Me: So, you want to go to see a former intern play in the Battle of the Bands for IPC this afternoon?
Rhiannon: No, and what is with you, IPC and the interns?
Me: Why not? There’ll be lots of great music and hot chicks. We-
Rhiannon: No!!! I’m 12 years old!!!
Me: So?! When I was 12 I went to see Pink Floyd at Earl’s Court in London!!! What I remember of the show was awesome.
Rhiannon: And just look at you now. No thanks. I want to have at least a few brain cells left when I’m your age.
Me [glassy eyed, reminiscing]: The way they built up the wall on the stage during the show was sublime. I… wait a minute… hey!!!
Rhiannon: I want to go to the Biodome.
Me [sighing, 3 hours later exiting the Biodome]: At least the damn lynxes were up and about this time. First time I’ve ever set eyes on them in all these years. Hmmmm, is lynxes the plural of lynx? Damn, I should know this.
Rhiannon: They were so cute!
Me: No, Rhiannon, they were not.
Rhiannon: What do you mean?
Me: It infuriates me how freely that word “cute” is bandied about these days. Those enormous lynxes (or “lynx”), my dear, are ruthless predators. They are strict carnivores who would happily devour anything genuinely cute, like a Playboy bunny rabbit. “Elegantly lethal” is about as close to “cute” as it’s going to come when describing those feral beasts.
Rhiannon: This coming from the guy who doesn’t even think babies are cute.
Me: Well, they’re not. They’re fat, splotchy masses that do nothing but holler incoherently, eat, sleep and chronically soil themselves. If it weren’t for regular diaper changes, they’d probably consume their own feces. What’s so cute about that? Oh, and the plural of ‘baby’ isn’t ‘babies’. It’s just ‘baby’ – i.e. 1 baby, 2 baby, 3 baby, etc.
Rhiannon: No, it’s not!!!
Me: Oh, yes it is. Really. I might be woefully unclear about the plural of lynx, but ‘baby’ I’m sure of!
Rhiannon [rolling her eyes]: Forget it! Anyway, I think it would be cool of they had hippopotamuses at the Biodome.
Me [eyes bugging out]: Are you mad?! First, the plural of hippopotamus is hippopotami – everyone knows that! Second, those things are bigger than pickup trucks. Where would you put them? Actually, come to think of it, the lynx pen is probably the biggest enclosure in the Biodome. If you filled that up with water and chucked in a couple of hippopotami, Lord knows no one would miss the lynxes… or lynx… damn! Third, they are disgusting creatures that actually do eat their own feces!
Rhiannon: Oh, they do not!
Me [taking out my iPhone]: I’ll prove all of this. There is no reason for us to bicker when I have Wiki in my pocket.
Rhiannon: You know, Wikipedia isn’t the most reliable resource on the planet.
Me: Bite your tongue. Without it, we would know virtually nothing about anything. Here we are: “hippopotamus”. Ah, “behavior”. That’s what we want. First, it goes without saying, “hippopotamuses spend most of their days wallowing in the water, or the mud”. Sounds distinctly like members of the Parti Québécois. Second, there are “reports that hippopotamuses practice cannibalism” and, not surprisingly, that they “are not social animals. The reason they huddle close together is unknown”. No IPCs or Battle of the Bands for them either! Third, “hippopotamuses communicate verbally through grunts and bellows”. This raises the terrifying spectre that they are Scotch-Irish. Finally, it says here that “Hippopotamuses are by nature very aggressive and ill-tempered animals… they are widely considered to be one of the most dangerous large animals in Africa”. Ha! What do you have to say that then, eh?!
Rhiannon: First, Wiki didn’t say anything about them eating their own feces which is what you were trying to “prove”. Second, it referred to them as “hippopotamuses” and not “hippopotami”.
Me [coolly, staring at my iPhone screen, blinking]: You know, Wikipedia isn’t the most reliable resource on the planet.
Rhiannon: Maybe you should look up the plural of the word “baby” on that thing. Oh, and none of those other bad things Wiki says about hippopotamuses matter, even if they are true.
Me [resentfully]: Why’s that?
Rhiannon: Because they are just soooooooo cute.
Rhiannon [crying out as she walks into my home office]: Daddy!!! Daddy!!! Why are you smashing your head against your desk?! What white smoke?!
Me [panicked]: The cardinals… oh, the cardinals… quick Rhiannon, we must hurry and board up the windows… I…
Rhiannon: What cardinals? There aren’t any cardinals out there!
Me [peering behind the blinds furtively]: No, no – not the damn birds. Not the football team. Not the baseball team. Not the 1950s R&B group. Much, MUCH worse than that!
Rhiannon: Have you gone off your meds?
Me: You know! The cross-dressers in red sashes in the KKK hats. In the Vatican!
Rhiannon [comprehension slowly dawning across her face]: Ah, they’ve elected a new pope!
Rhiannon [frowning]: What do you care? You’re not Catholic. You don’t have a religious bone in your body. Grandma and Granddad say you’re going to burn in hell.
Me [lowering my voice and hissing]: You don’t understand, the new pope’s Argentinean…
Rhiannon [protesting]: Oh, man. Are you also prejudiced against Argentineans? Is there anybody on the planet you don’t despise for some stupid reason or another?
Me [authoritatively]: Now, you listen: there is NOTHING stupid about despising Argentina.
Rhiannon: Why? Is it because it’s Spanish-speaking and you don’t understand?
Me [thinking for a minute]: Well, actually, I hadn’t thought of that but it certainly doesn’t help its cause. Neither does it for being a safe haven for Nazis after World War II. Neither does it for inspiring Madonna to star as Eva Perón in that rubbish Don’t Cry for me Argentina. But those are all trifling matters in comparison to the… to the… Hand of God!
Rhiannon [exasperated]: What?
Me: On 22 June 1986, it was Argentina vs. England in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup. That bloated, cocaine-sniffing Diego Maradona scored the first goal with his left hand. The referee didn’t see it and allowed the goal. All the film footage showed that he clearly batted the ball in with his hand. Argentina went on to win the game 2-1. Maradona actually had the cheek to say at a press conference right after the game that the goal was scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”. Totally outrageous!!!
Rhiannon [raising an eyebrow]: Are you actually telling me that this is all about a soccer game?!
Me [haughtily and peering out behind the blinds again]: Well, it may appear as trivial as that on the surface but-
Rhiannon [interrupting]: And WHAT does this have to do with the new pope being Argentinean in any case?!
Me [raising my voice]: Don’t you see?! “Hand of God” wins the game over England and now the first pope from Latin America is Argentinean. God only knows what Pope “Francis” and Maradona got up to together back in the day. Can’t you see it’s ALL a Catholic conspiracy? Haven’t you ever read Dan Brown?!
Rhiannon [sighing]: Daddy…
Me [wagging my finger]: And don’t forget, that game was played just 4 short years after we had to sail all the way down to the Falkland Islands to boot out the Argentinean invaders who, to this day, still have the nerve to refer to the Falklands as “Islas Malvinas”. Do you think it’s any coincidence that Pope “Francis”, who has gone on record saying the islands rightfully belong to Argentina, was elected just one day after 99% of the population of the Falkland Islands voted to remain a British Territory? Well. I just don’t think so, poor naive child of mine!
Rhiannon [shaking her head]: Daddy…
Me [whispering out of the corner of my mouth]: Pssst! He’s also a hardcore conservative who opposes gay marriage, women in the clergy and the distribution of HIV-preventing contraceptives in impoverished, AIDS-ridden countries.
Rhiannon [perking up and walking from the room]: Why couldn’t you have just said that in the first place?! I’ll go get the boards for the windows.