Last night I showed the kids this amazing video by a special effects company. About halfway through JB was like, um are you sure our children should be seeing a bunch of guys screaming and on fire and shit? but I thought it was a pretty good way to understand how the intense stuff in movies isn’t real. Riley was particularly mesmerized by the idea of building entire virtual worlds and layering in details (he kept comparing it to Minecraft) (which is sort of funny, being as how Minecraft pretty much looks like you’ve jetted back in time to 1976 in order to play Breakout), but I think he was even more inspired by the battle scenes. Not the guys on fire part — I hope — but the epic explosions and whatnot. As I was driving him to school today I kept hearing muffled warfare-noises from the backseat. “Neeerrrrooowwwkapooosh,” “Powpowpowpowpowpow,” “KaPEWWWW,” etc.
This actually par for the course with Riley. He’s the exact opposite of a violent kid but there is a near-constant stream of gunfire sounds coming from him whenever he’s entertaining himself. Usually he’s holding a toy or Lego and frowningly carrying out some complicated military operation, and sometimes, like this morning, he’s just gazing out the window while dry-firing his imaginary weapons.
Have I told you how a young neighbor girl comes home with us after school during the week? I get a kick out of her because she’s as rough and tumble as the boys, but totally obsessed with different stuff. Horses and nail polish, mostly.
Anyway, there he was, kabooshing away, and usually I tell him to give me a
goddamned goshdarned break from the artillery but instead I cupped my hand over my mouth and said “KSSSHT. Pilot to bombardier, pilot to bombardier, we’re nearing the target, do you read, over?” I peeked in the rearview mirror, and he was frozen, staring back at me with visible waves of delight beaming out from his entire body.
The rest of the way to school the three of us radioed commands back and forth. We released missiles, deployed revolver cannons, and wiped out entire cities of bad guys. Dylan got very excited and maybe a little confused, shouting “THERE’S AN OCTOPUS!” at one point. I drove into the pull-through lane and announced that ksssht, we’re coming in for a landing, and Riley wanted to know if we could please play the game again tomorrow, PLEASE? I said maybe, maybe. Before I drove away, I rolled down the window and said, “Nice work out there, soldier.” And he stood on the walkway in front of his school and damned if he didn’t snap off a perfect salute, with a grin that lit up the grey December sky like a big beautiful computer-generated fireball.