Irreverent Mama

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'd like to give you a sense of my son, Daniel, a lovely young man. At seventeen, he towers over my 5'6". His voice is man-deep. His frame is still boy-slender, though, and given his paternal gene pool, may stay that way till he hits his forties.

He's generally a quiet boy, keeps himself to himself. He's not unfriendly, but he doesn't spend much time in the communal areas of the house. He does his homework in his room, or in the bedroom with the computer. (No computer in his room - that would be deadly for the boy.) Unlike last year (The Sullen Year) he eats meals with us, he phones home to let me know his plans, he arrives home at the time required, he does his chores without complaining. Often, he does them cheerfully. (I know. I can hear your gasps of wonder from here. I share the feeling!) His marks aren't as good as he's capable, but they're not bad, either. I have few complaints with the boy.

Once in a while, he gets to feeling social. Often - how strange! - this is when both computers are occupied... Tonight, a stepsibling is at the family computer upstairs, and I am using the laptop. My laptop. Daniel doesn't mind chatting with someone who's on a computer; if you spend as much time as he does facing a screen, you learn to multi-task. He sees me as capable of the same skills, and sits on the loveseat facing me, chattering away. I've learned with teens to be receptive when they feel like opening up - so I sit up and make eye contact, and attempt to enter into the discussion intelligently.

Tonight's conversation is about a show he likes, Invader Zim. I've heard about Zim before. And his sidekick Gir. On television for one season, apparently, before Nickelodeon canned it, now on DVD. Mostly Daniel watches them on his computer.

Daniel's memory is phenomenal. Episode after episode, quote after quote rolls from him. What follows is as much of ten minutes' worth (ten minutes!) as I could transcribe, typing furiously:

Zim is an Irken Invader. The Invaders infiltrate a planet prior to taking it over, but Zim is such a handicap to his nation, they send him on this goose-chase mission to a planet no one is sure is really there, just to get rid of him. Turns out the planet does exist - hey! it's earth - so here he is on earth, thinking he's on a secret mission, and doing his best to take us over.
The Christmas episode where Zim creates a fake, evil Santa, and a classroom is talking about it after the evil Santa has been vanquished.

"Santa lives on," says the teacher.

"In our hearts?" asks a student.

"No, stupid, in outer space."
The Hallowe'en episode where Dib (Zim's main enemy) uses a dimensional scope to find a spooky costume idea, and somehow it gives him a brain lapses, and he pops into earth where he gets put in an asylum, somehow with Zim, but they escape to a parallel dimension. In Dib's head.
Zim's side-kick robot, Gir. "We've got a top-secret model for you, Zim". Gir's artificial intelligence chip is defective one: cobbled together somehow with a gumball, a screw, two coins, and a paperclip.
Zim at school. Teacher: "Class, I'd like you to meet the newest, hopeless appendage to the student body. His name is Zim."

Zim speaks: "At first I thought I'd vanish you [his classmates] to a dimension of pure itchiness. [Daniel describes the scene.] You can't tell, but that stuff is really itchy. But we came up with a better idea. We're sending you to a room. With a moose. And that is all."

Zim stands up on his desk and waves his hand, asks a question. The teacher stares at him in silence for a second, then continues what he'd been saving before. "As I say, the universe is just doomed. Doomed, doomed, doomed! Now. Go home."
Apparently Gir's defectiveness has him functioning at the level of a four or five year old. Cute in a kid, not so helpful as the sidekick to a megalomaniac world conqueror. The Waffle episode shows Gir's happy brainlessness:

Gir comes bouncing in. "Guess who made waffles??"

Zim doesn't want to eat them, but when Gir threatens to throw a tantrum, he agrees to try them, to get used to "human's vile food".

Zim eats, and enjoys them! Gir keeps bringing more and more, and as he runs out of ingredients, they keep getting weirder and weirder. "These ones gots peanuts and soap in them." Daniel's voice is chirpy, evidently a mimic of the Gir-voice.
Daniel comments: I'm fairly certain the writer of this comic was on something, or how else would he have come up with the idea of an army of cyborg zombie soldiers built by a demon squid?

"It's a very weird show," says Daniel.

Indeed. And I have a very weird son. Which is one of the things, of course, I love so much about him!

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