Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Tongue Twister and The Laughing Cavalier

Evelyn:When you grow up you shouldn't have to do some of the things you do Daddy.
Me: Like what honey?
Evelyn: Well - like shaving. Or showering And going to the toilet.
Me: I'm fairly certain if I stop doing those that other people wouldn't like me very much.
Evelyn: So....who likes you right now?
Me: Cheers Evelyn.....thanks very much.

I ask my kids often what they want to be when they grow up. 

This coming from me is somewhat hilarious. But let’s ignore that bit. My son often says a construction worker. That’s after being ludicrous and using a five year old grasp of profanity, of course. No Owen – a Bum Cheek Inspector isn’t a real job. I sometimes suggest to him that he be a proctologist. Then delight in explaining to him that for a living there are people who every day deal with other people's sick bottoms. He hasn’t committed to that idea as of yet. He has mentioned an Ice Cream Tester too. And playing Minecraft. I will admit I took a teeny amount of glee in telling him that in a year no-one is gong to give a shti about Minecraft. Especially me. Not too much though - he likes it and it's relatively harmless. I did just ask him again. And he came up with nothing. His sister seems to know what his interests are though.

My daughter though is quite clear. She wants to be a meteorologist. Preferably one that does storm chasing. So not the shiny, Today Show types that are dolled up for camera and find a puddle to canoe about in. But one of these lunatics that for non-celebrity/television glory purposes wanders into the heart of the tornado. Outside of that she’d like to be a, “volcano scientist.” Which from what I can tell means she wants to live near Mount. St. Helens. Obviously I won't be showing her Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton driving through the lava in Dante's Peak anytime soon. Although I think even her five year old brother would cry "bollocks!" at that bit where Brosnan puts a coat over his hand so he can stick his hand in the lava.

Every night I have my kids we slump down on the bed to read. At the moment they have four books that they are mildly obsessed with. Here -:

In olden days people read things called "books"
  The top left book is part of the Dork series. My daughter loves that because she gets to write in it. I suppose technically it's her first diary. Although she has umpteen notebooks that she's filled with all sorts already. Quite often she'll sit around copying her favorite parts of books that she's reading. Or writing out recipes of things she wants to bake for me "with your special flour, Daddy." The top right book is Jack Prelutsky's collection of poems, riddles and things like that called It's Raining Pigs and Noodles. It includes the rather excellent -:

The bottom right book was a gift for my kids that we got in the mail. It's The Super Smelly Alien. It has scratch-and-sniff pads on some of the pages. And let me tell you - this book are absolutely rank. My son - the little bastard - enjoys nothing more than grabbing this thing, giving the inside page a scratch and then surprising me by squishing it into my nose. It's got that deep, lingering stench of toenail grunge and Limburger cheese. The sort of smell foot fetish people presumably like. Regardless, my kids love that book. And so do I. 

Actually that reminds me - I was given some rather lovely margarita candies last week. No alcohol of course - just that unmistakeable flavor. I tried to offer one to a coworker who is a tee totaller. As in always has been. She doesn't know what margaritas taste like. And she was vaguely reluctant to give them ago on the off chance this was somehow capitulating to drinking alcohol in some way. So I assured her that no - nothing along those lines. I went with "It'd be like pork flavored candy for Jews"That seemed to work.

The last book is The Ultimate Atlas of Almost Everything. That thing is apparently $45 brand new. We got it at a Goodwill for fifty cents. That's pretty much the only reason I go to Goodwill. My kids love this book. Granted it is fifteen years old now so it's a tad out of date. But they like reading about ancient civilizations or how zeugens form in deserts. Plus it has lots of bits about weather patterns like tornadoes and earthquakes. And my daughter loves those. She has probably six or seven books of her own about weather. And I don't mean the ones aimed at seven year old kids. It never ceases to amaze me when she starts randomly regailing me with the F-scale categorization of tornadoes, where they tend to be more frequent and that this was all developed by Dr. Fujita (she told me all that). I will admit that a small part of me (no jokes please) would like her to be adrift in that fantasy of what little kids tend to say they want to be. But with her enthusiasm at her age it's lear she'll either end up running the National Weather Service. Or becoming a super villain and taking over Tokyo with a tsunami. Either/or.  

I don’t really call wanting to be anything when I was younger. Obviously the usual trope of ridiculous things. Possibly a spy, footballer who played in a rock band. Something realistic. As long as it was something that could emphasize how my not-remotely-unique brand of whiny, mopey teenage boy nonsense was misunderstood and should be seen as enormously appealing sexy. But as far as careers went there's nothing specific that I can recall. Outside of possibly a history teacher. I was quite interested in that for a while when I was about sixteen. Mind you at fifteen I was also quite interested in Katie Puckrick, drinking in playgrounds with people I didn’t much like and and trying to look desperately moody at all times. 

Nobody should ever trust a teenage boy. Their entire thought process is preoccupied with frantic masturbation and trying to emulate the behavior of deeply suspect people. Admittedly it’s because you’re searching for your own identity. But it’s interesting that the process of doing that is by finding the characteristics of other people you don’t know and trying to adapt them as your own. I recall a long litany of musicians that were in what you might call the Complaint Rock genre. All led by profoundly ridiculous drug addicts, in the main. Kurt Cobain. Shannon Hoon. Scott Weiland. Layne Stayley. Eddie Vedder. Three of them are dead. Quite how the third one isn’t is a total mystery. And the last one - not that I know them of course - is someone I've gone from idolosing to finding mostly annoying. I recall one of my developmental epiphanies at a Pearl Jam concert watching a band I dearly adored for years. And realizing that affinity – the “we’re all depressed and in a unique group together – the “you can totally identify with me” that oozed out of Vedder was incredibly teenage. And in a man in his thirties it was suddenly really stark. Standing on stage, in little boy shorts and t-shirt, forcing his eyes into a scowl that a four year old emphasizes because they can’t use their words properly. Moaning. Endlessly. I mean Jesus – he’s hardly the Laughing Cavalier. But the whining was just relentless. Then he started saying this profound, whinging statement. Just like at the last show I’d heard him at. Word for Word.And I went home and put Groove Is In The Heart on and cheered the fuck up.

I'm hoping my son doesn't meander through that miserable period with as much force and intent as I did. Thankfully he's a strangely delighted boy from the moment he wakes up to the moment I tell him it's time to go up the wooden hill. Mostly. When he's off it's incredibly obvious. His sister has the ability to go from delighted to raging, mental case in a split second. But him - he will linger with a thought or an idea and then slide slowly into a funk that will grip him for an hour or so. Then it's like a switch goes off and he's his usual, smiley, shiny self. I actually caught him in a moment of misery dropping his sister at school las week. Nine times out of ten he would pull the most ridiculous face here. But not that morning.He was in a mid-morning mood.

"Get back in the car and drive chauffeur"
It's definitely got the echoes of this.

Eddie Vedder
Still - going back to when he's older and him licking everything. The boy's got skillz.

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