Friday, October 01, 2004

The Jealousy Ball

Joey is twirling this plastic ball that expands to a diameter of about two feet and contracts back to six inches – it is purple and green, and looks like an engineering student’s strange civil engineering project. As he stretches it out by simply lifting it from one end, he says he wishes that Jake would get rolled over by a car. I give him a dirty look, enough of a signal to let him know that’s not a real nice thing to say, and I am content to leave it at that, but he wants to explain.

It seems this ball is a jealous wish ball, he explains to me in a calm tone. He goes on to say that if you made a good wish on the jealous ball, it doesn’t come to earth, it goes to space to an alien on Mars. The jealous ball only allows jealous wishes to come true on earth. This is said with a strange confidence that the inherent properties of the jealous ball excuse his wishing ghastly events to befall his younger brother; as if his only choices were whether to wish for Jake to be steamrolled by a car or to have a baby grand piano dropped on his head, and he thinks he’s choosing the more humane of the two options. It’s a confidence that makes you think real hard before dismissing the logic, even if it’s coming from a four year old.

Before thinking too hard about the flaw in his logic, I pick up the ball in the same manner he did, and let it go while saying “I hope that John Kerry gets hit by a car.” OK, OK, don’t get so offended – I had in mind one of those hybrid cars that runs partially on electricity, which means I am at least envisioning that he gets hit by a Kyoto friendly vehicle, and there is not a Republican’s chance of attending the premiere of Farenheit 911 that it is going faster than 40 miles per hour. Much more humane than a baby grand – and I have no choice – it is the jealousy ball! A good wish would have went right to a Martian, and God knows those damn Martians deserve nada.

Joey and Jake are sworn mortal enemies. Jake's most repeated sentence is – “I am not [insert one of fifteen pejorative terms four-year old boys call two-year old brothers].” He says it always in a vexed and tired tone, responding to that sing-song tease inflection that characterizes all of Joey's scandalous and libelous charges. It's a hard life constantly having to emphatically state that you are not, in point of fact, a diaper head.

Of course we had hopes that Jake, as the third child, would be a girl, but now I am real glad he is not – because if he were, he’d be the type that is attracted to the bad boy he thinks he can change. As much as most of his fights are with Joey, his preference is nevertheless clearly for Joey at the moment. This flip flops from time to time – for a couple months of time Billy might be Jake’s primary antagonist, and at the same time Jake’s favorite of the two. Somewhere in that kid's head lies the psyche of a supermodel who gets beat up by a drug-addicted guitarist, but always comes back for more. As a guy, he can live with that; he might make a few 4 am drunken phone calls to ex-girl friends who treated him like crap, but who among us hasn't?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Sign up for my Notify List and get email when I update!

powered by