23 June 2011

Language Arts

Our son is a genius.

No, really, it’s true.

I know many parents think and say such things about their offspring, but I have empirical proof that this is actually true in our case.

The Doozer invented a word.

Now, as it’s only a word that he uses and that I’ve never heard uttered by another human being, nor seen written down, I can only guess as to its spelling, which to me would be this: kindaly. It has recently cropped up in Doozer conversations and his use of it has been pretty consistent, leading me to derive an actual meaning and definition for this word.

It appears to be stronger than “kind of,” yet a bit shy of “probably.” Apparently, the Doozer saw some kind of gap or vagary in the English language there and took it upon himself to rectify this situation. I imagine the thought process went something like this:

“They do say kind of a lot, but it’s not exactly what I mean,” he muses silently. “And probably is way too committal for my taste, I’d rather leave my options open. I know! A mash-up of these two words is what’s needed. By jove, that’s it! The middle ground between kind of and probably. That’s exactly what I mean to say.”

Or something like that.

But then, he surpassed even this accomplishment. Not only has he begun to invent words (well, one word, anyway), he has now started inventing stories. Sadly, I was not there to witness his first, fledgling attempt at mastering the fine art of being a raconteur, but my wife reported back that the results were, predictably, amazing and hilarious. With a caveat.

“His work is a little derivative,” she admitted. “He was kind of just riffing on episodes of Dora the Explorer that we’ve seen. And his endings could use a little work.”

Obviously, I forced the Doozer to recount his opus to me later that same night. And so he told the story of a knight who went into a forest that was full of scary monsters who growled at him. “He didn’t know they were scary,” he added. And that was kind of it.

Ah, the terseness and simplicity of Hemingway, the imaginative flights of J.K. Rowling. Again, a mash-up of genres, styles, and voices that had come before. Like any great artist, he was stealing from the best and refurbishing the different parts to create something of his own.

Perhaps it is never too early to get the next generation started in the family business. As long as he stays an amateur and doesn’t start snaking gigs out from under me. I don’t want to have to go all Norman Mailer on his Gore Vidal ass and knock my own son’s lights out.

“Words fail the old man yet again,” he might say, paraphrasing (stealing) once again.

Who am I kidding? He’s already on the road to eclipsing me and he’s barely even begun. I might as well pack it all in right now and make way for this budding literary genius.

But I draw the line at giving him a blurb.

No comments:

Post a Comment