A Better Pain/Evil Scale

A Better Pain/Evil Scale February 24, 2015

On Sunday, my daughters were drawing on our erstwhile chore board. When I was mopping yesterday, I happened to notice what they had drawn. So I took a picture, because it was disturbing.


The pain scale is Sienna’s creation, clearly inspired by repeated viewings of Big Hero 6 (which is my new favorite movie, btw). I’m pretty impressed by how much she picked up on the idea that pain scales are rubbish, since #8 appears to be suffering 3rd degree burns, and #10’s flesh is literally melting off his smiley face. Her pain scale wants to be Allie Brosh’s pain scale when it grows up:

(Image via Allie Brosh)

Anyway, the pain scale is not the disturbing part. The disturbing part is Charlotte’s scale, which she drew along the bottom. Here’s a close-up:


At first I thought that she was just trying to imitate what her sister had drawn, and hadn’t quite grasped the concept of a scale. But as I tried to reconcile the series of smiley faces with the seemingly unrelated figure on the right, it dawned on me that she had indeed grasped the concept of a scale — hers just wasn’t a pain scale.

It was an evil scale.

Seriously, look at it. The series of smiley faces gets gradually wider and more deranged, until the straight-up jack o’lantern face of ultimate evil. And what happens when the faces can get no eviller?

Someone gets hung.

I tried desperately to rationalize the hanging man in a way that would get me off the hook for instilling such reprehensible moral formation in a 6-year-old fairy princess. I finally decided that he was either being hung because he was evil, or he was being hung by someone who was evil. The first one would at least assure me that Charlotte understood that the end result of evil is, uh, the death penalty, but the second one would be a fairly good indication that I needed to call a child psychiatrist, and maybe an exorcist.

So I decided to ask her.

“Hey, Charlotte?” I said, with no little amount of trepidation. “Can you tell me about your drawing?”

“Sure, Mommy!” Charlotte said sweetly, dancing her way over to the board. “Sienna drew faces getting sadder, so I decided to draw them getting happier.”

Relief. Blessed relief. “Oh, that’s wonderful!” I said with way too much enthusiasm. “But — but what’s this guy here? Why is he hanging?”

Charlotte stomped indignantly. “That’s Baymax, and he’s not hanging, he’s flying! Anyone can see that!”

Sienna, who had wandered over behind Charlotte to listen, looked at me doubtfully. “It’s pretty obvious that it’s Baymax, Mom, and it doesn’t look anything like a hanging man. Is there…is there something wrong with you — like, are you okay?”

So maybe I’ll just be calling my own psychiatrist, then. Thanks, kids.




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