Friday, June 16, 2006

That's So Random

One aspect of parenting I enjoy is to hear the trends and times reflected through my son. Just as I had my G.I. Joes and 007 gear, Shmoikel has his Magic: The Gathering cards and video game systems.

I pay attention to verbal trends, too. Lately the phrase I hear, in various versions, is "That's so random." His mother indicated that he says that to her, too.

Case in point: Last weekend we visited the fabulous Greenwich Library, where I scoop up CDs by the dozen every week. Outside the library stands a metal sculpture of that beloved indigenous Connecticut animal, the long-haired yak. Short, squat, and bronzish, the Greenwich yak mystified Shmoikel.

"Why a yak?" he mused. "That's so random."

This hints that "random" is a synonym for "unexplainable."

To reduce the level of randomness in the universe, I said we should do another sculpture for the library of a "generic animal." It would be non-random, indeed, non-specific entirely, just a generic beast that wouldn't look like anything in particular.

This provoked the hoped-for bafflement and laughter as we attempted to define the characteristics and appearance of a non-random generic creature, with either two or four legs.

And that kind of father-son interaction is not random.

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