While driving the boys to school the other day, Elliott thrilled me with the following announcement:
“Dad, I’ve entered a contest to see who can build the first rocket ship that will take you to Venus.”
“Take me to Venus,” I asked, somewhat concerned.
“No,” he said, laughing, “take me to Venus.”
“Well, if it’s a contest,” I asked, “what does the winner get?”
“Three and a half billion dollars,” he said in his best Warren Buffet voice.
I admit, for just the briefest of a second I wondered if his claim was true. I began taking inventory of everything I knew about building rockets, thinking if I could find a way to help him, maybe he’d share the prize. Just as I concluded that I was as experienced at building rockets as I was at transplanting hearts, I discovered I wasn’t the only one whose mind went racing into outer space.
“Well, my rocket ship is already done,” piped up Ian, in his usual don’t forget the peanut gallery fashion.
“So if yours is done,” I asked, in my best Warren Buffet voice, “do you get the three and a half billion dollars?”
“No,” Elliott interjected, “you have to take the rocket ship to Venus before you can win.” He had obviously memorized the rules.
“Well Ian, when are you going to take your rocket ship to Venus?” I asked with a voice filled with urgency.
“I can’t take it, I’m too young,” he said, sounding somewhat surprised that I didn’t know that. “I have to find someone else to take it.”
It did get me to wondering about the age requirements for interplanetary travel. And what exactly does that driver’s license look like. I mean really, would anyone between here and Venus even think about pulling Ian over? Then, mysteriously, I found myself humming the 1976 Carpenter’s tune: Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.
By the time the two future space travelers had concluded that Elliott would drive Ian’s rocket ship and split the dough, I can only guess because Elliott is so much older and a better rocket ship driver than builder, we arrived at Kiddie Kingdom. Sometime during the day, I imagine the second they were immersed in drawing Angry Birds and making hats out of paper plates, the rocket ship contest became a forgotten conversation. For them, anyways.
I’m thinking the three and a half billion dollars just didn’t mean that much to either of them.
Elliott wanted Katie to download a game on the ipad last weekend that cost money. We’ve been limiting the game downloads to freebies, so Katie told Elliott to find a free one. He was disappointed. Katie then gave him another alternative. She told him he could help organize the toys in the play room into individual tubs to earn a little money for a download. He was very quiet to the offer. Then after some thought, he said, like he had never requested anything more, “I’ll play with the free ones.”
I guess when you’re fine with free, three and a half billion dollars just isn’t appealing. (Not said with my best Warren Buffet voice).