A Literal Kid

Literal Ice Cream SandwichI was a very literal kid. More so than most. Like the other kids in the gifted and talented class, I tended to take words and terms at face value. Somehow my left brain developed before my right, so thinks like metaphors and sarcasm flew right over my head. Here are a few other the more memorable examples.

Ice Cream Sandwich

One time, when I was about six years old. my dad offered to buy me an ice cream sandwich. I said “No, that sounds disgusting.” Because when my dad said the word, “sandwich”, I immediately visualized a scoop of ice cream on a bun with lettuce and tomato, maybe some ketchup and mustard. Thankfully, he got me an ice cream sandwich anyway, a regular one with chocolate cookies and vanilla ice cream. It was delicious, and I learned not to take the term so literally.

“What’s Up”

I few years later, I remember a kid at my elementary school saying “What’s up?”, to which I replied, “The sky.” This didn’t go over very well. I’m sure I came off as either a smartass or a dumbass. That’s one of the problems with being a literal kid. It can be hard to make friends. Thankfully, I grew out of that stage (for the most part.)


This conversation happened more than a couple of times after I used the restroom:

“Did you wash your hands?”

“Yes, Mom.”

“Did you use soap?”


“Why not?”

“You told me to wash my hands. You didn’t say anything about soap.”

“Go back in the bathroom and wash your hands with soap and water.”

I would go back into the bathroom and wash up properly. A minute later, I would meet my mother back outside the men’s room.

Mom: “Steve, why are your hands wet?”

“You didn’t tell me to dry them.”

A rebellious teenager might say/do such things facetiously, but I was anything but rebellious. Instead I was literal, following such instructions to the letter. It was only in high school and college that I grew out of my “literal kid” phase, though to this day, I still have problems detecting sarcasm. What can I say? I’m a man of my word, and I’m still a big fan of honesty and candor.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs regularly at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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1 Response

  1. February 15, 2017

    […] We turn away from things we don’t like, and it’s only when we shift our view, both literally and metaphorically, that we can see the way things really […]

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