Forgive the Ninnies

I’m little.
Nine years old.
Or six, maybe.
I don’t remember.

We’re at a rodeo. My sister, my mom, my dad.
Why? I don’t know. Where?
Texas, maybe.

All kids under 10 are invited to come into the center ring for a game.
I rush down.
I like games.

A young bull and a man in a cowboy hat stand on one side of the ring. All of us kids on the other.

The announcer explains that the first kid to pull the red ribbon tied on the bull’s tail wins.

The man and the baby bull start walking.
They get halfway around the outside of the ring.
“And, go!”
We chase after them.
I’m pretty fast.
And I’m pretty sure I’m going to get the ribbon.
I’m going to win.
But the bull and cowboy are fast, too.
I’m falling behind.
Then I have an idea!
I turn around and wait.
There is no point in chasing.
I can just wait and pull the ribbon off the bull as it passes.


I’m back in the bleachers with my family.
I don’t know how I got there.

The last thing I remember is the cowboy picking me up as the bull was about to pass and I was about to reach out and grab the ribbon.

If he hadn’t picked me up, I would have gotten the ribbon.

I’m really upset. I’m crying.
He kept me from winning.


“Silly kid, ran towards the bull,” was the subsequent teasing I’d hear when the story was retold for years.
“What kind of kid runs toward a bull?”
What I wish I had said was, “I’m only this many years old. Why do you expect me to be smarter than I am?”


We expect people to be older—and other—than who they are.

My message: Forgive the ninnies.

A prayer:
Please God, despite my implication here that you and I are separated, grant me the ability to forgive the ninnies of the world.
Please help me find compassion for all the people in my life who I wish would grow up.
Please help me not lose my cool when I hear them say, “I had no choice,” when they clearly had one.
Please help me not get discouraged or riled or upset when the ninnies don’t take responsibility for the things they do.
Oh, God (of my understanding), there are a whole lot of people who I believe should be acting more like adults than they are.
Oh, God (of my understanding), help me deal with them.
Oh, God (of my understanding), grant me patience and humor and kindness when these fucking dip-shits fail to respect the boundaries I’ve worked so hard to set.
Oh, God (of my understanding), maybe I get it. Maybe you have put so many idiots in my life to teach me about patience.
If that’s so, God, please stop.
They are driving me batty.


A foolish person.
A person who acts younger than I expect them to.


Robert Brault wrote “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got.”


The ninnies are as old as they are.
No older.
They are going to act as they act, no better.
Because that’s how they are.

I might not want to.
But I can.
I can forgive them.
Whether they apologize or not.

Chances are, they aren’t going to apologize.

Of course, it would be easier to forgive them if they apologized.
It’s always easier to forgive someone who is crying, wracked with guilt, over the pain they have caused.

But the ninnies aren’t going to ask for forgiveness.
Because they are ninnies.
They can’t apologize because that would mean they would have to be other than who they are, which they can’t be.
They are ninnies.

We have a choice.
We can forgive them their ninny trespasses, or we can suffer at the hands of their ninnitude.

Forgive the ninnies.
Forgive the ninnies because it will make your life easier.

Forgive the ninnies.
It’s the right thing to do.

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With love,
Rabbi Brian

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