Friday, July 09, 2004

Cute. Funny. Occasional tendency to leave vapour-trails.

Just about the cutest thing in the world is a child running very fast: the jigging up and down of the shoulders, the sledgehammer pounding of little shoed feet as they punch the floor. (Who ever coined the phrase the ‘pitter-patter of tiny feet’ never really had kids. Children ‘pitter-patter’ over floor-boards in much as the same way as an SR-71 Blackbird pitter-patters across the sound-barrier.)

And of course, such rapid movement is often acccompanied by a lunatic grin and a scream not unlike an SR-71 Blackbird scissor-kicking Mach 1.

Last night The Dude ran back and forth, back and forth, yelling at the top of his lungs. I said to my wife: ‘you know, if he wasn’t so adorable, that’d be kind of annoying.’ Of course a line like that is really just your sub-conscious gesturing to be heard, like the nerdy kid in class who’s never called upon because he always has his hand up.

One minute later: ‘my God, that’s annoying. I said, my GOD, that’s annoying. I SAID, never mind.’

Part of the whole cuteness package is the fragility of a child at speed. A kid at full pelt is like an avalanche. An avalanche wearing Wiggles overalls. At twice the normal speed. With a bowl hair-cut. An avalanche that deliberately steers itself to crush the villages in its path.

The only thing which stops gravity bringing the whole vegemite-filled edifice crashing to earth is constant forward motion. Sprawling, face-smacking accidents are not merely inevitable, they’re the only thing that can bring rest to a child’s flailing limbs.

However, barring some unforeseen mishap involving a small hurtling body, a precariously balanced tray of crockery and myself, children are pretty well unable to hurt anybody but themselves. They’ll hit you and ping off at an acute angle, leaving you unmoved, like they’re a pin-ball and you just gave them 50 points.

But cute. Did I mention the whole thing is cute? And other people’s kids running too fast are cute and funny. Which is why I like them more than an SR-71. No one ever laughed at an SR-71.

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