Friday, September 04, 2009

60 posts in 60 days, day 7: sensitive new age man




Sometimes I worry that Cal is just too sensitive for his own good. Not to hide behind the excuse of him being "too sensitive" to gloss over all flaws--I've certainly seen some parents describe their little Damien as "so sensitive" while meanwhile, Damien is beating the pulp out of some other kid and will undoubtedly grow up to be the kind of thug who pushes smaller bespectacled classmates into lockers--but really, Cal is sensitive. And I mean that he is too sensitive in the same way that I was probably too sensitive as a kid, and ended up crying every day at school for the first six months of first grade for reasons obvious only to me.

Like...OK, so I let Cal watch "WALL-E" a couple of nights ago. I'm not big on watching movies on school nights, but the fact of it was that we had finished bath early and Joe was working late again and I had to put Mack to bed, so hell, if "WALL-E" will keep Cal safely tethered to the living room for a while instead of exploring the gas range on the stove, I'm all for that. I had only watched "WALL-E" one other time myself a few months ago, but it seemed fine--cute and largely non-violent at the surface, with a level of melancholia and dystopic sentiment that was probably above the heads of most preschoolers anyway.

(On an unrelated note, part of me really, really wants to get the DVD of "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" for Cal, because there are parts of it that I think he'd really love--mostly the first 30 minutes of the movie, I guess. But I also think that sequence near the ends with the clown bicycle hospital would terrify him in into the next century, so I guess it will have to wait. "Is this something you can share with the rest of us, Amazing Larry?")

So anyway, I come back downstairs after Mack has fallen asleep, to find the TV off and Cal subdued.


MICHELLE
Did the movie finish, Cal?

CAL
Yeah.

MICHELLE
Did you like "WALL-E?"

CAL
(Quietly)
Yeah.

MICHELLE
...

CAL
(Mumbling)
I don't really like "WALL-E."

MICHELLE
Really? Why don't you like it?

CAL
(Tearing up)
I don't like that "WALL-E" movie, Mom.


So I assume that something scary or sad must have happened in the movie to upset him, and I'm trying to figure out what in the movie may have set him off, made all the more difficult by the fact that I've only watched the movie once before myself. (In my memory, the entire movie consists of one robot shouting "WALL-E!" and another robot shouting, "EVE-A!" Repeat ad nauseum. Then, let the Oscar nominations roll in!) So I'm asking Cal, "Was it too sad when WALL-E got broken? Was that sad? Did that make you sad? Was something scary? Was it too scary? Was it scary when the spaceship was all tilted and the babies were spilling into space? Babies in outer space? Too scary for you?" Cal isn't saying much. Then, like, half an hour later, he finally spills it.


CAL
(Almost inaudibly)
I don't like that trash.

MICHELLE
The...what?

CAL
The trash on the Earth. How come there was so much trash on the Earth?

MICHELLE
Oh. Oh! Because people didn't take good care of the Earth, and there was too much garbage, and so then they had to leave the Earth and live on the spaceship.

CAL
(Tearful)
I don't like the Earth full of trash.

MICHELLE
Well, that's just pretend, sweetie. And you know, if we keep taking good care of the Earth [blah blah blah insert moralistic environmentalist pinko babblings here, recycling, energy conservation etcetera] then that will never happen. You and and your friends at school are doing a good job already. Like turning off the lights and not wasting water and stuff.

CAL
(Darkly)
But not everyone takes care of the Earth.

MICHELLE
Really? Like who doesn't?

CAL
Like that time we went to Chuck E. Cheese and there was a man in front of us
and he threw a can on the floor.
(More tears)


Damn you, cartoons with a social message, you're depressing my child. From now on, we're only watching movies with no morals at all. Or where the moral is: even if you let some fat rich kid steal your bike, at worst you will be launched into a cross-country journey, meet a number of colorful characters along the way, and end up with a bit role in the Hollywood treatment of your own story. And also, that there is no basement in the Alamo.

(Full bubble blowing picture set here.)

5 comments:

  1. This is the most adorable thing a 4-year-old could have possibly (and yet so wisely) said about WALL-E.

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