December 12, 2013 by The Friday Facts
A mate had a BBQ not so long ago. I turned up and saw his kid – maybe 2 or 3 – fannying about with a Transformer or something in his little sandpit. I walked up to him, squatted down and said “Hey there buddy. Remember me?” The kid looked me up and down and met my eyes with a look that could only be articulated if complete contempt and total indifference had a beer together, and then he went back to attempting to jam a missile into Optimus Prime’s diaphragm.
Did this hurt my feelings? Actually, I was jealous.
The kid’s actions were perfectly in step with normal human behaviour. He took one look at me, deduced that he had nothing to gain from being polite to me, and went back to doing what he was doing in the first place.
I hate to think how many hours I’ve wasted smiling and making chatty-chat with people who have nothing worthwhile to offer. If only I had have had the freedom to simply sneer at them and walk away I can’t help but feeling I would be a far happier person.
This is just one of many reasons I find myself feeling deeply jealous of people under the age of 2, and here are just some of many things they do that I wish I could too….
Wear Super Hero Costumes
I’ll be honest, if I was able to wear a superhero costume to any situation life could throw at me I would, much like many little kids today, refuse to take it off. Much like this kid.
Ever heard of The Greatest American Hero? Nor should you have. But I went through a brief period where, for reasons I can neither recall or fathom, I thought he was the shit. And when it came time to go to some dress-up thing that I can also not recall, I chose him above all other superheroes to go as.
In those days, they didn’t have ready-made superhero costumes that you could just buy at K-Mart. In those days a kid’s desperate and non-negotiable need to be cloth’d in hero-garb 24 hours a day was met with the dreaded mum-made outfits. Here’s how that went for me.
Now this I know: those are tights I’m wearing there. And I do not have a sister. Furthermore, you can see my undies. Between these things and the red skivvy I’m wearing, this should have been a moment to forget.
Yet I can’t help but think about how liberating it must have been for me. See that whole finger clasping pose I got going on? That’s the pose of a kid who’s found freedom. It probably wasn’t even a dress-up thing I was going to. I was probably going to school or church or something.
I guess when you’re a kid there’s not that need to be taken so seriously the whole time and that allows you more wriggle room when it comes to when and where to wear superhero outfits but, christ, what I wouldn’t give to be able to turn up wearing an outfit like that, mum-made or not, to a work meeting, a date, a court hearing or even a cricket match (oh wait…….)
Get Carried Places
It takes me 20 minutes to walk from my front door to the train station and (obviously) another 20 minutes to walk back home at the end of the day. That’s a total of 40 minutes of involuntary walking each day. You think, if at any time during those trips, a complete stranger came up to me and offered to carry me the rest of the way, I wouldn’t respond with a resounding “hell yeah”? But it never happens. Occasionally I’ll even front-foot the situation and ask someone, but they usually smile politely and decline. Then the cops show up for some reason.
I actually still have quite vivid memories of being carried around as a child. I was carried because I was a goddamed liar. I told my parents that my legs were tired when they weren’t and I did this because I couldn’t be fagged walking, just as generations of kids have before and since. I was between the ages of about 2 and 4 and already, I had and instinctive understanding of one of the things that define us as a species: If you whine enough about something you’ll get what you want. The squeaky wheel gets the grease? Isn’t that what they say?
Anyway, it seems I’m not the first one to come up with this idea.
Shove Random Objects in Peoples’ Mouths Without Warning
Sonny’s very big on this one at the moment. It’s mostly food, but it could be anything, really; a block of wood or a remote control, you name it.
He does it without warning and with that gentle baby-hint of aggressiveness. I’ll have him on my knee and I’ll be singing a song to him, or maybe just chatting quietly to a friend, and all of a sudden he’ll decide that whatever it is that’s sitting in his hands would be far better off if it was rammed suddenly and violently into my mouth. It’s less “I know how to share” and more “shut the fuck up”.
I’m sure that there’s a company out there somewhere that has the necessary psychoanalytical tools to conduct some serious qualitative research that cleverly divides the pretentiousness or level of bullshit of what you’re saying into the level of force with which the child shoves the object into your mouth, but I haven’t come across that particular organisation as yet.
Still, it’s not like there’s any higher purpose to this desire for me. I just think it would be an interesting social experiment. It would amuse me. I would ask strangers for directions, or friends how their new job or their renovations are going. Then, mid-sentence, BAM! I’d just shove something straight into their gob. Just to see the expression on their faces, really. Then I would start giggling uncontrollably, before excusing myself, letting them continue, and then – BAM – shoving the thing straight back in there.
Because that’s basically how Sonny does it. There’s a sense of theatre to it. He doesn’t just hover the piece of biscuit – or the cake or the toy train – in front of their face and then politely ask them if they’d like to eat it. He sticks it in there, no questions asked.
I like to stare. At least I think I do. Probably. I’m not sure, I’ve never been given the opportunity. It’s not just beautiful people or sideshow freaks I’m tempted to stare at. Sometimes it’s someone wearing an interesting t-shirt, or maybe it’s someone I’m pretty sure I know; it can be quite innocent.
But I can’t stare because stupid society has decided it’s not cool.
Sonny, on the other hand, has been given a veritable green light on this shit. In the field of staring, that kid has broken pretty much every social rule there is. Yet he has never once been slapped or kicked in the face or spat on or arrested or any of the other things that would almost certainly happen to me if I did the same thing.
I haven’t done the research but I’d wager there’s a strong chance that, if I sat on a train staring at, say, a woman’s breasts for three stations, she would not come up to me, squeeze my cheeks and tell me that I’m just about the most adorable thing she’s ever seen.
I have no doubt that, if it were socially acceptable, I would sit on public transport and systematically shift my gaze from one person to the next. No books, no Ipod. I would just stare at them.
Occasionally I would point at them. Occasionally, I would start laughing. And occasionally, just like Sonny, I would suddenly burst into tears for no apparent reason.
Throw food on the floor when I’m done with it
Where Sonny is concerned, it’s a good thing that food doesn’t have emotions, because, if it did, it would be in therapy after the way he treats it.
He doesn’t study or consider it; he just shoves it straight into his gob. He shoots first and asks questions later. Then, when he grows bored of it, he doesn’t politely explain that he’s finished, nor does he gently and subtly place it into a napkin before disposing of it. He simply hurls it over his shoulder.
This is even funnier when he’s eating something and spies something else that he’s decided would trump it. It’s more or less a one-move procedure. He’ll reach deeply into his mouth and extract a chunk of chewed up whatever with one hand whilst simultaneously using the other hand to point firmly and dramatically at whatever it is he’s decided he would prefer. Then he’ll scoop it up and shove it straight into the void created by the loss of the previous morsel, which is now lying limply on the ground, rapidly gathering dust and soot.
To be honest, I could keep going. For Sonny, for example, pointing to whatever he wants (touched on in the previous paras) is has become a frequently used and highly successful tactic. I can see the appeal of wearing nappies, too. In a practical sense, that is, no weird sexual stuff going on there. Even the gentle art of screaming when you don’t get your way holds a certain bawdy appeal for me. Maybe I’ll look at these some other time….