Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kids are Dumb

It is hard to know what goes through one's mind during the course of a normal day. I suppose that there are some who know me that have an idea of what is going on in there, but I am sure that those people are also often surprised by what actually comes out of my mouth. Such is life, I suppose. However, this evening something particularly strange floated through my addled little brain.

For some reason I remembered, completely out of the blue, a story that my Grandma Glenna once told me. We were in the bedroom of her condo down in Hillsboro, FL (I lived down that way at the time too) going through photo albums or something. Now, I might add here that I loved going to grandma and grandpa's house for four distinct reasons. 1. They lived on the beach and had a pool, which was rad. 2. Grandma always made split-pea soup, which I adore. 3. Grandpa was totally into stained glass making, and therefore had scads of little, colored, glass beads around the house that we could play with and arrange. (It occurs to me on this little trip down memory lane that I probably swallowed at least one of those little devils in my adventures.) 4. The condo had long shag carpeting that you could rake with the special indoor rakes that they had there. It was all very soothing, in the manner of those rock gardens that the people in Asia seem so fond of.

Anyway, we were in this bedroom and looking at pictures and stuff. Because I was really young, as you shall see, and because such things have no-doubt been pushed out of my head because I now know things like the given names of all the primary characters on Saved By the Bell. It's a curse. So, Grandma starts to tell me that Grandpa was on a ship during the war. (At leas I think that's what the story was about.) But here I am, all of five, or seven, or something and I have very little idea of what is going on. Grandma says "ship" and I automatically think of a space-shuttle. So I ask her if Grandpa got to drive the ship. She told me that he did not drive and was down in the belly of the ship.

Now, here is the shitty part. I was little, I barely knew what was going on in the world to say that I did not like potato salad, but Grandma was trying to be nice to me and trying to share a little family history. But all I can think of is that, even though he probably performed a vital function on the ship he did not drive, and Grandpa would have been a lot cooler if he did.

I guess the point of all of this is that one half of the people in that conversation was trying to make a genuine connection with her grandchild. For my part I was only thinking that people who drive big things are rad. (I probably even said rad at the time, because that was the era.) Maybe it is because kids really don't know better*, and maybe because Grandma's story would have been better shared when I was a little older, but that story was wasted on me until this evening when I thought about it. It is only now that I actually want to get into the meat of that story. I am sure I could talk to my dad or uncle and get the bare-bones info on the story, but it would be so much more meaningful if it came from the wife, who was alive and going through the emotions at the time. Sadly, that is no longer possible.

All of this kind of makes me worry about kids, because there is such a range of mental activity in them. One can't help but wonder what is different about the upbringings of different five year olds that let some spout fully formed and logical sentence, while others can only cry for their woobies and wet themselves. I'm sure I don't know, but it makes me wonder.

*All of this talking about how dumb little kids are has reminded me of a story run in the Onion that made me laugh to no end. It was about how some university had done tests to find out which species had the dumbest children. Some of the test included, leaving the young animals out in a thunder shower to see which would have the sense to come in, poking the young with sticks to see which would defend themselves or flee, and various others. It turns out that the only species who's young have no sense at all are those of humans.

-A.R. Leith

Quote: "Just when the world seems so understanding, it knocks you over with a solid left hook." -The Dillinger Four

1 comment:

Toni said...

Wonderful read, as always. I actually had a discussion with my class yesterday about this very subject. They seem to think that the reason why parents keep their kids so busy in activities year round is because they have "dumb kids" and they think that activities will help in some way. Ah, the mind of college freshmen. =)