Thursday, September 14, 2017

Talking About A Pretend Real Bad Guy Trap

There was a "bad guy trap" being built on the corner of the rug. The builder commanded, "Teacher Tom, watch me!" so I watched him. I said, "I'm watching you."

He explained how the trap worked which involved the bad guy following a complicated, yet deviously enticing, obstacle course, which ultimately brought him to a room in which saws cut him in half.

I said, "That's would be a bad thing for a bad guy."

He answered, "Yes."

I was lying on my stomach, the box of plastic farm animals at my shoulder. There was a rather fierce looking bull right on top so I grabbed it, saying, "This bull is also watching you," positioning it appropriately.

"I'll show you." He picked up a small cow figurine and walked it through the obstacle course right through being sawed in half.

I said, "That must have hurt the cow."

He answered, "Yes."

I shook my head, "I don't like to get hurt."

There was a long pause as we both sat with our thoughts. Then he perked up, "But bad guys like to get hurt!"

"Oh! So they like it when they're cut in half?"

He answered, "Yes."

"Well then I guess that's not so bad, although I don't really like the idea of anyone getting cut in half."

He answered, "It's not a person, it's a cow."

Bam! He had me. I said, "Yeah, I guess you're right, cows have to get cut in half if we're going to eat hamburgers."

He answered, "Yes." Then, "And they're bad guy cows, so they like to get ate."

I took a model sheep from the farm animal box. I said, "This sheep is also watching you," placing it beside the bull.

"Teacher Tom," he said, "But we can't play yet because my bad guy trap isn't finished."

I told him that we (referring to both the plastic farm animals as well as the small clutch of kids who had become interested bystanders to our conversation) would have to wait until the trap was finished, adding, "And now this pig is watching you," as I put it alongside the other animals. He answered, "Yes."

As we waited, the other children began adding farm animals. By the time he declared the trap finished, we had recruited a formidable line-up of livestock to watch him.

He said, "Watch me, Teacher Tom!"

I said, "We are all watching you," gesturing toward both the animals and the gathered children.

He then showed us how the bad guy trap worked, a more elaborate version of the original, still ending in a room full of saws.

I said, "I sure hope there aren't any bad guys around here because if there are that trap would sure hurt them!"

He answered, "Yes."

I said, "We're good guys. Everybody here's a good guy, right?" There was general agreement that all present fell into the more virtuous camp. "Good thing there aren't any bad guys around," another comment that was greeted with general consent.

Then our trap builder said, "But there are real bad guys! Like zombies and ghosts."

I said, "Zombies and ghosts aren't real."

He said, "Yes," adding for clarification, "but they're pretend real."

The expression delighted me, so I repeated it, "Pretend real!" Several of the other children then echoed me, "Pretend real!"  I said, "The animals are pretend real watching you."

"But you're real real watching me, right?" When I answered yes, he replied, "Then watch what happens when this pretend real bad guy cow goes in my pretend real bad guy trap."

I said, "We're all watching," to which he replied, "Yes."

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