I can't decide what to tell the kids when we talk about the existence of Santa Claus. They have their own theories. And I don't want to end up twisting my explanations into something ridiculous like Christmas movies that say stuff like, "Santa is a symbol of the spirit of Christmas and Christmas spirit is certainly real..." That would be going to an abstract place where a 5 year old couldn't be expected to follow.
I really hate liars and it is hard for me to hold the truth from my kids. But I also can't justify telling my kids, "The world is built on lies. Every year you get older you will see more and more evidence that the world and people-in-general are horrible. We don't have a solution for everything and often we don't even try to solve important problems. We have a lifestyle dependent on looking the other way while terrible things happen and most people aren't worth knowing."
That's cynical. I would rather let them believe in magic. They deserve to know that there is a vein of gold running through the craggy mountain.
One day, I was studying for a test for the daytime job. My daughter asked me, "What are you reading?"
I said, "I'm reading about magnets. There are lines that move out of one end of the magnet and into the other end. They're invisible but if you pour metal filings over them they will show you the shape of the lines."
My daughter stopped me abruptly, "Wait a minute... invisible is REAL?"
It blew her mind. It made me smile. Invisible is magic. Electricity is magic. Aliens are magic. The stuff in a telescope or microscope is magic. Magic is real. Curiousity is alive. Fascination is alive. I don't feel like I have the right to kill it. Maybe next year I'll tell the oldest kid the harsh truth.
When I worked at the desk job, I got in trouble at a meeting with upper-management because they lowered the education requirements and the pay-scale for the new people they were hiring and I asked them if they thought that was the best way to get quality employees. I gave some playful examples of new-hire behavior to support my doubt. I got more than one lecture about how my question was absolutely inappropriate and it even lowered my score on my yearly evaluation months later. The usually callous policy-enforcers were VERY concerned that I may have hurt someone's feelings by asking such a question. They told me I needed to think about the impact my actions might have on the feelings of people around me.
I still think I was right to do what I did and wouldn't change it. However, I've noticed that when I tell one friend about the quirky behavior of another of my friends, they are usually quick to jump to the conclusion that my quirky friend is kind of a freak. I can sit there and say, "No. My friend is cool" till I'm blue in the face but it's too late and all they can think of is the one behavior or event that puts them in the freak category.
I must say I'm a little disappointed that people could care less about a million redeeming qualities and focus on one out-of-the-ordinary thing that might put them in an unfavorable light. Take the 18-yr-old mofo for example: One time I told another friend that he has never had a girlfriend and he's a bit clueless of how to get anything started with a girl. Now the other friend seems to think the 18-yr-old has the social skills of a thawed out caveman. Mofo isn't a leper, he's just never found someone like that before. Now I see the impact of what I've said but I don't feel like I've done anything wrong. I have the ability to see the good in someone despite a perceived minor flaw. What's everyone else's problem?
I went bowling with the mofos yesterday. We're thinking about starting a league team.
My wife bought me something expensive and unnecessary for Christmas. I returned it. But later, when she's awake, I'll tell her I appreciate that she thought I deserved to be rewarded that way. I'll say, "I love you, too."
I started listening to the howstuffworks podcast. It's good.
My kids play hilarious games. Today they were playing a game called rock-paper-scissors-SWORD! I asked them, "Does sword just beat everything?" They said, "No. Axe does." One day I walked into the room and my two youngest kids were lying on the floor, twitching around. I asked them, "Are you guys okay?" They said, "Yes. We're just playing a game. It's called Monkeys-Who-Fall-Down-And-Get-Hurt."
We're taking the kids to a BBC Walking-With-Dinosaurs event in Salt Lake. We watch the short commercials with the giant dinosaurs walking around the arena. We can't figure out if they are puppets or robots or what. Maybe they are actual creatures from that movie "Billy and the Clone-a-saurus."
There is a lot to do and life is short.