Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Long Way to Go

The other night, as my son and I chatted in the dark at bedtime, he told me, "Goodnight, pal."

"Goodnight, chum," I replied.

"What's 'chum'?" he asked. "Like the Chum Bucket on Spongebob?"

"Actually," I told him, "the word 'chum' can mean two things. It can mean a bunch of fish parts and stuff that people throw in the water to make sharks come closer, because sharks like to eat fish parts, or it can mean 'friend' or 'pal'."

He thought about this. "Then what does 'rookie' mean?"

"Well, 'rookie' means someone who's still new at doing something and who still has some things to learn," I said. "Baseball teams and the police department especially use the word 'rookie' a lot when they talk about someone who's just starting out and who still has to learn a few things."

He thought about this again. "And a rook is the castle-looking chess piece that sits on the edge of the board, right?"

"I think so, but you should probably ask Daddy about chess questions. Word questions I can handle."

He yawned. "Well, goodnight, chum."

"Goodnight, pal."

"Goodnight, ROOKIE," he said, giggling.

Oof. ;^)