Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cruel Tricks For Dear Friends

Fatherhood is full of little joys; your child's smile, watching him discover the world, yada yada yada. But my favorite moments are when I mess with his head.

It started innocently enough. We were taking a break from our usual game of Chase The Boy with Lego Vehicles, and I had Mister Plow (no relation to Homer Simpson) eat a Lego piece. It was a simple enough trick. I brought Mister Plow down and knocked the piece into my hand and palmed it. It wasn't up to David Copperfield's skill level but it was quick enough to fool The Boy.

He's three now, and wise in the ways of the world. He has a pretty good idea that inanimate objects don't eat each other. I then picked up the plow with both hands and spat the piece back out, another sleight of hand beyond his perception. He gave me a perfect "you're putting me on" look and insisted I do it again. And again. I eventually showed him the trick, which sparked his interest even more. So I spent a good ten minutes going over the moves until he got distracted by a piece of string.

I toyed briefly with the thought of keeping it a secret, just to make the world (and me) a bit more mysterious. But kids have enough to figure out in a Newtonian universe, much less a quantum one. I don't need to add magic to the mix.

Besides, Penn & Teller have made a living showing people that the joy isn't in seeing the trick, but in appreciating how it's done. But for The Boy's fourth birthday, when I pull a Lego rabbit out of a hat, that secret I'm taking with me to the grave.