Kids have the best conversations. If you ever fall into the habit of eavesdropping on kids when they discuss the world with each other, you will discover vast storehouses of knowledge. Between them, kids having a conversation know nearly everything, even if much of that knowledge is manufactured on the spot by their collective imaginations. There is only one thing kids in conversation will never know, and that is just how funny their conversation is.
The other day, I spent the afternoon with my four-year-old son and his five-year-old friend. We were driving home from the museum when we passed our local university’s beef cattle research facility.
5YO: “That’s the place where they butcher cows for meat.”
4YO: “Wait a minute. I thought we get milk from cows.”
5YO: “There’s different kinds of cows. There are cows we get milk from and cows we eat.”
4YO: “And cows that wag their tails.”
5YO: “Those are horses.”
(Further reading about cowlledge here.)
Later, at a red light, my son spotted a man waiting to cross the street. The man was wearing a McDonald’s cap and a polo shirt with a McDonald’s logo on the breast. He was holding a McDonald’s bag.
4YO: “Hey, look, there’s a McDonald’s man.”
5YO: “Yeah. He works at McDonald’s. He’s carrying a McDonald’s bag too.”
4YO: “He probably got fired. Then he said, ‘Well, at least I can get some food before I have to go home.’ That’s why he’s got some hamburgers.”
5YO: “Yup, he got fired.”
When we got home, the kids started playing with an army tank and a helicopter. This is the conversation the tank had with the chopper.
TANK: “Hey, Buddy, you wanna go out to lunch?”
CHOPPER: “Okay, where should we go?”
TANK: “We can go to Wendy’s.”
CHOPPER: “Yeah! And we can have [soda] pop!”
TANK: “Actually, I don’t know if I can eat anything. I don’t really have a mouth, just some guns.”
I only wish I could remember some of the other entertaining exchanges between them. I’m tempted to follow them around with a tape recorder, except that when I play it back I’d have to fast forward through all the fake fart noises and ensuing hysterical laughter. That would take way too much time.