My five-year-old son, Mark, is an interesting fellow.
He is very stubborn at times, to the extent that I occasionally wonder if there isn't something wrong with him (he gets this from his mother... trust me).
However, he frequently reasons at levels well beyond his age--to the extent that he rather amazes me at times.
For example I will cite an event of last Sunday.
Natalie, aged 8, was invited to a birthday party at Jeepers (it's a kids place, not unlike Chuck-E-Cheese--you know, nasty but overpriced pizza, games, and rides). The party was scheduled for 1 PM, and Mark was devastated upon receiving the news that he would not be joining her.
I felt bad for the kid, for he has only just entered kindergarten, and he hasn't yet cultivated the kinds of temporal friendships that lead to such opportunities. Therefore, I resolved to take him to a movie during a time that would have him out of the house when Natalie was leaving.
I fully intended upon taking him to see the new (and awful) George Lucas production Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
At the same time, I like to mess with the kid for fun. So when, in transit to the theater, he asked me, "Dad, what movie are we going to see?" I told him, as sincerely as possible, that we were going to see a new, scary movie called Evil Demon.
"What's that movie about?" he asked with a daunted tone.
I proceeded to weave together the plots of several horror movies, but principally the concept of A Nightmare on Elm Street (which had so terrified me as a youth).
"I'm not gonna watch that movie," he stated. "It's probably rated R."
"Yes," I confessed, "it's rated R; but you're allowed into the movie since I will be there with you."
For the next several minutes, Mark proceeded to tell me that a good dad wouldn't take his little boy to a scary movie like Evil Demon, that he wanted to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and if I didn't want to get into trouble with mom, then I'd better take him to Star Wars.
Upon arriving at the theater and finding a parking place, Mark assured me that he would not get out of the car if we were going to see a movie called Evil Demon.
"Listen, buddy," I assured him, "just give the movie a few minutes. If at any time you are too scared than just let me know, and we'll leave."
That got him out of the car. However, his uneasiness was evident in that each of his steps consisted of a stride of about three centimeters.
Finally we arrived at the ticket counter, and I purchased the tickets for Star Wars in a voice low and quiet enough for him not to hear.
In the concession-stand line, Mark told me that if I took him to see a grown-up movie like Evil Demon, then the police would probably throw me in jail. I quickly produced my CPR card from my wallet and told him that this was a "Get out of jail free" card, so I wasn't worried.
At that he made a kind of grunting moan that reminded me of Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade.
Again with the short steps, we made our way to the theater, and brave but wary little Mark followed into the screen-room occupied by about two dozen others.
Once we were in our seats, I noticed that Mark turned around in his chair and started counting.
When he finished, he turned to me and said, "We're not seeing a movie called Evil Demon. We're seeing a movie called Star Wars: The Clone Wars."
"What makes you say that?" I asked.
He replied, "There's too many little kids here for such a scary movie."
Upon this observation, I let the cat out of the bag. I told him that he had reasoned well, and that I was proud of him for following me anyway--knowing somehow that I wouldn't take him to such a movie--but even more proud of how he figured out my ruse.