My family and I are enjoying our vacation in sunny and sometimes rainy Bali, Indonesia. My ten-year-old, Optimist Prime, appeared to be having too much fun in the swimming pool and I decided to give his day some structure by interviewing him.
Dad: Welcome to my office. Sit anywhere you like.
OP: There’s only one seat. This isn’t much of an office anyway. It’s two beach chairs next to a swimming pool.
Dad: Can I get you a drink?
OP: Sure. Do you have red Fanta?
OP: Root beer?
Dad: No. Do you like chocolate milk?
Dad: I sure wish I had some to give you. Maybe you can get a drink from the swimming pool when we’re finished. Is it embarrassing when all your friends talk about your dad and say he’s the best dad ever?
OP: I feel bad for them because my dad is so amazingly above average.
Dad: When I tell a joke, do you and Mom ever pretend to laugh and then look at each other and roll your eyes?
OP: Not really. (But he winked.)
Dad: Which one is it?
Dad: What’s the best book you read this year?
OP: The Eye of the World.
Dad: How many pages is that?
Dad: Did you know books have writing on both sides of the page?
OP: (Joking) Wait, what?
Dad: So is the answer 814 or 407?
OP: (Pretend embarrassed look)
Dad: Can you switch seats? Sit anywhere you like.
OP: I’m already sitting. There’s only one seat.
Dad: How old are you?
Dad: Are you sure?
Dad: That’s surprising.
Dad: When I was your age I was 12.
Dad: If you went to dinner at your dentist’s house and you used the bathroom, and you knew you shouldn’t open the medicine cabinet but you couldn’t resist, and when you opened the door you saw a big red button with the words beneath it, “Do not push,” and you pressed the red button, and immediately you heard a scream in the distance and when you went back in the dining room you saw your dentist and his wife were holding their hands over their mouths because all their teeth had fallen out, and the dentist looked around at the guests and mumbled, “Dud someboody presss da rad buttoon behindd da medsin cabnet?” would you admit you pressed the button?
Dad: Here’s the moral of the story: make sure you brush your teeth and floss every day. How often do you floss your teeth?
OP: Um…maybe once.
Dad: Once a week?
OP: Once in my life.
Dad: I think Mom was supposed to be in charge of that. What was the best Christmas present you ever got?
OP: My camera.
Dad: What’s the worst present you ever got?
OP: Cigarettes. (I put a pack of cigarettes in his stocking last year.)
Dad: And do you remember the moral of why you got cigarettes?
Dad: You shouldn’t smoke or do something bad just because your friends are doing it. Even if the friend is Santa. It was a lesson about peer pressure.
OP: (Blank look)
Dad: If you were a pirate, would you rather have an eye patch or an iPad?
OP: Um…eye patch.
Dad: Did I mention the iPad could be used to find the locations of eye patch shops?
Dad: Did I mention the pirate ship has no electricity so the iPad can never be charged?
OP: Eye patch.
Dad: But the eye patch is also electronic and as I mentioned before, the pirate ship would offer no method of charging your eye patch?
OP: What kind of eye patch is electronic?
Dad: What kind of pirate is given the choice between an eye patch and an iPad?
OP: (Blank look)
Dad: Hey, you see that guy with the fanny pack standing next to the pool?
Dad: Go push him in.
OP: Why should I push him?
Dad: I have my reasons.
OP: What are the reasons?
Dad: Is laughter a good reason?
You might enjoy reading the interview with my seven-year-old son: An Interview with Apollo Fonzarelli