Last night we watched a beauty pageant. Excuse me, scholarship pageant. Middle Daughter had never seen one before. She was fascinated, in the way people are fascinated by approaching tornadoes or unidentifiable semi-shapeless forms washed up on the beach.
The whole first half was a game of twenty questions. "Why do they look like that?" "Why do they walk like robots?" "What's wrong with their hair?" "Why do they smile like that?" She was perplexed by the swimsuit round. "Why in the world would they wear bathing suits with shoes?"
Then, about halfway through, there was a segment portraying the prizes the winner would receive. Middle Daughter watched in silence as they went through the litany of clothes, money, jewelry, luggage, and furs.
When they showed the reigning Miss Whatsit standing by the shiny new candy-apple red sportscar, Middle Daughter turned to me and very solemnly remarked, "I should do this."