Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Friends, Hoosiers, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears

Though the young man has yet to master any intelligible words beyond "babababababa" (which we believe is either a reference to his existential state as a baby or a tribute to the famous 70s era Swedish pop band ABBA), we have discovered that he nonetheless has incredible oratory skills. As you can see above, he understands the power of non-verbal communication. Whether declaiming the evils of nap time or imploring the all-powerful Mama to share her delicious sandwich, LO's use of his hands while orating clearly indicates his complete understanding of the need for multiple linguistic avenues to drive home his point.

As a young speaker new to the art of oratory, LO is making sure to follow in the footsteps of famous pontificators. For example, one of LO's favorite toys is this:

You'll notice that the top of the stack features a smiling yellow ball of happiness that has a bell inside so that LO can make beautiful music when he drops it for the 5,678,896,218,234,568th time. LO very much loves that ball--not only because he can drop it and watch Mom and Dad scramble to catch it before it rolls into the basement (nicknamed The Feline Urine Sanctuary), but also because he can hold it high above his head in a Sir Laurence Olivier-approved dramatic stance and pretend the happy ball/bell is Yorick's skull. (You might wonder how I know that LO is attempting to try out his dramatic chops with such a difficult character as Hamlet. He keeps calling me Horatio, for one thing, and "bababababa" sounds a little like [read: nothing at all like] "Alas!") Some might feel that the young man is a little too callow to begin with Shakespeare, but I feel that is stuff and nonsense. I mean, after you've played the Itsy-Bitsy Spider and Old McDonald to an audience of one's mother, the next natural step theater-wise is to take on the Bard.

LO does not fear courting controversy in his oratorical style, either. When seated on his mother's lap at any table, LO makes sure to bang on the table so that all will know the seriousness of his purpose. While he does not remove his shoe to intensify the banging (he doesn't yet wear shoes), nor has he specifically told anyone that he will bury us, I am certain that he recognizes Khruschchev's incredible ability to captivate an audience. LO too keeps his listeners rapt during these exercises in controlled rage. (Very controlled; he's generally grinning while banging).

Next styles to master will be President Obama's laconic conversational quips, and of course, Kennedy's nasal and clipped declarations. Sometime in the next 12 months, I expect to hear the following phrases from my son:

"Ask not what your mother can do for you; ask what is taking her so dang long with the Cheerios."

"Oh, yes I can! Yes I can! Yes I can!"

and, of course:

"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, even when he bounced down the stairs into the basement."

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