If it's so hot one day that you can hear the little hairs on your arms sizzling and your cousin Lynnie who lives around the corner from you comes over and knocks on your apartment door and says "come with me, I've got a great idea" don't go with her. Slam the door right in her face even if that's rude, listen to me, do it anyway, because the idea she has is a very bad one.
Your cousin Lynnie wants to open up the fire hydrant in front of her building and run through the spray to cool off. Can you believe it? Okay, that's not even the worst part of her idea. This is the worst part — she wants to run through the water from the fire hydrant with no clothes on. You know what that's called? It's called being naked in public. It's illegal. And also it's a sin. Which is why I'm telling you to slam the door in her face. And later, when all the people in the neighborhood are talking about that wicked girl Lynnie you can just pretend you don't know who she is.
But if you have a friend that nobody likes, except you like her a little bit, you should be loyal and true and never pretend that you don't know her.
When other kids make fun of her for bringing an artichoke for lunch, even though you think it's crazy to eat any food with the choke word in it, stand up for your friend, say something like "if Pauline wants to eat an artichoke what's it to you?" You don't have to be mean when you say this but you do have to say it.
And if she brings little packets of brown sugar and pours the sugar into her orange juice container and Eileen Krizzer says "yuck, now Pauline has bad breath" you can remind Eileen that sugar is sweet and what she's saying doesn't even make any sense.
You should be a good friend to Pauline Marconi and never call her Pauline Macaroni (which is stupid) and here's why.
Because one day soon Pauline's mother is going to make her go to St. Anthony's. That's a Catholic school. You didn't even know Pauline Marconi was Catholic and now you'll never see her again.
When you think of her eating artichokes with the nuns it will make you sad. You hope the nuns don't make fun of her for putting brown sugar in her orange juice. But probably the nuns won't let her bring those packets of brown sugar to school, they probably have a rule called No Sweet Things. And maybe the nuns don't even believe in artichokes, maybe artichokes aren't Catholic.
If you could sneak into St. Anthony's and put a little packet of brown sugar in Pauline Marconi's brown lunch bag you would do it. If you knew she wouldn't get into trouble. And if you knew where to get a small packet of brown sugar. And if you weren't afraid that something unmentionable and horrible would happen to you if you walk through the doors of St. Anthony's.
Something unmentionable and horrible might happen to you even if you walk on the same side of the street as St. Anthony's. So you don't do that.
But every time you eat an artichoke (and yes, there will come a time when you are no longer afraid they will make you choke and then die) you will think of Pauline Marconi and you will be glad that you stood up for her when you had the chance.
You can just trust me about this.