The following bedtime conversation with Gal Smiley explains why my mother-in-law calls her a “jawabdari” — a sort of wiseacre, the kind of person who always has an answer for everything and a solution for every possible scenario.

Gal: I wish I had a TV in my room.

Me: But, you’re about to go to sleep. If you had a TV in your room, you couldn’t watch it now.

Gal [rolling eyes]: Not for now, for the morning. So I can turn it on as soon as I get up, and then I don’t even have to move, I can just watch TV!

Me: Sounds like a good plan. But sadly, there is no special plug in your room for a TV.

Gal: I have lots of plugs!

Me: Yes, but a TV takes a special kind of plug, a little round thing. Your room doesn’t have one.

Gal: How come your room has one?

Me: Well, when we built this house, we asked the builders to put one in our room. But not your room.

Gal [thinks for a minute]: I know! Let’s build a new house! And we can put TV plugs in my room, and Captain Jelly Belly’s room, and Little Miss Sunshine’s room!

Me: How very generous of you.

Gal: And, our new house will be right next door. And it will look just like this one, only with TV plugs in my room.

Me: Okay.

Gal: AND, you can’t go in the house when they are building it. It isn’t safe. So we should go away on a trip. For a LONG time. We should go to Nanny’s house for six months.

Me: Oh, dear.

Gal: And when we come home, the new house will be finished! I would like to move my things over first. Because I have a LOT of things.

Me: Naturally.

Gal: And my new room will be just like this one, only with a TV!

Me: QED. Now, go to bed.

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