Saturday, September 10, 2005

Conversations With The Back Seat

While Driving Around th Fort:

The kid is still obsessing about aliens invading and killing us all in our beds, as you know. We hold many lengthy conversations, as we drive around the Fort, to and from school, to and from the grocery and the library, her explaining why she is still afraid of the alien invaders from Mars, and me listing reasons why she shouldn't be afraid.

"First, gravity," I explain. "They're from a planet with a much lower gravity. You could whomp them all. Second, allergies."

"Allergies?" she says, intrigued.

"Right. Look at you. You evolved to be on this planet, and you're allergic to half the world." This is true, by the way. "If aliens invaded, what do you think would happen? They'd either go straight into anaphylactic shock, or they'd have to take so much Benadryl, they'd be useless. Think about how dopey you get on Benadryl! Think about aliens trying to invade on Benadryl!"

She began giggling wildly in the backseat. "They wouldn't be able to steer their tripods! They'd miss the planet!"

When nothing else works, I resort to magic. I tell her carrots are full of vitamin A, and vitamin A protects against Aliens. So if she eats a carrot every day she will be safe.

Well, it isn't any worse than telling her that if she prays to the magic sky God he'll protect her, is it?

And actually better, in fact, since she won't get any cultural reinforcement for this myth, so she'll be able to cast it off easily when she no longer needs it.

Then later she wants to know what, if I were King of the World, I would do.

I think this over. "I don't actually want to be king of the world," I point out to her. "It's antithetical to my Buddhist and non-interventionist philosophy."

She makes an exasperated noise. "But if you WERE King of the World, if you could do anything, what would you do?"

I think. Would I make people be sensible about teaching evolution in school? Would I make people stop forcing their belief systems on other people? Would I end Racism and Sexism Now? Ooo -- would I make people stop hitting their kids? Now that one is tempting -- See, but no. Making people do anything is just a bad plan. People either change themselves or they don't change. I don't want to be king of the world. I want people to be kings of themselves. I want people to learn to do what is best because it is best.

"Come on, come on," the kid is demanding in the back seat.

Suddenly I start to grin. "I know," I said. "If I were king of the world, I know what I'd do. I'd find George Bush, and I'd make him DANCE!"

mr. delagar, who had been ignoring us while he read his album notes (a new album arrived from England) began to laugh.

The picture cheered me up all afternoon. George Bush, dancing.

1 comment:

zelda1 said...

Poor baby girl. The carrot I like, since I like carrots and the thought of seeing Bush dance well, it would be very funny, I'm thinking, though, he might not be able to dance since his brain can only make his body do one thing at a time. He can't, for instance, send help to a city devasted by a flood, and say kill out another country's civlization. Or, he can't provide help for the poor when in fact he is trying to devise away to use the poor to further the rich. I would like to see him dance in the rain and maybe after three or four hours of rain pouring down on him, he might have a little inclination of how those poor folks in NO felt after the rain and floods and all of that began. Maybe, but maybe not. Anyway, keep telling the baby about magic, that always works. My daughter still thinks if she holds her nose really tight and says I am stronger than the monster, I am stronger than the monster, the monster will go away.