The boy(s) ain’t right

My youngest nephew, bless his heart, tries. He really does.

But when you’ve coasted by this long on your cuteness, both in terms of looks and behavior, why should something as trivial as school matter?
Christmas motor oilJon’s in the middle
At top, young Kevin. Above, young Jon (in the middle, wearing the Colts shirt).

The sad thing is, they say he’s just like me. We do, of course, look alike, which is a sad thing for him, knowing he has to possibly grow up to look like this. What bothers me, though, is that my parents say he acts just like I did at that age (he’s 6), which is not so much an indictment of his actions but more of an “I can’t believe I did those things” for me.

In the early days of this school year, Jon, a first-grader, asked if he could perform a dance routine. She agreed, because after all, who would deny this? I’m sure it was all she could do to keep from running down the hall, banding on other doors and saying “You gotta come catch this.” And sure enough, Jon performed a dance, using move he learned from a basketball-dribbling exhibition. I’m not sure how the dribbling pertains to dancing, but hey, maybe it was interpretive.

Earlier this week, Jon provided the encore, closing out a day with his own rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s cover of “Old Dan Tucker,” complete with Bruce’s countdown intro and a vocal representation of the banjo beginning.

I can’t say anything about it, though. You see, in 1981 when I was in first grade at the same school, Stanton Elementary, the teacher, Mrs. Stewart, told us we could stand in front of the class and sing a song, any song, we wanted. I’m sure most of the more normal kids chose age-appropriate ditties, like The Farmer in the Dell, or maybe a classic tune by The Oak Ridge Boys. Either would have been fine, I’m sure. Not for me. What does this idiotic little 5-year-old sing?

The theme to the TV show Dallas.

This is where I should point out it is an instrumental.

If only it stopped there …
Sample 1
Writing Sample No. 1
Sample 2
Writing Sample No. 2
Writing Sample No. 3

Granted, his handwriting is slightly better than mine, but I can spell better than he can (primarily because I have more access to computers). My biggest concern here is that he just has tossed grammar rules out the window, and despite what some Georgetown newspaper readers might say, I’m fairly confident in my ability to string together coherent sentences.

I can overlook that, though, based on one of his sentences in Writing Sample No. 3 that says “as I go up I wi be a palegtoisi,” which translates into “When I grow up, I want to be a paleontologist.” (Note, Jon might not be entirely to blame for his lack of focus, as the next sentence, “I see a fox,” provides evidence of a rampant wildlife infestation at the school. It would be rather difficult to write a sentence when various woodland creatures scoot by every few seconds).

Now, the only reason I could translate that paleontologist sentence is because that’s exactly what I wanted to be at that age (I even knew how to spell it). What are the odds that any 6-year-old a) knows what a paleontologist is; and b) wants to be one? What are the odds that two people in the same family, separated by 25 years, would share the same career path?

I gave up on that dream, later wanting to become an archeologist (thanks Indiana Jones), an astronaut (until Challenger blew up, which scared the bejesus out of me) and a baseball player (OK, so that dream still exists). I only hope Jon doesn’t give up so soon and follows that as far as it can take him.

And if that doesn’t work out, well, he can always be a dancer.


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