“Dad,” Grace asked, “what’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen?”
Grace has great timing when it comes to questions like this. I’d just watched Andrew Luck rush for a touchdown to give the Indianapolis Colts a monstrous lead against my Denver Broncos. In that moment, that was the scariest thing I’d ever seen.
Her question got me thinking.
So, I rounded up a post for the Wondering Brain. Jessica had asked for Halloween week posts.
The best idea I could muster was a sad tale about the year I wanted to be a Denver Broncos player for Halloween, and my mom made me trick-or-treat in my Broncos pajamas.
I lost a little religion that day, a 9-year-old in pajamas. All I wanted was a jersey. Instead, I got a tour of shame in pajamas. No amount of KitKat could remedy that.
I gained a little back on Halloween, 2013. After shifting an assignment or two, I was able to sneak away from work to accept Grace’s invitation to her class’ pumpkin party.
“We need manly men, dad!” How can you say no to that?
After 30 minutes of carving 17 scoops of pumpkin guts and helping kids count 451 seeds, it was time to fly. Grace didn’t want me to go – without her. I couldn’t sweep her away and keep her from social studies, though, so, off I went.
Down her face went, to her bent knees on her chair.
I looked back into the room as I left.
I saw my girl wipe tears away with her face down so no one would see. That’s how you hide a broken heart in the third grade, apparently. And it’s also how you get signed out for the rest of the day and come to work with daddy.
“Are you glad I got you out of class, honey?” I asked in the car.
“Yes!” Grace said.
“Aren’t you glad you brought me?”
Here’s what else was on the kids’ minds this week.
1. If I put hot air in a box and put it somewhere cold, will it make a tornado?
No. It’ll make healthcare.gov.
When hot and cool air meet, it creates conditions conducive to tornadoes. It has to happen on a scale larger than your box (a clear Tupperware box) unless you’re making twisters to terrorize Horton Hears a Who. Hot collides with cool, which can form a vortex of air known as a tornado.
We’ve never had a tornado in our neighborhood, but …
2. Has anything bad ever happened in our neighborhood?
I wish a tornado was the worst thing.
For all the 3 a.m. motorcycles and booming-bass speakers (why does it always sound like it’s the same song?) at night, and that one annoyance of a dog (what is it with noise at night), it’s not a bad place to live. We have friends, a pool, and a street you can safely vandalize with sidewalk chalk.
Someone was shot and killed here this fall, about seven blocks away. The shooter was caught the next day. Still, it’s tough to pass by that house and not think about it. I hope we’ll always remember.
3. Were those female deer?
Didn’t you see that “runner girl” sticker on her butt?
Female reindeer have antlers. Otherwise, it’s a male thing. They fight each other with them during mating season. Human males drive expensive cars and wear musk cologne during mating season. Male deer shed their antlers after mating season, which makes them look girly.
Deer, boys, and girls, seem to scatter when we hear gunshots in the neighborhood, though.
4. Is “Jack” beer?
Side note: I picked up Grace from a sleepover in time for her soccer match last Saturday. She forgot her toothbrush, which is the first time in the history of Jesus that a child didn’t consider their dental health when they packed up pillows and diaries and rubber-band looms for a slumber party.
“I could brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack, daddy,” is a sentence you don’t aspire to hear from your 9-year-old. Generally.
Jack, Ke$ha’s mouthwash of choice, is known as Jack Daniels, the best-selling whiskey in the United States. It’s named for a former major-league outfielder named Harold Jack Daniels.
You can see why it’s called Jack Daniels. I can’t ever see Ke$ha brushing her teeth with a bottle of Harold.Why are we discussing whiskey?
5. Are there people who don’t believe dinosaurs existed?
Yes, and you know what? They don’t know Jack.
We’ve found bones in tar pits and Utah mountains. Some believe God created fossils for us to discover. As a kid, I’m pretty sure I leaned over the railing and touched one at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. I hope there’s a statute of limitations for fossil-molesters. So, dinosaurs definitely existed, although people are sometimes reluctant to acknowledge that.
But we have proof, from ants stuck in amber drops to complete stegosaurus skeletons to a lineage of natural selection that evolved from ankylosaurs to tortoises to Jason Giambi.
Man, the world where dinosaurs were made up?
Now that’s scary.