An­other one for the shame files


Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Mi­randa Mur­phy is a mother of three and a jour­nal­ist at The Aus­tralian. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @mur­phymi­randa

A WHILE back I wrote about the hor­ror of when your child blurts out a wildly in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ment about some­one else in pub­lic, like: “Hey mum, that lady’s got a beard!”

Well, there is a sub­species of the Ju­nior Em­bar­rass­ment Squad: the Ju­nior Moral­ity Po­lice.

In­formed by us par­ents drilling into them the evils of smok­ing, lit­ter­ing, swear­ing, etc, th­ese mod­ern-day witch-hun­ters scan the city for wrong­do­ers — prefer­ably adults — to point out and shame.

Nat­u­rally, smok­ers are top of their hit list. Poor old smok­ers, fac­ing not only the prospect of an early death but also the steely dis­gust of pri­mary-aged fin­ger-wag­gers.

“Euw — GROSS! That man’s SMOK­ING! Doesn’t he know he’s go­ing to DIE?” they mut­ter at the sight of some piti­ful puffer.

My kids were scan­dalised at the dis­cov­ery cars still come with cig­a­rette lighters. And they rightly re­serve a spe­cial place in hell for smok­ers who chuck their butts out of car win­dows.

Next, they are ea­gle-eyed for lit­ter­ers and will make an elab­o­rate show of pick­ing up af­ter them, an­nounc­ing: “I’ll just get this lit­ter that THAT LADY OVER THERE DROPPED AND DIDN’T PUT IN THE BIN.”

At home our garbage is sub­ject to strin­gent en­vi­ron­men­tal scru­tiny. “Just pop that in the rub­bish, would you?” I ask the four-yearold. “But this goes in the RE­CY­CLING,” he cor­rects.

Our lo­cal Moral­ity Po­lice are now tar­get­ing an­i­mal wel­fare, de­spite their com­plete un­in­ter­est in the care of the fam­ily gold­fish.

Shortly af­ter Christ­mas, my six-year-old, the great­est car­ni­vore since T.rex, de­clared that “meat is mur­der” and she was hence­forth go­ing veg­e­tar­ian — “ex­cept ham”. That lasted 24 hours.

My friend’s nine-year-old con­fronted her one cool day, point­ing at her mother’s feet and ad­mon­ish­ing: “Ocelots are en­dan­gered, you know.”

The mum looked down, flum­moxed, at the of­fend­ing items — her ugg boots. She pointed out that they were not ocelot but sheep’s wool. Her daugh­ter, un­de­terred, gave her a hard stare and scolded: “When the buy­ing stops, the killing stops.”

How­ever, the Ju­nior Moral­ity Po­lice them­selves are not above cor­rup­tion.

If any­thing screams racket, it’s the swear jar. It is a nice lit­tle earner the Curse Cops have got go­ing: they do some­thing that makes you cuss, then col­lect their dirty money when you sling an­other buck in the swear jar.

I de­mand an ICAC in­quiry.

There’s no es­cap­ing from the Ju­nior Moral­ity Po­lice.

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