For as long as I can remember, I’ve been easily entertained. I guesstimate that this is 95% due to my highly analytical nature and 5% due to my dad’s ability to hype up the most mundane things. From a financial perspective, I can’t say that I blame him; if I were a parent, I would probably go to great lengths to convince my kids that inexpensive past times are better than expensive ones. Here are a few examples of things my siblings and I seemed to believe as kids:
- stuffing pillows under your shirt and slamming into your sibling at full throttle > bumper cars
- running through the sprinkler in the backyard > going to the pool
- sitting on your sibling’s back and yelling “giddy up!” > riding an actual horse
The same rule applied to toys. Forget the chemistry set. We were content making “really cool volcanos” outside with some vinegar, baking soda and a huge pile of dirt. Better yet, take us to the hardware store, buy us each a $.49 dowel rod, call them “swords” and let us fight to the [near] death.*
Now, imagine my complete lack of surprise when I came across the following photo:
This is me at age 4 posing with a rock. Yes, a rock. Here’s how I imagine the conversation leading up to the holding of the great rock went:
Dad: “Carly, are you having a good time on our hike?”
CC: “Eh, it’s okay I guess.”
Dad: “You don’t sound very happy. Maybe it’s because your sweatpants are so high-wasted?”
CC: “Dad, don’t be silly. I’m 4. I’m unhappy because there aren’t any fun toys out here.”
Dad: “Oh…well…that’s just because you haven’t played with one of these cool rocks before.”
CC: “A rock?? Who do I look like?? Mowgli?? I have more sophisticated toy tastes than that.”
Dad: “But this isn’t any ordinary rock, it’s a genuine mountain rock!”
CC: “Keep talking…”
Dad: “This rock is extra special. You can do all kinds of things with it! You can throw it, roll it, stare at it. You can even pretend it’s an animal and pet it!”
CC: “Give it!”
And there you have it. I didn’t just hold the rock, I was proud of the rock. I loved the rock.
Now, take a gander at the following picture I just found. This is me and my dad in Aruba about 10 years ago. He asked me to hold a rock. Just like old times. I wasn’t quite as enthused this time around.
*As the youngest and meekest child, this was a truly terrifying experience for me.