25 May 2010

The Far Side of Normal

Isaac and Matt are in his bedroom reading while I write this. Why am I not joining in the bedtime story ritual, you ask? Because they are not reading stories. They are reading The Far Side. An entire book of collected cartoons. It's not that I do not enjoy Far Side comics. I just don't enjoy 100 of them in one sitting. But Isaac does, so at least once a week I banish myself from storytime so the boys can have their fun.

Matt introduced Isaac to The Far Side a couple of months ago. He has some books from his childhood that he pulled out to share. Some of the cartoons are skipped, either due to their complexity or their subject matter. Yes, we do have some standards when it comes to what is or is not appropriate for our 4 year old. For a majority of the cartoons, though, Matt reads the captions on the comic and talks about the pictures and many times Isaac does get the joke.

Since The Far Side has entered the bedtime ritual, our collection of Gary Larson books has grown. Matt has bought a couple more at Ed McKay and at yard sales mainly out of self-preservation. Even he gets tired of going over the same comics over and over.

Typically, Isaac gets to choose his own bedtime stories. When The Far Side comes out there are some rules. First, it is the only book he gets that night. (Have you ever read a Far Side collection cover to cover? It is not a quick read). Second, Daddy reads it. If Daddy is not available, sorry boy. It will have to wait until tomorrow.

I may hand off to Daddy on Far Side nights and refuse to be directly involved in the reading, but I do not go far. Even now I can hear Matt reading and explaining and I am listening eagerly for Isaac's comments and for his laugh. It secretly thrills me that Isaac's tastes are as odd as his father's. Yes, and mine, too. It probably means that middle school is going to be much more of a horror for him than for the kids who are obsessed with every mainstream, pop-culture phenomenon out there. But, I hope it also means he is going turn out to be a pretty cool adult who can think creatively and laugh at the absurdity of life.

The four basic personality types: 1) The glass is half full 2) The glass is half empty 3) Half full... No! Wait! Half empty!... No, half... What was the question? 4) Hey! I ordered a cheeseburger!
The Far Side, Gary Larson