Thursday, July 21, 2005

A stream of consciousness story...

Feeding the baby one mealtime, father noticed that he was making hand gestures. Open hand. Closed fist. Two fingers. Open hand. Closed fist. Two fingers. Intrigued, father watched some more and called to mother, who was in the kitchen.

"Mother! Come and look at this.. it's the baby, he's making gestures with his hands."

Mother came in and folded the tea towel, putting it on the table. Looking at her, the baby made the gestures again.

"Aww, look.. he wants to play rock paper scissors with you, father."

"Don't be daft, he's 6 months old. He can't even talk yet."

The baby looked at father, then mother, then made the gestures again.

"Coincidence," father mumbled.

"Go on, play with him," mother said, sitting down next to the baby.

"Come on then," father sighed and moved closer to the high chair.

Unconsciously assuming a dumb face, he counted very slowly and deliberately, waving his hand.

"One... two...THREE!"

He looked down and blinked. The baby's paper beat his rock. He stared at the infant, who looked nonplussed.

"Ok, one more... one, two, THREE!"

Again, paper beat rock.

They played again. This time father chose scissors, but the baby chose rock.

Father - paper, baby - scissors.

Father - rock, baby - paper.

Father - scissors, baby - rock.

And so it continued. They played for half an hour, and the baby won every single hand without drawing once.

Mother, her washing up forgotten, was staring at her child and her husband alternately. Had she been educated, she would have known that the odds of such a thing would be very long indeed - nigh on impossible. Father had gone through amusement, shock, anger and back to shock and had retired to the back room to fetch his whiskey. Mother took her baby in her arms and mollycoddled him a little.

"Whoooo's a clever little boy, eeeeh? How did you doooo it?" she said in her silliest mother voice, more to herself than the baby. "Eeeeh? How did you dooo it?"

Baby wanted to tell her that father, as a rather lazy, unsophisticated and often aggressive man, relied unconsciously on rock, due the primitive and masculine connotations it holds. From this, he could calculate a simple formula, knowing that the subtle, peaceful paper would only be used arbitrarily and not as a tactical weapon, and that the practical, controlled aggression of scissors, often employed when winning, wouldn't be prominent in his father's very basic tactics. But seeing as he couldn't talk, all this came out as a drooly "ahhhh", and was lost forever to posterity on the shoulder of his mother's shirt.


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