Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Down by the Sea

The Illustration Friday word o' the week is Sea. As the tagline for Babe says, you are what you imagine yourself to be.

An imagination is a wonderful thing. A forced imagination might be difficult. We parents are good at forcing our imaginations on our offspring. As my son is now in third grade, I thought it was time he took the next step towards manhood. "Joseph," I said, steeling myself for the tears, "there is no Santa Claus."

He insisted that there was, or else who was that he saw at the mall? "You saw a fat guy with a beard & glasses in a red suit," I replied. "I’m the same thing, but without the suit. You don't call me Santa, do you?" Going for broke, I also delivered the dirt on the Tooth Fairy & the most bizarre holiday lagomorphicaton of all- the Easter Bunny.

Joe was still not convinced, so I showed him the South Park Episode "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000," where upon learning the truth about the Tooth Fairy, the lads of South Park concoct a scheme to make some cash off the legend. It's a more-or-less clean episode, except for a line where one adorable tyke threatens to geld another.

"Dad," Joe instantly asked, "What's a penis & what happens if you cut it off,"

Once I was able to stop laughing & breathe again, I went for the bronze & explained that a penis was what boys peed out of.

"Ohhh," he said knowingly. "So if you cut it off, all your pee would come out. And you wouldn't want that."

"And a lot of blood, too," I added. "You simply don’t want any of your body cut off- right?"

"Right!" he said, happy that he had a handle on things. The epic of the Birds vs. the Bees can wait for another day.

My friend Amanda told me her daughter almost found out about Santa this year- apparently tipped off by a TV show. The young girl was horrified that mommy might have lied, so mommy assured her that yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.

"So what happens when she learns the truth next year?" I wanted to know. Lies compound lies... which brings me to the point. The majority of kids- myself & my son included, are mortified upon learning these horrible truths, because OUR PARENTS LIED TO US. We tell our kids that lying is the worst thing they can do- and then we lie to their faces for years. Is this all some sort of rite-of-passage the next generation of kids can do without? Or is it an essential way of teaching them that people are going to lie to them, so get used to it? My parents & my in-laws were horrified that I "ruined" Christmas for Joe, & assured him that Santa was real. That's it, undermine me & confuse the kid, why don’t you. We claim we keep it up for the kids, but I think we do it for ourselves. We want to vicariously have the wonder all over again, through our children's eyes. We just forget about the confusion afterwards when we find out these things are all make-believe.

Except, of course, for Mr. Hanky. He's real.



Janet said...

Fun illo ,Tony! I'm afraid I'm one of those horrible parents who wanted to carry on the terrible lie as long as possible :)

Anonymous said...

Sea Monkeys are a rip off!! They don't look anything like their pictures!! Like yours though.

Santa is dead in our house but we still stay yup until 2 in the morning wrapping and this year had to swallow rocky road and a celery stick - blah.

Twisselman said...

Yeah! Go Sea Monkeys! Looks like the start of a trading card series. Cool illustration.

Ellen said...

I remember these! I really thought I was getting little naked people with fish tails and fins...boy was I dissappointed.
Nice Illo!

catnapping said...

I cried when my daughter learned that there was no Santa.

I think I was more upset than she. As long as she believed in him...he was still kinda real. I could relive the time when I still believed in him.

String said...

Accck... how about 'there's a bomb to blow your mommy up, a bomb for your daddy too, a baby doll that burbs and pees a case of every flu'...The Spirit of Christmas? Nah, the spirit of MofI

heh heh The problem with Mr Hanky, who I agree IS real, who is a world traveller like Santa, is that he isn't as consumer friendly!

Nice commentary and strange illo!

carla said...

Ah Tony...why do I always seem to read your posts when I'm just waking up? I was doing fine until I got to the penis, I'm glad everything is as it should be. I love the illo. The Sea Monkey has eyes just like your eyes... Has he met Socmo yet?

Tony Sarrecchia... said...

Tony, great job with the Santa thing. As soon as either child asked, I told the truth--much to my wife's horror. No harm done--they seem to be adjusting well.

Nice illo also.