Thursday, November 09, 2006


As my children neared the age of two, those letters and colors that they had been absorbing through board books and Sesame Street, would begin to take hold. Kyle would hold up a block for me and proclaim, "Blue!" Or he'd see a letter out in the world, and joyfully identify it as, "B!" He may be right, he may be wrong, but he's confident: "That's a color (or a letter), and I'm going to name it!" There's no hesitation.

We recently dug out one of Amanda's cool gifts from her cool Uncle Kevin from her preschool days. It's a They Might be Giants children's CD called No! For whatever reason, a few years ago when she first received it, it wasn't her favorite or my favorite. But now, it's a favorite three times over. This CD makes me happy. It's funny and wry. It's very wordy, but Kyle even sings along with it, as does Amanda. I think that this CD would be appropriate for ages 3 up to 10 or older (like, uh, maybe 36?).

There's a clever song on the disc called "Two of Four." (editorial aside: I wish I could figure out how to insert a music file here on blogger--anyone know?. However, you can listen to a clip here, which I advise you to do, so that you can sing the zippy lyrics instead of just reading them, before I continue with my illustration).
Underneath a big clock at the corner of 5th Avenue and 22nd Street
I stood and waited for a girl I knew
At the spot where we agreed to meet
It was four minutes of two

At four of two, I stood waiting for the girl
I was four minutes early for the date we had planned
I was planning to say I was in love with her
Just as soon as she showed for a two o'clock date
And the clock said four of two

At four of two, I was staring into space
She was not yet late, according to the clock
I was feeling nervous so I kept looking up
At the clock sticking out of the side of the building
And it still said four of two

At four of two, I began to feel tired
And I rubbed my eyes, and again I checked the time
It seemed as if the sky was growing dark...
But I felt reassured when I looked at the clock
And it still said four of two

I lay my head down on the sidewalk so in case she were coming
I would have a better view
But no one was there so I stretched out and closed my eyes
for a second or two
It was four minutes of two

At once I awoke to a futuristic world
There were flying cars and gigantic metal bugs
I'd grown a beard; it was long and white
But I knew that the girl would be coming very soon
For though everything had changed, there was still that clock
And it still said four of two!!

This young man waits without question, having confidence in the time indicated on the clock. All signs indicate otherwise, but he's holding fast to the clock. I think that holding fast can be to our benefit. Kyle won't be afraid to take a stab at identifying a color or letter that he sees, because he's confident. And by telling me what he sees, and consequently being corrected if necessary, his accuracy will improve. He will learn.

But that poor young man, looking at the clock--he's just deluding himself. In fact, since his perception skills obviously aren't too great, perhaps the young woman for whom he was waiting was just being nice by agreeing to meet him in the first place, and he's one of those guys who will never get the picture. Or, saddest of all, perhaps he was in fact 30 minutes late, and she left, thinking she had been stood up. Since he was holding fast to the delusion of the accuracy of that stopped clock, he wasn't able to track her down and apologize.

To what are you holding fast? Is the truth that you cling to, really truth, or is it a delusion that you allow yourself to keep believing? Does the delusion, like Kyle's false confidence about his accuracy, help you somehow keep pushing forward or does it stall you like the young man who lost years, even decades of his life, standing up and looking at that stopped clock?


Big Mama said...

Great post. My favorite delusion is that I am in complete control of everything. Completely delusional. Thanks for the reminder.

angeleyes Blue said...

I had to laugh at big mama's comment :) I have teenagers. I have had a very long time to figure out that if I feel that I am on the same page as my irish twins usually means that I am only 3 steps behind (the delusion).

Teenagehood is a completely different beast. Imagine two year olds taller than you and quick with the tongue.

I have also figured out to laugh often or I would be crying ALL THE TIME.

Have a wonderous day!

Katrina said...

I had to think about this one for a while. (First let me say that I am a TMBG fan - they are so quirky, I love it.)

I think I have both kinds of "confidence" -- the misplaced kind that needs to get lost (like Big Mama, I like to think I've got the whole world under control - MY control), and the kind that is good for me and keeps me going (like the whole "I am a writer" thing).

I'm sure there's more, and you've given me lots to ponder. Thanks!

Jen Rouse said...

My husband loves TMBG, and Beth loves to sing. I just might have to get this for our family!

Anonymous said...

Yep, lots to think about here. Good post. BTW Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane (link on my sidebar) knows how to insert music clips into posts I believe)