I lie to children now, apparently, so that’s a good thing to know about myself.
(It wasn’t even my child. why does that make it worse, somehow?)
Yesterday we went to the science centre, and things were going swimmingly until we got to the table with all sort of little plastic sticks and gears and wheels – things for building things, you know? We were immediately enthralled and sat down to create a masterpiece. Olive was working on a car, while I created a freeform starburst geometric type design, which was, while technically useless, strikingly beautiful.
A little boy across the table was watching me put this thing together, when suddenly he looked at the wall behind him, displaying the creations of others and cried, “Are you just copying that?”
I looked up to see his finger pointing accusingly at a design which yes, did look remarkably similar to the one I was making. (It looked similar because I was copying it. But never mind!)
“What? No!” I said immediately. I haven’t forgotten that copying and budding in line are basically the biggest sins you can commit as a child, and I’d be damned if this kid thought he was going to make a copier out of me! (Yes, yes, I was already the copier, never mind I said!)
He looked from my design, back to the one on the wall, he didn’t look convinced.
“They’re exactly the same!” he said
I was getting flustered now. Let it GO, kid! They’re just TOYS. Wait until you experience REAL LIFE, OKAY? I have been through some SHIT, just let me
So, I did the first thing that came to mind, I lied. Yes, I lied to a seven-year-old boy.
“Yeah, they look the same because I made that one, too,” I replied. He still looked skeptical, so I decided I was going to go all in, double or nothing. I had nothing to lose! Except my dignity and the respect of my daughter!
“I also made that, the last time I was here,” I said, gesturing nonchalantly at the giant plane perched in a place of honour on top of a cabinet.
He looked from the plane, to me, back to the plane. I pretended to focus on the masterpiece in my hand. Eventually, he spoke,
“Woah,” he said in an awestruck whisper. “That’s pretty cool.”
Yeah. YEAH. That’s what I THOUGHT you said, boiiiiii.
[This story? This is my low. Years from now when I refer to “hitting bottom”? This is it.]