Friday, July 21, 2006

Playtime I: Imagining the Mundane

My son plays these elaborate games within games. Recently, he and I built a zoo out of blocks and boxes, populating it with various toy animals. He and I were the zoo keepers. The animals had a playtime - where they had several adventure games (the monkeys were playing pirate, while the hippos - incongrously - were pretending to be lions, and the pigs were playing family.) As we shuttled between these games, we also had to attend to ongoing business at the zoo which was receiving visitors who were having their own adventures.

(I kept losing track of which adventure we were in - and my son would scold me for not paying attention. This game did something I didn't think possible - it gave me sympathy for the Windows operating system. No wonder it keeps shutting down when too many things are open.)

Eventually the little bears at the zoo began an elaborate pretend game, in which one of the bears was king and the other bears were coming to him with their problems. I couldn't exactly follow what the problems were - the narrative thread was a bit shaky. However, at one point, my son, playing the little bear king, said, in his deep little wise voice, "That is an important problem. We will have to have a meeting."

I was so proud. Already, he knows how to evade issues by referring them to a committee. (I was about six times his age before I learned how to do that.)

This may not augur well for his future success however. When I was little, I had lots of Fisher-Price toys. So I put the little Fisher-Price parking garage right next to the Fisher-Price airport and charged exorbitant rates. When the Playmobil guys came by and tried to build another parking garage I bought off the Fisher-Price town council to pass new zoning ordnances. The Fisher-Price dad always complained about the parking rates when they went on their daily vacations to my underwear drawer - but what could he do? I also owned the Fisher-Price school bus which was the only shuttle service available.

Unfortunately, my business achievements peaked early and have not been matched by comparable commercial success in adulthood. I am hoping my son is still on an upward trajectory.

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