Today was a good “spend time with my kid” day. This morning my son J and I got up early and spent the morning helping some nice folks at the local historical museum move some boxes and tables and displays they had set up for the Christmas holiday. I am a Scout leader and we and another family had volunteered to help out for about an hour. J and I had breakfast beforehand at the local eatery and then went and did our work. Later in the day we started working on building our pinewood derby cars, another scout activity, for the race that will be held next weekend. Finally, this evening J had a flag football game which my wife and I went and watched (and which they won). So now I sit here, at the keyboard, a glass of wine by my side, feeling like I did, at least in some part, my fatherly duties today and I’m ready to blog a little.
In the truck on the way home tonight, after commending my son for playing a great game, throwing in a little constructive criticism, and talking about football, I mentioned to him that I would need to use the computer tonight when we got home. He said, “that’s ok Dad, I can watch the two shows that M (sister) recorded for me on the DVR today. “What are those”, I asked. He said some word that I didn’t understand, and I just chalked it up to him speaking “language of the 10-year-old” which is some kind of ancient mysterious mythological Japanese influenced futuristic video game language. I haven’t learned to speak it but there is a lot of talk about Bakugan’s and Pokemon’s and G-Power and battles and HP and dragonoids and other stuff that I haven’t quite figured out how to pronounce or spell. He speaks it a lot and often because I don’t have any remote clue as to what he is talking about, I stare at him like some kind of simpleton and repeat the following phrases over and over; “uh-huh, okay, yeah, uh-huh, that’s really cool.” Regardless, we drove home, grabbed a bite to eat, I fired up the laptop, he fired up the TV.
Shortly after getting settled I glanced up at the TV and saw these Lego ninja guys running around on the TV screen. You know those little Lego guys with the yellow heads that are shaped like the propane tanks that are hooked to your gas grill, but whose popped-on hair rivals the best styled guys at a hollywood awards show. Those little guys whose hands are just a “C” shaped curve so they can carry their little Lego tools. Those guys with their big square legs. Those guys that hurt like a son-of-a-bitch when you step on them! There they were, little ninja versions, alive on the screen, moving around with elbows and knees and their mouths moving and their eyes blinking. I’m gonna tell you, right here, right now, it was a little creepy! It was like some kind of nightmare you might have on a Christmas night, after drinking too much wine and rum-soaked egg-nog and after helping your son build the five or six, 800 piece Lego kits that Santa Claus brought down the chimney. It was like a 2011 version of the classic Nutcracker Suite, with Lego characters coming to life and battling their enemies with knives and swords rather than the little German girl dreaming of her Nutcracker Prince coming to life and winning that epic battle against the Seven-Headed Mouse King. Okay, yeah, you’re right, that’s tons more creepy and demented……..
In any case, as I looked over I asked, “Hey, are those Lego guys?” “Yeah, Dad” he said, why else would it be called Lego Ninjago
you dumbass?” Ah ha! There was that word that I heard in the truck on the way home, that “language of the 10-year-old” word that I hadn’t understood. Of course he didn’t really say “dumbass” although the intentions were clearly there. I wanted to say “sorry I don’t speak ‘language of the 10-year-old’ and I didn’t really understand you in the truck, but I didn’t want to make you repeat it like 10-12 times cause I was pretty sure I still wouldn’t understand it and then we would have had one of those conversations where I say, ‘uh-huh, okay, yeah, uh-huh, that’s really cool’.” But I pretended that it all made perfect sense to me and that I wasn’t creeped out by the little Lego Ninja characters and that I wouldn’t have nightmares about them climbing up the stairs tonight and tying me up like the Lilliputians restraining their giant Gulliver.
When the show ended, J looked over at me and asked, “Hey Dad, you know those Ninjago Spinners that I told you about that if you lose, the guy loses his weapon?” “OK Steve”, I thought, “don’t panic, search the memory archives, where it is, where’s that conversation, I know it’s in there somewhere, filed along with all the other eight million things you’re trying to remember, filed under “N” for Ninjago Spinners, c’mon buddy, you can do it, it’s right there, it’s right there….. ” I visualized my little green “loading” bar, just stuck there, not moving, no longer processing…. “Oh shit, the connection is down….. no it’s not there, it’s lost, its mis-filed, it’s been fed through the early onset memory loss shredder!!!!” “Uh, yeah, okay buddy, yeah I know, what about that?” I anxiously replied. “Well” he said, “if you ever buy that for me, get me the red one.” “Okay buddy, cool” I said, and J walked away satisfied with my response. Phew! That was a close call, I was almost discovered as being ignorant and uneducated in “language of the 10 year old”. That must have been one of those conversations that ended in “uh-huh, okay, yeah, uh-huh, that’s really cool.”
A few minutes later I turned back to the TV and an episode of Sponge Bob was on. “Much better”, I thought, “I love Sponge Bob, he speaks English, he makes me laugh and he doesn’t give me nightmares!”