More on cool later -- an interesting topic but I don't think I actually got my point across. I don't admire Robert Goulet the artist, but I get a warm chuckle from Robert Goulet the icon. That's why he goes on the wall. I get the same kind of chuckle from Alec Baldwin, or Pee Wee Herman, or Hugh Hefner. (Gee, the one thing most of these guys have in common is sleaziness. Maybe that's part of it. Boys behaving badly. )
Nice segue to our topic here. Boys being idiots. The boy in question being my son Sam, who called me up yesterday to say that he had lost his keys. Two days before the end of the school year, and the keys have vanished. He needs them to get in and out of residence, so he was panicking. If he can't produce them at the end of the year he has to pay a big fine ... so I began panicking too. Since these two keys are the only thing he needs to put in his pocket, and since they are large, heavy, and attached to a three-foot brightly coloured lanyard, I had to wonder how he came to lose them. But I didn't ask that. I have lost many things in my day, and I know the kind of questions you really don't need to hear when you are feeling badly about yourself. So here's what I did not say to Sam:
-- How did you lose them?
-- Don't you feel like kicking yourself?
-- Where are they?
-- What were you thinking?
-- Are they in your pocket now?
-- They're probably somewhere obvious.
-- When you find them, you'll kick yourself.
-- Are you sure you don't want to kick yourself?
You get the idea. He felt bad, and there was nothing useful I could suggest over the phone, so I tried to get his thoughts back to the task at hand. Your geography exam is tomorrow, I said. You have to study.
But Dad, I can't study, he told me. I'm too worried about the keys. I'm thinking about them all the time.
Have you tried studying?
Yes. The image of the keys dances before me on the page, mocking me. I can't help it, he said, sounding more and more upset.
Oh, I said.
Poor Sam has always had a touch of OCD in him. He's also a lazybones who can't be bothered to pay attention to his surroundings. It's an interesting combination. The Inattentive Compulsive. (He can't be the only one with ICD, and they can probably do with some help. But I can't help wondering what the support group would look like if they ever got around to organizing. And what would the speakers say at meetings? Hi, I'm Sam and these shoes are too tight. Don't you hate tight shoes? I do. Tight tight tight. Hey, where is everybody? The meeting was at six, right? This is Tuesday, isn't it? May -- or is it June? Hello? Oh, well, whatever. Damn these shoes.)
Anyway, he's my boy and he was in trouble, and I wanted him to feel better. I tried to sound soothing.
There there, son, I said, adding in a lower voice, Maybe if you kicked yourself you'd --
Nothing. Nothing at all.
Nothing. Nothing at all.