The other night Jackson had a screaming fit because the streetlights were coming on and it was time to come in and he didn't want to stop playing with his friend Boloni*. It was the worst tantrum Jackson'd had in a very long time, but the most interesting part is that when he charged at me and screamed, "I hate you!" the lights dimmed. There was no reasoning with him, but naturally I had to try, which only encouraged a fresh onslaught of fists and epithets, which coincided with the lights dimming again. I looked at Jack. "One more time," I said, paraphrasing Karl Jung**. Jackson continued to freak. It happened again***.
*I could turn this entire post into another sad diatribe about baby names, but instead I'll just write a little footnote to tell you that Jackson's best friend in the neighborhood is a little Mexican kid named Boloni, who got named that by his cousin because he was such a fat little baby he looked like one of those huge rolls of bologne.
**There's a story about Jung meeting with Sigmund Freud after their split, and at one point their discussion was getting intense and a large wooden piece of furniture in the room made a huge crack! -- I think Jung believed the furniture was being strained by their psychic energy -- and I think it happened twice and then Jung looked at Freud and said, "It will happen again," and crack! it did.
***A couple of days later my boss said that his lights dimmed that night, too, so unless we've got The Omen part VII on our hands, it was just a coincidence.
Then, yesterday after seeing Sky High I took Jackson to the Discovery store to mess around with the cheap-ass remote control toys for a few minutes, and on our way out of the store we ran into a slightly older kid who was standing near one of the fountains in the mall. The kid was staring in that frank way that kids have, and Jackson reacted by slumping his shoulders forward and making a weird face. "What's your name?" the kid said. Jackson rolled his eyes and continued to make strange faces. "You're weird," said the kid. "No, I'm funny," said Jackson. I was just about to intervene in some jackassed adult way when they started running around in circles and laughing, so I went off to the side and sat down in the sun and watched. Within minutes Jackson and this kid who five minutes earlier had been a complete stranger had invented this game where they stopped suddenly and froze like stiff-armed robot soldiers every time the kid's litte brother came up to try to join them. It was one of those borderline exclusionary games where two kids love being chased and the kid doing the chasing is almost ready to cry and eventually gives up and finds something better to do, and then the kids no longer being chased come over to find out what the little one has found so interesting in the fountain.
What's so interesting is there's money at the bottom of it, and if your mom will give you a quarter you can make a wish. But once your quarter is in the bottom of the fountain you can't fish it out because then your wish won't come true, which is what I should have told Jackson before he dumped head first into the water. Once I determined that he hadn't drowned, I started to get my camera out, but even though everyone was laughing and telling him it was okay he seemed a little downhearted, so I put away my camera and dried him off with his rap robe instead. I told him he was continuing a fine family tradition, that Uncle Stinky fell into every fountain in New York City when he was Jackson's age and Grandpa Adam would make him take off all his clothes and set them out on a rail while Uncle Stinky waited in a nearby boy's room until they were dry. Me, I just wrapped up my boy and carried him to the car and stripped him down and let him ride home in his car seat naked. It's sort of an unexpected pleasure, riding in a car with no clothes, if I'm to judge by the satisfied look I saw on his face in the rearview mirror.
One last thing, if you buy a Fussy.org t-shirt I cannot guarantee that something like this will happen, though I wish I could. Honestly, though, if you get any odd reactions while you're wearing one let me know. Or take a picture. Either way I'll post or link to your story or photo.