Stories by Richie...Starring the Mighty Beanbag
Say, it's 8:30 a.m. at school. You're sitting around in a circle talking about what day it is. To you, it's anybody's guess. Christmas? July? Women's History Month? Come to find out, it's Wednesday.
Your teacher tells you to "listen quietly."
What? How can that be? There are 15 kids in the room. It looks like a birthday party. Eureka!
"I know what day it is," you say, waving you're arm in the air. "Birthday."
But the teacher reminds you that somebody already answered Wednesday. Oh, that's right. Like the girl in Peter Pan.
Because all this would be hard to describe, and you really want to use your new ability, you come home and tell a whopper.
Here's a typical recap of the school day by our 5-year-old storyteller, Richie.
"There was a food fight today," he says. "But we didn't throw food. We threw bean bags."
For the next five minutes, he re-enacts the "food" fight. Those bean bags are like medicine balls! Everytime somebody gets hit with one, Richie falls off the couch...unconscious. Until he has to show what happens to the next guy.
The sound effects are pretty good: Psht. Bam. Ahhh. Now, it's your turn. Get him. Psht. Bam. Whoa.
Richie is not the hero in this battle. He gets knocked out early on. In fact, by the end, nobody is left standing. Who threw the last beanbag? Who cares?
Needing more people to get hit by freakishly heavy beanbags, Richie brings in a new cast of characters: the preschoolers. This action scene goes on indefinitely.
Finally, I ask, "Where were the teachers during all this?"
"Oh," he says. "They had the day off."
Other times, he puts them in the principal's office for carrying out shenanigans. Those teachers. Always causing trouble for the poor students.
I've got to hand it to him: making up an absurd plot twist for the sake of an even more absurd beanbag fight. That's got daytime drama written all over it.
And like a soap opera, these stories let you leave the room, throw in a load of laundry, put away the dishes, make dinner, come back, and pretty much be at the same place in the story.
It's a beanbag opera. Because trust me, in all Richie's stories, beanbags play the starring role. I don't know if he's ever even seen a beanbag. If he has, it certainly made an impression.
You know, I remember doing this same thing. Somebody took me to see the play Oliver! This was my favorite musical. When I got in trouble as a kid, I would sit on my windowsill and sing, "Whe-e-e-e-ere is love? Does it come from stars above? Is it underneath the willow tree that I've been dreaming of..."
Because, to me, getting sent to my room essentially made me as downtrodden as an impoverished orphan.
But I never was really clear on the plot. If they weren't singing, I wasn't listening. So I had a hard time summarizing it for my mom when I got home. Instead, I had Sykes doing ballet and Oliver throwing pies at the Artful Dodger, who dodged them--duh.
But here's the difference between left and right brained people.
When Johnny was five, he liked to make books with typing paper stapled together. Most of them involved facts about dinosaurs.
But one time he made up this elaborate story about children lost in the jungle with a mad scientist and mutant animals.
I was like, "Wow, that is really creative."
So I wrote it down and he drew pictures. He called it "Jungle Run." Under the title, he asked me to write, "Rated PG-13."
A couple weeks later, we were watching T.V. when one of the Spy Kids movies came on. As I watched it, I thought, "This is so familiar. Have I seen this before?"
Then it hit me: Jungle Run was a summary of Spy Kids.
So the difference is left brain people summarize what they see. Right brain people aren't watching. So they make stuff up.
Some people are both left and right brained, in which case you see the ballerina pirouette clockwise and counter-clockwise. Sorry, I'm thinking of an e-mail going around.
Anyway, hope that clears things up for you. Now: beanbag fight! Psht. Bam. Whack.