Chuck (charlesofcamden) wrote,

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Not Far From the Tree

A married couple of my acquaintance had a son. He was immersed in theater from the womb onward and has grown up to be quite the talented performer. He recently graduated from college as a theater major and is now in New York, waiting tables and chasing the dream.

It would not surprise me one bit if he did very well for himself in that line of work (in acting, I mean, not in waiting tables, though I’m sure he’s good at that too). He’s not only talented and good-looking; he’s also very likable, and that’s at least as important as the other stuff. Ah, but I have a few specific memories of him that will always keep him human-sized in my eyes…

The first occurred when he was little more than a toddler, still trying to master the basics of spoken English. His mother brought him by my house in Detroit one time and he espied Tick-Tock, my cat. He immediately cried out, with considerable glee, “Titty! Titty!” He pursued Tick-Tock all over the house, continuing to call out, “Titty! Titty!” CC and I have repeated his immortal call countless times since then (she witnessed it as well) – pretty much any time his name comes up, in fact.

The other memory is perhaps more revelatory of his personality than the one I just recounted. It was his first day of pre-school. His mother told me that when he got home, she asked him how his first day had gone. He sighed, shook his head, and said, “The other kids just can’t take direction!”

OK, one more – this isn’t really about him, but it’s near him. When he was still a baby, his father came by one day, excitedly reporting that his boy had just said his first word. I reacted in a very nonplussed manner and simply said, “Well, he was saying words over here last week.” Dad’s face fell, but his curiosity spurred him to ask me what his boy’s first word had been. I looked up in a moment of concentration and said, “Let’s see… yes, I believe it was ‘thermodynamics.’” Dad quickly and correctly surmised that I was being less than truthful.

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