Sunday, July 26, 2009

photo finish

I have to repeat a joke my brother made up. He was telling me about how his grandkids catch snails and then hold snail races. I was trying to picture this (How do you keep them going in the same direction? For that matter, how do you keep them going?) and began asking him questions related to "How do they know who wins?"

He shook his head and said, "There's no photo finish for these guys. You've gotta use an oil painting."

My brother is always making up arcane little logic jokes like these, and they always make me laugh for years afterwards. Although I repeated this joke to one person and she totally didn't even smile.

On a related note, my great niece can catch butterflies in her hand, hold them by one wing while they flutter, show them to me, and then let them fly away. She's spooky calm around animals and had my dog (twice her size) adoring her in no time. "How do you know him so well?" she asked me, and I kinda wanted to ask her the same question. But the fact that she, at age four, asked such a thing is indicative of her deep curiosity about animals. How many people care what a dog is thinking? But she already wants to learn how to decode that body language.

I love it when kids have something that is so uniquely theirs. When you see kids do stuff like that, stuff they aren't taught, stuff they're just passionate about, how can you not believe in self-determination?

There's something inside us we can't help. For her it's invertebrate sporting events.

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