(Moon 7 Media)
Hilton Head Monthly — I should first make clear that the two 6-year-olds in the backseat are totally on a sugar high, having recently enjoyed a five-hour “Polar Express” event at the Savannah Roundhouse Museum that featured hot chocolate, icing-loaded cookies and other substances that cause flash floods of cellular-level disobedience to go coursing through the circulatory systems of the average first-grader.
But the fact is that we have been arguing for like 10 minutes about why the word “orange” is required to make the knock-knock joke “Orange you glad you’re not a banana” funny. It’s the most ridiculous argument ever, mostly because I’m right, and yet I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a desolate street in a 1954 pod-people movie screaming “WHY WON’T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME?”
(If you do not know this joke, here’s how it goes: Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana who? Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana who? Knock knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? Right. My son is now substituting “apple” and “raspberry” and “turkey,” for some reason.)
If you’ve ever spent time around 6-year-olds with recent access to tubs full of sprinkles, you know what I mean when I say: Children of a certain age bracket — the one my son is in — temporarily subscribe to an especially twisted form of comedy, a shapeless, Andy Kaufman-like system of setups, punchlines and lengthy improvs that bears zero resemblance to any other humor structure on Earth. Yeah — even British. Allow me to demonstrate.
The boy: “Knock knock.”
Me: “Who’s there?”
The boy: “Chicken.”
Me: “Chicken who?”
The boy: “Chicken who ran up the bridge and jumped off of it and got wet when he hit the DUCK IN THE HEAD (15 seconds of hysterical, respiration-threatening laughter).”
This creepy simulacrum of Tom Hanks will make you believe in Santa, at all costs.
Island Packet — I have put off writing this column for three years now, because at some point its publication will jab a lengthy and irrevocably infectious splinter into the relationship between my son and me, probably even more than the horrible truth about what really happened to his fish when we got back from vacation. (I am afraid, little man, they did not go to the ocean for a visit.)
But I cannot let another holiday season pass without sounding a whistle of warning about what is possibly the third-weirdest Christmas-themed show ever (right behind
“Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special” and “A Left Behind’ Christmas,” in case you were wondering): “The Polar Express,” which is soulless and inorganic and creepers and depicts a world populated entirely by CGI robot Tom Hankses and is also partially responsible for my having to call 911 in late 2008, but more on that later.
“The Polar Express” was made by computers and Hanks plays everybody and it still cost $165 million to make, most of which ostensibly went to determining how many dead-eyed Talking Metaphors with leathery alien skin could be installed into a quiet 32-page children’s book.
PICTURED: T.I., who can get you whatever you like, especially if you would like a huge chain.
GateHouse — In my actual job I am surrounded frequently by children, and by “children” I mean “people who are younger than me,” a group that includes everyone in their twenties and has for years. These children I enjoy having around, because they keep me informed about things that are youthful and trendy, such as:
- The appeal of a mysterious celebrity named “T.I.” (Evidently, he can get them whatever they like);
- What to do when I am Facebook Friended by someone I do not particularly like (do nothing, apparently they can’t tell, unless they count their friend totals, which is pathetic);
- And why anyone in the world would be remotely interested in “Grey’s Anatomy,” a show populated by mopey 43-year-olds whose life lessons are learned exclusively to the sounds of the world’s wussiest music.
We have a symbiotic relationship, the children and me: They are amused at a distance by my gray hair and young child, whom I believe they regard as a bizarre window into a mysterious Future World they think isn’t coming nearly as fast as it is. I, in turn, am energized by their lifeforce, which I sort of draw off of like some sort of parasitic vampire. An old, gray vampire, who can sing “Hot Chocolate” from “The Polar Express” on demand.