Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Damn it feels good to be a six year old

This morning on my way into work I passed a minor fender-bender of the “sport utility vehicle vs. school bus” variety. Nobody was hurt, and in fact there looked to be only superficial damage to the SUV (I know, I was hoping that the SUV would suffer thousands of dollars in damage too). But as I drove past I saw there was one little kid sitting about 4 rows back, desperately peering through the window and trying to see every detail of all the police cars and people walking around outside. The kid was obviously unharmed, and it got me thinking how if it had been me in that situation at his age, I would already know that this day was going to be the greatest day ever.

First, he gets to be late to school through no fault of his own. That automatically raises your coolness quotient. Kind of like how when I was a kid, sometimes on wintery mornings in MN one of the buses would get stuck and need to get towed out of a ditch or something. All the kids on that bus would be usually an hour late or so. But you knew they were survivalists when they arrived. It was a 2nd grader’s equivalent of the movie “Alive” (“Yeah, it was a long time, but my mom had packed an extra granola bar so we lived off that and burned the extra napkins she packed for warmth until help arrived.”).

Second, he gets an awesome story to tell all his friends at school and use to impress the girls with his bravery. Yeah, he’ll probably embellish it a bit, adding details about how the SUV driver was Osama Bin Laden and how he personally leapt out an open window to tackle him as he was running away from the scene of the crime – using his black belt in ankle-biting to subdue him until the police arrived.

Third, he gets to watch policemen walking around and see the lights flashing. As opposed to adulthood, when those things cause us pain (because we’re the ones paying the speeding ticket, not Dad) as children they are a source of utter fascination. That’s the reason I think that COPS is so popular – not because adults are watching it so much as because little kids love watching policemen work. No matter how boring it is in real life, to little kids it’s the best reality television ever. I still suffer from this a little bit even today, although I’m more focused on fire trucks usually.

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