Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Diet of Superheros

"We're on our way up to Sydney to meet your Uncle Davey."

My Mum was on the phone to my nephew Olly, attempting to explain her absence from his usual routine of habitual nanna harassment. Olly is a smart kid. A month ago his interest in birds was such that he asked my Dad what bird he would be, assuming we lived in a world where people were birds. Not really having thought much on the matter of poultry affiliation, Dad thought instead that he would choose a bird that Olly had heard of. "Well, a seagull I guess. I guess I would be a seagull."

"Hmm." replied Olly, mentally weighing the pros and cons of his choice. "Nah... Too beachy." It will be years before he works out that all the best birds hang out at the beach, but no matter which way you fly it was a pretty inspired response. I suspect that his understanding of where I've been for the past 9 months is less developed however, but he hides it well.

"Would you like me to give him a message from you?" Mum asked.

"Of course you can." Olly replied, stalling for time while he searched for some profundity. "Tell him... Elephants."

Although I've been fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time with him over the 3 year tenure of his nephewship, I've got to admit that his point alluded me. Was he communicating his capacity not to forget some wrongdoing I had previously inflicted, or simply informing me I had an elongated shnoz and was frightened of mice? I made a mental note to ask him about it, but was pretty sure I had been out-foxed.

When I made it down to Canberra and starting spending time with him and his wont-be-left-behind brother Gus, I was reminded that when it comes to kids, conversational direction is seldom controllable.

"Davey," Ollie turned to me during dinner one night, his brow furrowed with a thought that had obviously been causing him some distress. "Davey, is it true that Spiderman eats spiders?"

I put my knife and fork down, giving the question the attention it deserved. "Well that all depends on which camp you're aligned with mate. Those pro-cannibal Spidey pundits would have you believe all kinds of misnomers about the great webslinger, but take it from me little man; this is one case where dude aint what he eats."

He seemed relieved. I mean honestly, the lengths some people will go to frighten kids. I was about to continue explaining the origins of Spiderman's power due to being bitten by a radioactive and potentially lethal lab spider, but was distracted instead by the little dude inspecting a booger he'd just retrieved from his nose. "Well I aint going to eat that, Davey."

Time for me to be relieved. As an uncle, I'm pleased that my responsibility starts and stops with super hero myth debunking, rather than the higher moral teachings of snot consumption abstinence. I failed that subject if I recall.


kiki said...

i think it's time you gave him 'the talk'

Kath Lockett said...

What a wonderful uncle you are - Spiderman paranoia-theories need to be debunked immediately, or the poor little guy won't be able to attend any of his little buddies' themed birthday parties for years.

davey said...

Kiki, you mean the one that shatters his little hopes and dreams? Two steps ahead of you buddy.

Milly, my thoughts exactly. Its about time we weeded out the falsehoods from fictional stories containing characters who wear costumes. I'm fed up!

Mars said...

kids say the darndest things...?