Boy dinner conversation
By Lisa Smartt
Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 9:16 pm
“Daddy, the thing that makes buildings blow up in a fire is called backdraft.” “If you mix baking soda with vinegar, you can make an explosion that can knock somebody’s eye out.” “Mom, if I were in a sword fight with a famous ninja, I’d win. I promise I’d win ’cause I’d use the biggest and best sword and he wouldn’t be able to kill me ’cause I’d kill him first.” “There was this guy who propelled into space with a jet engine and he flew to earth in a parachute and the parachute got caught in a tree and he nearly died. But he didn’t die. He ended up on the Discovery Channel.” Welcome to my dinner table. I affectionately call it “boy world.” No emotions. No relationship trauma or drama. Just pure action-packed information about conquering the world. Move over, Terminator. Here come the Smartt boys.
I’m always amazed when I spend time in little girl homes. A friend’s daughter once relayed the following valuable information to me without ever taking a breath, “Jenny said that Laura said that Kelly doesn’t want to be my best friend. But it’s not true. Kelly IS my best friend. Jenny and Laura just don’t want Kelly to spend time with me and so they’re trying to make me think that Kelly doesn’t like me anymore. But Kelly DOES like me because she sat with me at lunch and she gave me this watermelon lip gloss and she didn’t give Jenny or Laura any lip gloss. AND I also know that she’s inviting me to her sleep over and we’re gonna talk about the fact that she likes Jimmy and Jimmy doesn’t even know she likes him because everyone thinks Jimmy likes Amanda because he sits next to her in music and they shared the ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ book during the school play, but Jimmy told Bobby that the teacher made him share the book with Amanda. I think Jimmy and Kelly will probably get married someday and be very happy together and I’ll be the maid of honor and wear a long pink dress and lots of eye make-up.”
Whew! I didn’t have the heart to tell my little friend that third-grade Jimmy doesn’t really care about Amanda or the school play or Kelly. He doesn’t care about his wedding. He doesn’t care about the bridesmaid dresses or even who the bride will be. Truthfully, every boy mom knows that little Jimmy is at home figuring out how baking soda and vinegar can knock someone’s eye out ... or how to use an old broom handle to defeat the greatest ninja on the planet. If Jimmy is the over-achieving sort, he may even be figuring out how to strap bottle rockets to the family van and launch it into the field next door. And of course, there’s a band of pirates in the field next door who must be conquered.
I know. Some girls like action movies. Some guys like talking about relationships. I’m not trying to make generalizations about life. I’m just talking about the world I currently live in. I expect that someday our boys will turn into well-rounded young men who can communicate well with females and who aren’t afraid to be emotionally vulnerable. But that’s not today. In their estimation, there are just too many things that haven’t been blown up yet.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 1.14.09