On the drive in to school, the girls like for me to tell them “non-fiction fiction” stories. These are stories that I make up on the spot, but which I sell as Absolutely True. Like the time I hunted a bear. Or, when I was abducted by aliens. Or, when I was a fireman and put out a fire in a dog house. It is quite draining to improvise these stories while in morning rush hour traffic. But, I like to please the audience. (And, yes. The girls are in on the joke… I think.)
Julianna (she’s seven): Daddy, please tell us a non-fiction fiction story.
Iz (she’s five): Yeah. Please, please, please.
Me: Ok. What story should I tell you about?
J: The time you were a police officer.
Iz: Daddy, you already told that one.
J: No he didn’t!
Iz: Yes he did!
Trying to avoid yet another high-decibel squabble between the two of them at 60 miles per hour, I intercede.
Me: Well, I used to be the Sheriff.
Iz: What’s that?
Me: Well, the Sheriff was the police office of the Old West.
Me: I was the Sheriff of Glamor Gulch.
Remember, I’m making this up on the spot.
Me: Well, Glamor Gulch was the Entertainment Capital of the Old West. Like Hollywood. So, I…
Iz: Daddy. You know I don’t understand this.
Iz: Yeah. I hear your words. Then, I think about your words. Then, I hear your new words. Then I forget your old words. Then I don’t know what you are talking about.
Me: Well, Honey. You’re only five. You will learn to pay attention as you get older.
Iz: Yeah… And your story is boring.
Everyone’s a critic.