My dear friends, hello.
I hope you’ve all had restful, educational weeks. I know I certainly have. This week, I called little Douglas at 1-452-672-1789. Here is our conversation.
Jean: Hello! This is Jean Collins with the PIC Newspaper. Who am I talking to?
Doug: Hello? This is Doug. Do you want to talk to my mom?
Jean: No, Doug. I want to talk to you. How old are you?
Doug: Seven and a half.
Jean: Ah, the throes of childhood. I think we all look fondly upon the times in which we were all seven and a half. And tell me Doug, what were you doing before you took this fateful call?
Jean: Sorry, it sounds like you just got cut off. Were you saying watching fireworks?
Doug: No, I was doing fire. My mom hid the matches but I found them. They were on top of the mantle.
Jean: Ah, the inquisitive young mind! So tenacious. Nothing can stop you from getting what you want. And tell me—what is it that intrigues you about fire? Is it the implication of passion? A passion for knowledge? What’s burning within you?
Doug: Fire is great. It’s good for burning. Everything burns when you light it on fire. And it makes everyone yell and scream. No one ever pays attention to me when something isn’t on fire. They never listen to what I’m saying.
Jean: How interesting! Fire: the material that first vaulted our very distant ancestors into an entirely new way of life. Its innate implication of destruction and subsequent rebirth. Like a phoenix—that’s a kind of bird, Douglas—rising from the ashes.
Doug: Well, birds are harder to light on fire than most things. Mostly they escape before you can get it on them. Even if you get one it might still fly away and then nobody notices.
Jean: Doug, I’d like to pivot here for a second. Tell me how you fill your days. Like yesterday, say.
Doug: I went to the museum with my mom.
Jean: Wow! What an inquisitive young man. I’m seeing that, one could say, burning passion for knowledge we were discussing earlier. Did you see anything you liked?
Doug: No, they kicked us out because I—
Jean: Because you were running around? Being a little too loud? A little too overcome with the classic rambunctionality of childhood?
Doug: Because I tried to light the paintings on fire.
Jean: It’s really interesting what “is” and “isn’t” art these days, don’t you think?
Doug’s Mom: Doug? Doug? Are you down there? I just got a call from the principal saying that you lit the lap pool on fire? Again. You have a lot to answer for, young man!
Doug: I gotta go now, bye lady!
Bye lady indeed. For those of you worried about the younger generations, I can assure you that the fire burns brightly in their hearts. My conversation with Doug was short, but I have a feeling that this won’t be my last encounter with him. I can see him now, in my mind’s eye, all grown up someday, applying the burning passion within him to law, or medicine, or maybe, if he plays his cards right, interviewing the next generation of Americans.
You’ll be hearing from me soon, friends.