My kids talk about comic book characters/super heroes/video game characters a lot. Like everyday, for tens of minutes on end. It doesn’t help that my attention span for these topics is about eight seconds, give or take. I can’t actually devote my full concentration to the barrage of comic book information I receive from them daily.  That would require the superhuman mental powers of… you know… that heroine with the superhuman mental powers… what’s-her-name.  So, I’ve become really good at feigning interest and such invaluable conversation props such as “mm hmm”, “yeah”, “oh really?” “that’s cool”. “I didn’t know that” is especially useful and always honest. Unfortunately, I’m beginning to fear this technique may backfire.

Because if I do an excellent job of pretending to really listen to their endless ramblings concerning adventure heroes and villains, but I can’t remember an iota of the knowledge they’ve shared with me days later, will they think I’m dumb?

Case in point:

Setting: In the kitchen after dinner. Through the windows the darkening sky shows the lateness of the hour. Mom stands at the kitchen, sponge in hand, washing dishes.

Enter: Brother holding his notebook and a pencil

Brother: Do you want some company?

Mom: Yes! That would be great…

Brother: You know Dr. Octopus?

Mom: No, I don’t think I do…

Brother: You know, the guy with the robotic arms like an octopus?

(This sounds vaguely familiar to Mom, have they had this conversation before?)

Mom: -shakes head-

Brother: Remember that book I was reading with the picture of the thing and you asked me that question and I said Dr. Octopus?

Mom: No

(Mom is confused, what book?)

Brother: Nevermind…

(Mom is relieved. She may be off the hook for now. She thinks, ‘did he say Dr. Octagon? Or was it Dr. Octopus? Dr. Octagon sounds right.)

Mom: Dr. Octagon?


comic book cover with spiderman caught in the robotic arms of doctor octopus