a quorum.”
“Like where I keep my goldfish?”
“That’ll have to do. And then - you’re not going to believe this! - the rules say we have to
pass a motion.”
“What? Right here in the living room? I don’t think Mom’s going to like that.”
“You’re right. We’d better skip that one.”
“Okay... You’ve got your viewpoint, your ten things about you, the rules, a Chair, and a
quorum. Now are you ready to protagonize?”
“I need to choose who I want to be first. I think I’ll be the President, ‘cos he’s got all the best
words.”
“What about me? What am I?”
“You can be a Board member.”
“But I was bored before we even started this stupid game! Next time, I’ll be the protagonist,
and we’ll play by Roberta’s Rules.”

© Andrew Ball

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