I made Chooch a sandwich after school (shredded cheese on white, melted in the microwave; a.k.a. Grilled Cheese a la Mommy) and then we sat down and watched CNN together. He was full of questions about today’s tragedy in Japan and while I struggled to answer some of them, it occurred to me that this was the first time he seemed genuinely aware that something very wrong was happening in the world. I made sure to point out to him how lucky he was to be sitting there, eating some piss-poor excuse of a sandwich, while so many people were having their world turned upside down and dropped in a barrel of rotten pandemonium.
“They shoulda just run,” he said, shoulders all scrunched up after he learned that there was a death toll. “Why didn’t they just run?”
I was left with the unenviable task of explaining that some natural disasters just can’t be outrun.
We must have watched the news coverage for at least an hour, and then after learning that Andrea and Paul were safe in California, Chooch said, “Thank god,” in a decidedly un-four-year-old tone.
Then he started asking me unlimited questions about CNN, ending with him taking a virtual tour on their website.
Henry had been home from a work for a few minutes when the day’s events came up.
“Yeah, did you know what happened?” Chooch asked Henry, eager to fill him in.
“I heard,” Henry said. “Earthquake.”
“No, about Japan!” Chooch argued.
“Yeah, I know. There was an earthquake.”
“NO. IT WAS A WAVE!” Chooch cried in frustration. He was really focused on the tsunami part of the package and desperately needed to inform his father.
“I heard about that too,” Henry promised. This was the WRONG answer. Chooch is apparently just as competitive with news-spreading as he is with Wii and winning impromptu races up the driveway, because he lost his shit.
“GODDAMN YOU!” he yelled, and then more calmly, he added, “I wanted to tell you.” But there were demon-eyes and crossed-arms that went along with it, so it was still pretty frightening.