This weekend, NPR’s This American Life featured stories on “Kid Logic.” Over the course of the hour, Ira Glass introduced stories of children who tried to make sense of the many puzzles of the adult world. In one story, a little girl’s best friend discovers that her father “is the Easter Bunny.” Rather than putting two-and-two together, both little girls decide that the dad IS actually the Easter Bunny. Their parents go along with the ruse.
But how would a child know? Do you assume that your parents are playing an elaborate prank on you? Especially when your whole culture is in on the joke?
The story made me think of my own leaps of logic. As you might have guessed from the picture above, every time I heard “guerrilla warfare” on the news, I thought Planet of the Apes was at hand.
While I have many of my own embarrassing stories, I also asked my friends to contribute their own “kid logic confessions.” Here are some of my favorite. Please let us hear your stories as well!
“Ms. Tubman to Platform 9 3/4s!”
A friend tells me that she thought the slaves used an actual, literal, “underground railroad” to make their escapes. How they constructed something so elaborate without being detected remains a mystery…
What’s all the fuss about Watergate?
“I thought Watergate referred to a dam of some sort. I can still see the same image in my mind.”
“Who wants a nightcap?”
“All those 70s shows when they would invite someone to “stay for a nightcap.” I thought they were giving them an actual hat. In my head it looked like a Scrooge-style long “nightcap.”
On “Parting Gifts” at the end of game shows:
“I thought they ALL got turtle wax. I wanted some of that! Only, I didn’t have a turtle.”
“Bay of Pigs? How many pigs fit in the Bay of Pigs? If the pigs could swim, the water must be really dirty.”
I wonder if Haverty’s has a showroom…
”I struggled with the term deathbed…and considered that the bed was specifically bought for a person to lay down and die on. That creeped me out, and still does..such that I never bought a used bed.”
Who’s That Girl?
“My mom loves to tell the story of me, around 7 or 8 years old, asking her, “Who is this Polly Esther person, and why are you talking about her?”
I Still Wish I Was Right About This…
”I was told by a friends older sister that there would be a “Cake Walk” at my first-ever school carnival. I thought it would be a GIANT FOAM CAKE with a line across the middle. The game was to walk the line. If you diverged, you’d fall into a pile of foam (like egg-crate foam) in the middle. If you made it all the way across, you won a real cake.
I was SO disappointed to discover what it really was.”
“I thought when a business was founded…. that they had found it somewhere.”
Don’t forget! We would love to hear your own tales of kid logic!
Last week I caught a live show called “The Moth.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s a little like a live version of This American Life–ordinary people (some aspiring writers and performers, many not) headline a show in which they each have five minutes to tell a true story on a theme. On the night I was lucky to spectate, the theme was simply “The Deep End.” Performer after performer came to the stage to relay their amazing true tales, which could at once be heartwarming, thrilling, bitter, hilarious, somber, you name it. The stories ranged everywhere from a woman’s return from rehab, to a honeymooning couple’s view from a Nepali mountaintop, to a wife’s desperate plea to stop her husband from taking a bullet for the sake of his Native ancestry. There wasn’t a badly told story amongst them, which meant that what I took from this show was the understanding that everybody has a great story to tell. What most of us need is the guts to tell it, of course, but also the right medium through which to tell it.
For you that may be The Moth (which accepts applications to appear on its main stage year-round, by the way) or it may be by leaving a piece of your art out on the street, waiting to be discovered. It may be through Twitter, WordPress, or Instagram. The important thing is that sharing art is as creative an endeavor as making it.
And if you’re studying the arts, that’s an important lesson to take away. Don’t involve yourself merely in the admiration of others’ art. Be involved in the creation of it. You’ll find a whole new respect for the arts that you study.
Check out this calendar for a Moth show in an area near you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have the guts to get up and tell that story that’s burning inside of you.
And if you’re in LA, I’ll see you at the Moth on the West Side this Tuesday!
Ah, the instant gratification of the vending machine. Always there when you desperately require a dozen eggs or a business card, and no dilly-dallying about it! Well, perhaps that’s only in Japan… Regardless, the capabilities of the vending machine have now been pushed to new levels in Toronto, where you can now find the amazing, the wondrous “Biblio-Mat.”
With the Biblio-Mat, customers of Toronto’s second-hand bookshop The Monkey’s Paw can snag an obscure, out-of-print book for just a Toonie. (That’s Canadian for $2.) The one catch may be that when you insert your 2 bucks into the machine, you have no idea what book it might divulge. Then again, that’s also half the fun; rumor has it that the Biblio-Mat, aside from being the first vending machine of its kind, also possesses psychic abilities in its book-granting powers. So if you don’t like the book you get, well, you probably have the imagination and enthusiasm of a mollusk.
Other fun things about it are the retro mint exterior, not unlike a 1950s refrigerator, accompanied by the mechanic clank upon the Biblio-Mat’s mystic delivery.
When a customer puts coins into it, the Biblio-Mat dramatically whirrs and vibrates as the machine is set in motion. The ring of an old telephone bell enhances the thrill when the customer’s mystery book is delivered with a satisfying clunk into the receptacle below.
Another fun fact: bookshop owner Stephen Fowler initially envisioned the Biblio-Mat as a metal locker with his assistant inside, delivering books upon payment. The end result is almost as good, only because nothing really beats a human hand emerging from the other side of a vending machine (though it probably would have violated several fair employment laws). Also, I secretly believe that every ATM hides behind it an elf, and every automatic door a man with a thin piece of string, but I think that’s just me…
I just love this idea and can’t wait to see what book within the psychic interiors of the Biblio-Mat awaits my next visit to Toronto. Check it out in action below!
*No assistants were subjected to confined spaces in the making of this vending machine.