Mockery is an essential element of child-rearing.
I learned this from my father in the late seventies and early eighties. "You left your dolls out," he's say. "DAAAAAD!" I'd yell. "Those aren't dolls. They are Star Wars ACTION FIGURES."
"Is the difference that they have guns?" Dad would want to know. Also, he made fun of individual ones. "Who is this guy?" He'd ask. "That's GREEDO!" I'd roll my eyes, astounded at his ignorance. "Wait," says Dad. "Was that the guy who got shot after, like thirty seconds onscreen?" "Well, maybe," I'd say, smelling the trap but not knowing what direction it would come from. "So they've got you shelling out six bucks of your allowance for a doll of a guy who was part of the story for thirty seconds?" "HE'S NOT A DOOOOLLLLLL!!!!!!" I'd bellow.
Now it's my turn. Evan has recently developed a fascination with Pokemon. (Note that I refuse, on principle, to fiddle with the script to get the accent.) I had thought that Pokemon was safely gone with the 1990s, but, like bell bottoms and genital herpes, it's made a huge comeback. Evan has dozens of the cards, which he has placed carefully in a folder with a level of meticulousness evident nowhere else in his behavior.
He's quite sensitive about all things Pokemon.
So this Sunday we're driving back from dinner at our favorite Mexican dive. We've had one of their generous margaritas and we're in good moods. Evan is in the third row of the behemoth minivan, babbling about Pokemon. At one point he begins talking about a new character he likes, a penguin (of sorts) named (according to him) Epollo or Elpollo.
"A penguin?" asks my wife.
"Yeah! A penguin with powers!" says Evan.
My wife gently breaks it to Evan that someone named Elpollo or Epollo is almost certainly a chicken, not a penguin. This upsets Evan more than Japanese fantasy anthropomorphic animal nomenclature probably should, and the rest of the car ride consists of a shouting fight and a wife-imposed ban on discussion of Epollo or Elpollo or anyone else whose avian identity is confused.
Naturally, this is too good for me to resist.
"Hey Evan," I say a couple of days ago. "That Elpollo guy called. He left a message for you."
"What!?!?!? A MESSAGE?" shouts Evan, almost certain that Dad is having him on but just young enough to imagine the possibilities.
"Yeah," says I. "He said 'bawk bawk bawk BAWWWWKKK!!"
"GeeeeeAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!" explodes Evan. "ELPOLLO IS NOT A CHICKEN! HE IS A PENGUIN!" And so on, into a rant that lands him in his room with the door closed.
More so yesterday. "Hey Evan!" I say. "Can you answer an important question about Elpollo?"
"Yes!" says Evan, excited and, despiting having lived with me for six years, entirely too naive to see what's coming."
"Is Elpollo regular, or extra crispy?" I ask.
"MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! ELPOLLO IS NOT A CHICKEN! HE IS A PENGUIN!" yells Evan.
"STOP TALKING ABOUT ELPOLLO!" my wife yells.
And so on. I can, on average, come up with two or three chicken jokes a day, and Evan still falls for each of them.
This morning, I Googled it and figured out that Evan is almost certainly talking aboutEmpoleon, who is indeed a penguin, albeit a penguin with what appears to be a garish front-mounted trident spoiler.
Should I show Evan?
What fun would that be?
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