Katie turned 10 today.
One day last week, faced with her looming cross-over into the double digit ages, she decided to watch country music videos instead of yet another God-awful, teeth-grindingly insipid episode of Full House before going to school. (What is the frickin' deal with Full House??? I HATED Full House when it was first on the air. And now every kid I know LOVES it! Bah!) I was pretty ok with this - as country music is slightly less insipid than those ugly-ass Olsen twins - until they aired a new Toby Keith video.
I have a big ol’ set of preconceived notions about Toby Keith and was fully prepared to hate this video. And Toby did not disappoint. The video was a cross between the The Cask of Amontillado and a snuff film. The girl in the video seemed to be portraying the dualistic message of “Oh, please don’t kill poor li’l helpless me!” and “Oh baby, you’re so hot, especially when you want to hit me.” Quality stuff! Naturally I went off on a long tirade about misogyny, mixed messages, and fantasy-land garbage. At the end of the video, Katie turned around and asked Jackson and I, “Do you think that really happened?”
We were floored. In a world where kids are so cognizant of special effects and such things, I tend to forget that they don’t filter information the same way I do. Jackson and I both gave voluminous speeches about make-believe, truth in advertising and downright misleading information that we see on television, etc, etc. She’s gone back to watching Full House before school.
That was early in the week. Towards the end of the week, we decided we were going to go see The DaVinci Code on Friday night. It is PG-13. What would we do with Katie? We finally decided to take her with us, pending a long pre-movie discussion about the meaning of fiction. Just because a movie says it, don’t make it so.
Katie was exhausted by Friday evening. I felt sure she’d fall asleep by the time the previews were over. No way, Jose. She sat wide-eyed through the whole show. Except, of course, for the obligatory trip to the restroom halfway through. At what point did she hear the call of Nature? The point where Gandolf/Magneto explains to Sophia what exactly the Holy Grail is. Pretty pivotal point, eh? Yeah. She missed all that.
When we left the theater, we asked if she had any questions.
"Why were they looking for that lady?”
Insert long explanation of the Grail theories, Gnostic gospels, bits of archeological history and a generous dose of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as well as additional harping on the difference between fact and fiction here. Did she have any other questions?
"Uh, what’s an ancestor?”
So, the good news is she asks questions. The bad news is she and Jackson and I all have such hugely different frames of reference. It’s like the kid who asks his dad where he came from. After listening to Dad’s halting, embarrassed, long-winded explanation of sexual reproduction, the kid says that’s really interesting ‘cause Johnny came from Cleveland. Yep. Just like that.