"Anything interesting going on in your world?"
"How are your classes?"
"How are your grades?"
"Uhhh. OK, I guess."
"Tell me what you've been up to lately!"
"Same old, same old. Mostly just studying."
The above is a representative sample of my phone calls to any of my sons. I try not to pummel them with text messages or phone calls, but I am starving to death for any word regarding their health and well-being. Oh, the jealousy that plagues me when lunch with a friend is interrupted because her daughter has called to gab about the cute shoes she found to wear to the fraternity mixer. "I always try to answer when she calls! I want her to know that I'm here for her if she needs to cry about a bad haircut or to tell me about the brownies she made for her boyfriend." I nod and smile in pretend understanding. "Oh, don't I know how THAT is! Any time my boys call...I want to make sure that I answer on the double!!" I omit the part about how the boys initiate phone contact for business purposes only. "What am I supposed to do about this water bill?" "Is it OK if I charge some concert tickets on my Visa?"
I'm no stranger to this "economy of words." I know that if one of my sons has something important to say, he will say it. Eventually. Via a text message. I could probably extract more news from them at the dinner table if I spelled out questions in Alpha-Bit cereal and requested that they respond by drumming words out in morse code using a fork and a spoon. They don't seem to mind "spelling out" newsy tidbits. It's the talking that gets in the way.
Sometimes when they are all three home for a holiday or school break, I overhear them laughing back in Bryce's room which is their favorite place to congregate probably by virtue of the fact that it's the farthest from my lair, the kitchen. I love to tiptoe up to the door just to savor their easy conversation with each other. They have slowly matured from squabbling I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I little boys to conversational young adults. Most of the time, I don't even understand the topics of discussion. Woofers and tweeters are as foreign to me as the musical groups they follow like Monsters of Folk and the Avett Brothers.
When Jonathan and Bryce were preschoolers, they shared a bedroom. One night about 30 minutes after I had tucked them in, I overheard them having a solemn discussion. Walking slowly up to their door so that my knees wouldn't make any kind of telltale popping noises, I eased in close to listen in on their chat. They were trying to figure out who was "the best" - Superman or Batman. Bryce was pro-Superman. Jonathan put his money on Batman. They stated their cases very seriously, and, yes, very convincingly.
The following will provide the appropriate background music for their conversation:
Jonathan: Bryce, Batman has tons of cool weapons that can kill bad guys. Superman doesn't have ANY weapons. He just kicks and hits people. Anybody can kick and hit.
Bryce: But, Supaman is weally, weally stwong. He can kick and hit weally hawd.
Jonathan: Yeah, but guns can kill a bad guy quicker than kicking and hitting.
Bryce: If Supaman wants to, he can just pick the bad guy up and frow him way away.
Jonathan: Yeah but, the bad guy can just run back and keep doing bad stuff.
Bryce: Batman doesn't have any supapowas. If he can't weach his weapons, he can get kiwled.
Jonathan: He can jump into his Batmobile and escape, Bryce! Superman doesn't even have a car.
Bryce: Supaman is way better than a stupid caw 'cause he can FLY. He can fly all the way up to heaven and see Jesus if he wants to!
Hearing that, I secretly declared Bryce the winner of the debate. I decided not to enlighten him on the whole "one way ticket" trip to heaven concept. In fact, I decided not to enter into the conversation at all. I tiptoed away feeling happy that the boys were whispering together and building a relationship that will last a lifetime. Unless, of course, one of them becomes a superhero and the other one takes up a life of crime. Then, things might get really interesting around the Thanksgiving table.
From now on, when I lunch with friends who have daughters, I'm going to fake cell phone conversations with my sons. "Oh, sorry! I need to get this! You know how it is!... [smiling eye roll] Hey, baby! Oh, nothing...just having lunch with DeeAnn and Linda! No, it's OK. Go ahead and tell me! Are you kidding?! No! Really?! [wink and grin] Is that right?! How did you feel about that?! I totally understand! That's so interesting! Well...I'd better get back to my lunch. I'll call you back later, and we can discuss this interesting news - IN DETAIL! Love you! Bub-bye!"
I googled Superman's powers and abilities and have listed them below.
- Superhuman strength
- Superhuman speed
- X-ray vision
- Heat vision
- Super breath*
- Super hearing*
- Superhuman vision
- Superhuman olfaction
- Eidetic memory*
*These 3 super powers alone made him a hit with the ladies. Throw in super conversationalist and women would have been begging him to father their children.