But there is one arena in which I hold them hostage: my ability to embarrass them in front of their friends. I can invoke terror simply by withholding a promise to "be nice." I'm always nice. Really. But they're never sure I won't go rogue and utter the one sentence that will prove excruciating to them. Actually, there are lots of sentences that can make them writhe, and therein lies the problem. I have so many to choose from! And then there are my clothes: my frumpy shoes, my penchant for hippie splendor and, paradoxically, my mousey drabness.
Oh, and their father! He's less embarrassing to look at. But his sexplicit language makes us all squirm. What a perv!
Now this ability to inflict mortification is only occasional, since most of their friends are already known to us and familiar to our peculiar ways. So it's only when a new friend arrives on the scene that I come into my full power. There is an opportunity on the horizon. I am a genuinely well-meaning person, so I'd like to use this power for good. But how?