Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sound

"I'm so great, I'm so great, I'm the best father ever."

I was singing to the tune of "Edelweiss" as I filled the dishwasher this evening.

"Shut up," the middle boy yelled from downstairs. "I'm trying to watch TV."

I sang louder. The youngest grimaced and tried to concentrate on his Facebook page.

"Shut up!" the middle boy shrieked.

I sang even louder.

"Are you going to help me with my homework?" asked my oldest.

The last homework I helped him with was the Cretaceous Period clay diorama he made in first grade. It was beautiful. He got an E in that class.

Anyway, that was a long time ago and he's done just fine since then without my help. He's in a literature course now, though, and he recognizes my enthusiasm for the subject even if he doesn't understand it.

"Of course I'll help," I said. "What do you need to do?"

"Annotate this essay."

"Let me see it," I said. "Oh, Annie Dillard. She's great. Are you going to read 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek?'"

"I hope not."

"You should. It's remarkable. And you should read Sigurd Olson and Edward Abbey and Aldo Leopold. I've got their books downstairs somewhere."

"Can you just help me with the homework?"

"Okay. Here's what you want to do." We worked through Dillard's "The Death of a Moth," talking about decay and artistic passion and rebirth.

"Does that make sense?" I asked him after we'd talked for a while.

"Yeah, sure," he said, eager to finish this assignment so he could get back to his chemistry. When he needs help with science the Lovely Bride is able to provide it, and with much less wild-eyed enthusiasm than I bring to literature.

"God, I love this stuff," I said to myself after the oldest went back to the study.

"What?" asked the youngest.

"Edelweiss!" I sang.

"Be quiet!" the middle child yelled.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I think applying more wild-eyed enthusiasm to science would be a good idea.

regardless of all those movies.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Tell 'em to read John Toland.

And William Shirer, for that matter.

Brando said...

Kudos to you son for enjoying chemistry, Snag. Hardest subject I ever studied.