Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Putting words in our mouths

So yesterday I was at my son's school and the nurse came up to me, amused, and said she guessed we were expecting a cold summer this year. When I looked at her blankly, she related a little story my son had told her: "My dad said I could get a new computer when it snows in July." She chuckled and clearly seemed to think it was very clever of my husband to have found such a witty way to turn down our son's technology request.

Couple of problems, though: We already have three computers. My son rarely plays on them. He's never asked for a new one. And my husband has never turned him down, wittily or otherwise. The subject of snow in July has never arisen.

I suspected that this was once again a case of my guy picking up blocks of dialog from TV shows and delivering them with such sincerity, in such appropriate ways, that folks naturally assume he's telling a true tale from his own life. And sure enough, that night, when I was watching an "Arthur" re-run with him, what did Binky Barnes say but, "Are we expecting a cold summer? My dad said I could get a new computer when it snows in July."

Now, there's no real harm done if my son's telling anecdotes and school personnel are believing that his dad and I speak as though we have scriptwriters helping us. But it does make me worry a bit about what else he might be saying. Could he pick up a little block of dialog that would make us look cruel instead of clever? I'd better start screening his screen time more closely. And maybe I should start to doubt the anecdotes he tells me about his teachers.

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