You are a kid. Or you were once a kid. Perhaps you even have a kid of your own. Regardless, you’ve been there: that awful moment when your parents tell you that it’s time to turn off the TV, to use your imagination, to go outside, to do anything else but sit there staring at the screen.
Such a moment presented itself in our household recently. We pressed the “off,” button and the screen went dark. We issued the above directive to the three small people who live in our house.
The three of them huddled in a conspiratory way. Robbi and I exchanged a worried glance. Was the revolution afoot?
But no. Moments later, they grabbed markers and paper and cardboard and scissors and set about the glorious act of making stuff. We were pleased. Here was the proof that we were doing something right. We heaved sighs of relief and left the room to tend to other business while the act of creation played itself out in the living room.
When we came back some 20 minutes later, we were in for a surprise.
A cardboard strip had been transformed. A paper circle had larger implications.
We watched as Kato loaded his “movie” into the “DVD slot” on the front of their “TV.”
Perhaps you will notice that what is showing above is the scene from Augie’s drawing. It was a full-blown conspiracy, neatly triangulated, in which each kid played a part.
At the conclusion of the show about the incomprehensible squiggle, there was another show about a tiger-like creature with a banana. Or was it a boomerang? I do not know. We were too stunned to ask.
We sat there watching as the kids watched their creation — giggling, enthralled, triumphant.
As far as I know, they are sitting there watching it still. And what can we do about it, really?
There may be no clearer example of weaponized imagination.