While far from obsessive, Béla can identify more weaponry, automatic and ancient, than I care to myself. He has on occasions owned archery sets but they’ve been short-lived. He grew up with few to no toy guns and anything he used as a “gun” (like a shoe), and followed up by pantomiming shooting a live thing with it, was stricken from the set.
He still seemed to be gaining increasing information about guns, and specifically about the first World War. I didn’t care to be left out of this “boy thing” and thought, well, I know a good gun story. And I introduced him to Warren Zevon’s “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.”
I did not have to sweeten the deal. The magnitude of Zevon’s voice. A HEADLESS MERCENARY who was STILL OUT KILLING WITH A THOMPSON AUTOMATIC WEAPON.
We agreed that Béla would research some of the geography in the story, read about the Congolese War, and present the song in comic book form — as he was always drawing sequential stories anyway.
But, put three things a kid likes together and make an assignment of them and you get an unopened folder gathering dust. We’re middle schoolers now. You don’t need an adult in the room with you at all times, and yes — you get deadlines.
I had to point out that Warren Zevon had bothered to put effort into making “Roland” his last public performance ever, intentionally playing it on David Letterman’s show while obviously also dying. Béla has nothing against the project; expectations of a project with many steps has not been his favorite thing ever.
It will be completed… soon. Very soon.
This rough draft is hilarious to me. Béla often draws bird’s eye views. This is what a CIA meeting looks like to Béla. And look — someone seems to have forgotten to mention it to Roland (for whom there is not even a chair).
Again, it is not the historical research he doesn’t like. It’s not the drawing. He seemed to feel a lot of pressure about making mistakes on his good copy but had not realized we could digitally edit and replace any drawing or word we wanted. So now, he’s working much harder.
We also finished watching “Lawrence of Arabia” this week and wow, is that a fun thing to do with your kid. If you’re gonna watch a war movie and have a child with a true appreciation for great cinema for cinema’s sake (Claude would never watch a movie that wasn’t “about” something she already had an interest in) — WOW. He was literally hanging over the arm of a couch to get closer to the screen.
I found this shortly after we finished watching.
Again, I am surprised and delighted that what I thought would be the part of their childhoods that I just tolerated — I liked “little” kids — I am LOVING two-hour family conversations and singalongs (thank you James Corden). My kids love life and believe in themselves more than I realized. The things in their life they do not enjoy they see as very temporary hardships outweighed by a greater future.
A few years ago Béla made me an origami cube full of love notes. It was repaired this week after Marble got to it, but not before I found a note I hadn’t gotten to yet. (I save them for very special occasions.)