TV Is Bad

Dad is out of town, traveling for work. L and I swing by a local pizza joint for a to-go pie. We look up and there he is…

The Great and Powerful Oz. No, not the guy behind the curtain. The one who has a television show which, up until yesterday, I’d never seen.

The subtitles are flying by, (phonetically spelled, always a plus for a kid), and suddenly we realize this Great and Powerful Oz is talking about the dangers of eating (too much) red meat, the alarming rate of salmonella in poultry, not over-indulging in calcium…

Animated visuals are showing platelets zipping through the bloodstream like pinballs, an ominous buildup of plaque. Ultimately, we see a heart cease to beat (in cartoon, natch).

L: “Ack! I don’t think I’m going to eat red meat anymore. I barely do anyway.”

L: “Is hamburger considered red meat?”

L: “What did it say about turkey?”

L: “So milk is bad? Should I stop taking my vitamins?”

I do what any good, responsible parent would: I pull out my iPhone and command him to play.

L has been thrown off the scent.

All I can think is “The Exorcist” might have been less traumatic.

oz

No Trouble with Tribbles

Epiphany! I’ve come up with a television show that will be spot on for L. The O.G. “Star Trek.” Campy, science-y, funny, action-y, and most importantly, no blood.

I begin describing when it was made (“Did they even have television back then?”), and that it’s an awesome, cool show that I think he’ll like. I zero in on “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode because it’s… well, of course, it’s my favorite. Cute, furry little creatures (they could be easily itty bitty wee ponies, little girl crack).

We start watching a 10 minute segment and L says, “This is silly. This is not anything like the new one. The special effects are lame.”

I am bereft.

Cue to later in the afternoon. I pick L up from school. He has a drawing in his hand.

WHAT? CAN IT BE? YES! (Fist pump.)

The drawing is a schematic rendering of a Tribble, their size, the sounds they make, “fun facts.” I’m elated. (And, I forgive his spelling errors.)

We get home and he says, “say, can we watch the whole episode? I realize something. I think the old Star Trek is cooler than the new one. Because you get to see people’s expressions and Spock is awesome and really smart.”

I have done my job.

Tribble! copy

OG Tribble

Love, Love, Love

L: “Mom, I love you.” (Long, plaintive stare. He’s practicing his come hither look.)

Pause.

M: I’ll bet you say that to all the girls.

L: “No, that’s gross. I don’t say that to all of the girls. I’ve never said that to any other girl. Because if I said it to all the girls, I’d be sorta skeevy and everyone would think I was trying to get attention and I’m not. Besides if I said that to everyone, all the time, I don’t think it would mean as much. In fact, it might not mean anything if I said it to everyone.”

Pause.

M: I love you, too.

 

Because

L and I walked to school today. We were discussing games we would invent. I rambled on about my Greek Myth-based adventure wherein the player meets each of the gods and must answer riddles, solve problems, and, sure we can throw in a duel (not really), to move ahead. I ginned up some poorly disguised multiplication word problem and L said:

“WAIT. That’s a math game. You’re trying to sell me on this idea when it’s really about math?”

(Yup.)

“That’s not exactly action/adventure.”

(Nope.)

“Why do you want your game to be about math?”

M: Because.

“That’s a ridiculous answer. That makes no sense.”

M: ‘Because’ is a good answer. As in why did you climb the mountain? Because it was there.

“Again, a ridiculous answer. You climb the mountain because you WANT to climb the mountain. That’s the answer.”

And therein lies our existential crisis of the day.

To Publish or Perish

L came home yesterday and announced he had begun his magnum opus, called…. er…. maybe, “Red Eyes in the Night.” He explained it was a horror story (this from the boy who still nearly faints at the sight, description, or even mention of blood) and he had conquered Ch. 1. He told me that the secret to writing a successful horror story is to “add as much detail as possible. That’s very, very important.” When I asked why, he said, “details make the reader feel like he’s IN the story.”

Sounds good.

He told me that the second chapter would start with a simple sentence: “Meet me at the dock.”

“Doesn’t that make you curious? Aren’t you just dying to know what happens?”

He also said this was the first book he was truly committed to finishing. He then asked, “how old do you need to be to publish a book?”

M: “There are no age limits.”

L: “Wow. Seriously? Okay, I’m going to really make it the best it can be and see if I can get my book published.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I could make (and publish) the book for him. Better to have him shop it around, and see what kind of movie deal he can secure.

 

Surprise?

I arranged for L to take a swimming evaluation and start private lessons. My error? I did all of this a couple of days ago and somehow forgot to tell him.

M: “L, we’re going to go swimming today! Woo hoo!”

L: “What do you mean?”

M: “We’re (I’m using the royal WE) going to a great, heated pool and are going to see where you are and then start lessons.”

L: “WHAT?! I’ve been taking lessons at school for three years.”

M: “Yes, and they just concluded, so now you get to have cool, individual lessons.”

L: “Why didn’t you tell me? What if I drown? What if I’m not good enough? Mom, this is the kind of thing I need to prepare for. I need to have enough time to mentally get myself ready. You can’t just spring this on me. This is becoming a problem. You sign me up for things but you don’t ask me and you don’t give me enough notice. This doesn’t work for me. Who knows if these people can really swim? If I’ll be supervised? Do you want me at the bottom of the pool?”

M: “Got it. Discuss then act.”