Friday, 04 March 2011
Every night I eat dinner with my family, which currently consists of me, my parents, and my youngest brother James, who is now 8. James rules the house with an iron fist. We call him "King James," but really that's an insult to him; he lives more like a Pharaoh.
He controls the TV in a manner that would make Gadhafi blush. He doesn't ask what's for dinner - he tells you what's for dinner. He hasn't worn pants on the weekend since 2007. He has a goldfish next to his bed - Oscar - who was won at a town fair in 2003 and is still alive. That's from the first term of the Bush administration! If those goldfish make it a day before going down the toilet, you call it a win. The only explanation is that James has not yet given him permission to die.
But it's his meals that impress me the most.
I have a running joke with my mom that on any given night, James has the best meal in the house. We're having salad, James has pizza. We're having grilled halibut, James is having grilled cheese deluxe, with extra cheese (he actually asks for the "deluxe," like we're at a diner). Oh, and he doesn't eat the crust - of anything. Those scraps he leaves for the peasants. It's unfair, but whatever - that's part of being a kid. I accept that.
Yesterday, though, I realized something. I was checking out his plate before he devoured it. I really admired the beauty of it - the stunning contrast in tastes and colors. There was a giant mound of creamy macaroni and cheese (a staple of his; has it at least 3 times per week. A tabloid once reported that he farted out a perfectly intact Velveeta shell, but the credibility of the report is dubious at best).
Next to the mac and cheese was a cluster of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, which has been scientifically proven to be the best kind of nugget (when combining taste and fun-factor).
The final third of the plate was covered in a lake of ketchup that was big enough to deserve a name. His drink of choice? Chocolate milk, of course.
I had the genius idea of biting the bottom half of a dinosaur chicken nugget, then standing the head and neck up in the ketchup to mimic the iconic Loch Ness Monster image.
While I was begging James to let me follow through - he is not keen to other people touching his bounty - it hit me.
My little bro eats exactly like a stoner.
Actually, he lives like a stoner. He is a pothead, without the pot. If it was up to him, he would watch TV all day while eating mac and cheese and guzzling chocolate milk. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that he more closely resembles me as a sophomore in college than when I was 8. If he traded iCarly for South Park, he could probably fit in at a fraternity. If he was worried about his girlfriend's period being late instead of cooties on the playground, he might as well be up at Big State U. I half expected him to drop his fork and ask if I wanted to join his Ultimate Frisbee team.
This, of course, begs the obvious question: if smoking weed turns one into a child, would an 8-year-old take a bong hit and morph into an adult? Would they don a suit and tie and start lamenting China's growing role in the global market? Would they immediately become afraid of black people? Would they run to the bank and demand a mortgage? Would James say, "Mother, this chocolate milk tastes great and all, but could you pass the pomegranate juice? It's rich in antioxidants, you know."
We will (hopefully) never know.
Between the steak and ribeye and the pulled pork, all men have a sweet spot for children's food. What was your favorite growing up? Or did your mother force you to eat Special K?