"Caws? Caws? Caws?" First thing this morning. "No, there are no more Cars. They all died at the end of the movie. What? I guess you missed that part. They all drove off a cliff because gas prices are so high and then God got all pissed off because you know, that anti-suicide clause he has to make it harder to get into Heaven, so he banished all the Cars to Hell and now they’re down there waxing Satan’s ass and getting all rusty because the hermaphrodites won’t stop peeing on them and I think I heard that Satan himself took Sally as a reluctant lover and Mater was incinerated and his remains were turned into confetti for the next Hell’s Kitchen finale party. I’m pretty sure Elmo is down there too, just in case you were thinking about developing an unhealthy infatuation for him too, in the future." He stared up at me expectantly. "So yeah, no more Cars." I felt kind of guilty I guess, but he didn’t cry and I was able to get him to watch a few minutes of the second Harry Potter movie before he caught a glimpse of the remote and started chanting "Caws? Caws?" with the incessant determination of a minah bird. I cursed silently and pressed play.
When my youngest brother Corey was around two years old, he was super attached to our aunt Sharon. The first thing he’d do each morning was cry, "Shar! Shar! Call Shar?" My mom usually delegated this daunting task to me. I’d have to dial the phone and then hold it up to his ear while he babbled incoherently. It was annoying because I had more important things to do. Like draw hearts around the name of my crush and prank call people I hated.
After awhile, I began saying that Sharon was dead. "Oh Corey, you don’t know? I’m so sorry, but Shar’s dead. DEAD." He would cry and cry and cry and cry as though someone had, well, died. I started doing this every day to the same reaction. But then one day my step-dad caught wind of the psychological break I was threatening to create within Corey’s mind and he put an end to that real quick-like.
I always said I would never tease my own child that way, but holy shit, old habits die hard.
(Unrelated: I’ve been fighting the urge to call everyone "Dolly" lately. I have no idea where this is coming from, and I can’t figure out if it’s more or less annoying than my previous struggle with calling people "Babe," a habit I picked up from sitting too close to Eleanore.)