Saturday, August 2, 2014

Memoirs of a Wuzard

I used to be magical.  I used to have a lot of super powers.  Now, I am just a shadow of my former self and about the only one of my super powers left is that I have a fair amount of common sense (which is a super power only when you consider that I'm a government employee).  At Enema U, this ability almost entitles me to wear a cape! 

I have another super skill which I use regularly at work: I seem to be the only person left in the building who knows how to Google something—but I’ll be modest, and list that as only a minor magical power.

My other supernatural abilities seem to have dimmed to just a faint, dim glow.  Once upon a time, my children knew that I was twelve feet tall and covered with hair.  Today—sad to say—they believe that I need a cane and hearing aids.  I am no longer a wizard—I am a wizard has-been.  (Does this make me a ‘wuzard?’)

It hasn’t been that long--I remember when one of my sons would come to me with a broken, treasured toy, tearfully holding it up to me and ask in a small voice, "Daddy, 'fik' it?” And I could. Muttering arcane incantations, I resurrected broken cars, reattached wheels, furnished new batteries, and dispensed glue and duct tape in massive quantities. 

And I used to be blessed with magical medical powers, too.  I could “fik” all manner of booboos, banged knees, and invisible bruises with just a single kiss.  For major maladies, I had Band-Aids—I could fix anything with a Band-Aid!  Hell!—Once I cured the four-year old's equivalent of a nearly detached arm with a single large Band-Aid and a magical kiss! 

In my prime, I could even have wiped out this current Ebola problem in Africa with three Band-Aids and a bottle of Mercurochrome.  (Which in our house is still called "Monkey Blood".)  

To increase the effectiveness of magical medicines, two (or more) had to be used in massive quantities together.  Take for example, your son has a sticker in his thumb.  Pull the sticker out and smear the Mercurochrome over as much skin as possible, then partially cover with the largest Band-Aid in the box.  If you add a sling for the arm, I can guarantee that the child will walk again.

As a major wizard, I knew all and I could explain all.  My sons, What’s-His-Name and The-Other-One, would sit enraptured at my feet while I explained the Wonders of the World.  Then they got older, and suddenly, the foolishness I uttered embarrassed them.  For years, I was just an old fool with too many dusty books and a bright, shiny, new Kindle.

Eventually, right about the time my sons married, they started to consult me again for minor advice.  Frequently, they were amazed at how much the ancient idiot had learned in the previous few years!

Is it possible that I didn't really lose my magic?  Is it possible that my spells only work on the young?  I now have a herd of granddaughters (and a single grandson who will probably have to take karate lessons to defend himself) who seem to think that, occasionally, I can rekindle a spark of my former powers.

Naturally, I am not nearly as formidable a wizard as their fathers, my former apprentices, but I am still powerful enough for small spells.  I can tie shoes, locate interesting bugs, and other such minor miracles.

Do children become immune to magic as they grow older?  If you perform the same trick too many times, do your kids lose their ability to see the enchantment?  If so, I think I know when it happens.

There was a day, when What’s-His-Name played with his stuffed purple dragon--his favorite toy.   That night, he went to bed, and when he woke up the next morning, it was the first of the endless days when he never played with it again.  Something had  happened that night, and the magic started to end.

If I were really magical, I would use all my powers to bring back that previous day!

1 comment:

  1. I think Mark Twain once said something to the effect that, "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

    It's sad when we lose our mojo, especially with our sons. We never quite lose it with our daughters. Oh, they think we go silly in the head when they turn 13, but they still believe we can magically fix stuff. The boys know better and hold us to a much higher standard. I think it's because of their mothers. Mama knows our flaws intimately and for some reason doesn't mind revealing them in front of our sons when she's ticked of with regard to one of our shortcomings. Our daughters, on the other hand, stopped listening to their mothers back at 13, so they don't even hear the litany of human frailties that our beloved wives heap upon our heads while coping with the stresses of having teenagers gone wild in the house.

    One can sympathize. Mothers are hard-wired by biology to keep everyone safely in the nest and happy. Teenager are hard-wired by biology to suddenly experience an over-whelming need to get out of the nest and fly and when the hormones kick in, they develop a congenital inability to be happy. This urge to fly but be unhappy about it makes Mama question herself as a mother and woman. At this stage, fathers, wanting to reacquire their wives' attention (which was largely lost the day the first child was born), are invested in seeing that the little birds fly free; and soon, lest they become content living in the nest and when the biological urge passes, start filling up the basement with loose laundry, empty Power-Aid bottles, bits of fluff and electronic equipment.

    Mothers hate you when you're nudging little Festus toward the edge of the nest, but we have to do it. And like you said, once they take that leap and whack into the ground or the odd tree branch, they do begin to appreciate you a lot more.

    My son married an older woman with 2 prepubescent daughters. He announced his engagement by telling us he was going to marry her and didn't care what we thought. It was all in the preamble to the happy announcement. When the girls hit 13, his life became, shall we say, "interesting". He called me at 2 am one Sunday morning and apologized for his adolescence. "You remember all that stuff I used to do to you guys when I was a teenager?" He couldn't hear me nodding sagely. "WELL, THEY'RE DOING IT TO ME!" he moaned.

    I felt bad for him. I really did. I expressed my sympathy in a fatherly fashion. It's fortunate this all happened before Skype became widely available. Had he been able to see the big lopsided grin that spread across my face, it might have dampened the empathetic dad effect I was going for.