A fractious day among the young gentleman leads to an emotional Primus storming into the house from the back yard demanding that I instantly take retribution on Secundus for threatening to throw a rock at him. When I refuse to carry out his orders -- suspecting, oh, what's the phrase, "another side to the story" -- he accuses me of lacking all human feelings for his firstborn and arranges his own revenge by hiding Secundus's favorite stuffed animals. He thus earns Daddy's threadbare lecture on the dangers of escalation and the joys of forgiveness. But Primus, in full spate, is the 11-year-old tough-on-crime candidate, requiring justice without mercy.
Later, after the annual pilgrimage to Staples with three back-to-school supply lists and four short attention spans, it's my turn to think fondly of the law-and-order policies of the late King Herod. But we're driving home at last, and I notice that P and S in the back seat are now merrily enjoying a conversation.
"You see what happens if you let a little time pass," I comment. "Now, you're best friends again. Two hours ago, you too wanted to kill each other."
"Good times," sighs Secundus nostalgically.