Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Kid and I

Early Supermarine Spitfire Mk I, 19 Squadron

First, we go to Mutts, then The Argyle Sweater, and finally, Red and Rover. That's how we start our day -- after getting up, I mean. You probably recognize these as daily comic strips and I freely admit I need a little visit with my inner child in the morning. It's always been hard for him to get jump started. Even when I was younger he had trouble. Mornings just aren't his best time, so we sit down to the computer and check out our mutual favorites. It's good for us both, I suspect.

Mutts, by Patrick McDonnell, has a couple of things going for it, a cute strip and a meaningful quote, which sometimes manages to find its way here as inspiration for writing. A good friend turned us on to The Argyle Sweater, which reminds me of Gary Larson's, The Far Side. It's got the same quirkiness that finds humor in the obvious. Of course, to truly enjoy it, you have to have gotten to Piaget's stage of formal operations which means the brain can process abstractions. My kid is still at concrete operations, so the Sweater sometimes goes over his head. Fortunately, not mine.

Red and Rover, however, is the one we enjoy the most. Since we share our living space with a Yellow Labrador, it's a simple matter to see ourselves in the characters, a dog and his boy. I don't know where Brian Bassett, their creator, gets his ideas. Surely, it's about him as a child and he draws on those experiences, but to come up with something new every day leaves me in awe. I wish I had his brain, now and then, just on loan, to shift mine in new directions.

So, once we've visited our comic friends, I turn to a website that nurtures me, the adult, for a few minutes, and then we come here. You might think my kid retires to the chair near the window with a book or to daydream while I work, but it's not that way. We have a genuine collaboration with him offering suggestions for new words or the occasional ingenious phrasing. He really amazes me at times. I'll look at what appears on the page and know I didn't write that.

Sometimes we stop in mid-sentence, me wondering what comes next, and him gazing fondly at our calender of World War II Warbirds, those timeless crates that flew over the Pacific and Europe. This month's is a British Spitfire, the same one "flown" by Ben Affleck in Pearl Harbor. He wants me to add, they also flew Hawker Hurricane's in the film, but I'm drawing the line at describing their differences. We can only digress so far.

Anyhow, so that's how this works. He indulges my proclivity for periodically delving too deeply into esoterica and I do the best I can to listen when he tells me it's time to play. All in all, I think it's a good relationship. I heartily recommend it. Oh, sorry, we heartily recommend it.

( Mutts, The Argyle Sweater, & Red and Rover are under copyright protection; Public Domain image of a Supermarine Spitfire Mark I via Wikipedia)
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