May 31, 2011

An Interview with a One-Year-Old

Most of you have seen the transcripts of my recent interviews with Brady and Ellie; if you haven't seen them yet, you can check them out here and here. They're refreshingly sweet and funny, and definitely worth your time.

I didn't think I would have the opportunity to interview Riley for a few years, given that we thought he only knew four words and that it would be rather dull for you, but he had an opening in his schedule due to a cancelled engagement and was gracious enough to sit down with me for a surprisingly candid and hard-hitting exclusive interview that you'll only find here at The Used Diaper Salesman. As it turns out, not only does he have a very extensive vocabulary we knew nothing about, he has very well-formed opinions on a wide range of topics and really ups the ante on his brother and sister. He also has an IQ just north of 200. I was fascinated, and I think you will be, too.


Me: Well, thank you for taking the time to join me for a little chat, son.

Riley: Certainly! I'm glad I was able to make it.

Me: I understand you had another commitment fall through in order to make this possible. What was that?

R: Mensa. They're a little stodgy and tiresome anyway, so I wasn't terribly disappointed. I was to be the keynote speaker at their yearly conference, but I ran out of diapers and didn't have the means to get to the store for more, so I had to cancel. You may want to take care of that little oversight so that you don't end up with a mess on your hands, by the way.

Me: Duly noted, thank you. So who did they get to replace you?

R: A Korean physicist and civil engineer named Kim Ung-Yong. His IQ is registered at 210, so I guess he qualifies.

Me: Only 210, huh?

R: His work is groundbreaking, but I won't bore you with details.

Me: I'll take your word for it. So clear something up for me, if you would. I was under the mistaken impression that the most complex word you knew was "Dada". Why the charade and intrigue? Why not just come out with it and communicate? I have to tell you, it would have made everything easier for all of us around here.

R: (sighs) Well, truthfully, I didn't feel I needed the attention. I learned from our friend Kim Ung-Yong that a child prodigy is scrutinized, paraded for the world to see, showcased on Oprah (laughs). I felt that I would have more time to devote to my studies if I could maintain an image of normalcy. Sorry to have put you out.

Me: That makes sense, I guess. But did you really have to scream so loudly for your oatmeal at breakfast?

R: (smiles) Oh, I did. I thought it played very well. I've always enjoyed classic theater, and I confess I enjoyed acting the part. I guess it was a little over the top, huh?

Me: See these gray hairs? Here, and here?

R: Yes.

Me: That's what over the top does to me and your mom.

R: Sorry, dad. It really was fun, though.

Me: I'm so glad you were entertained. So, back on task. You mentioned your studies. What is it you've been studying?

R: Well, I've been doing some side work for NASA, helping improve their propulsion systems, but my passion is linguistics. Aside from the obvious English, I'm fluent in Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese. I'm currently working on Ancient Greek with an emphasis on the Mycenean dialect. It's fascinating, and a lot of fun.

Me: Cantonese, huh? I always had a hunch that wasn't just baby babble.

R: Well, I was only about seven months old at the time, so SOME of it really was babble.

Me: So with nap times and all, where do you find time to work on this stuff?

R: I can tell you, it hasn't been easy. You may have noticed that I'm only two feel tall and can only walk about three steps in a row, so getting up into your computer chair to work has been my biggest challenge. I had to bribe Brady with two bags of M&Ms per week to get him to lift me up into the chair. And I have to confess, dad...I wasn't really sleeping during all those naptimes. I have a laptop hidden under my crib mattress. Those child-protecting outlet covers really are a joke.

Me: Wow. Um, well, far be it from me to keep you from your work. Hey, tell me something. Has anyone ever told you that you remind them of Baby Stewie Griffin from the show "Family Guy"?

R: No, who's he?

Me: Never mind. So, since you seem to have a good grasp on astrophysics and linguistics, I'm sure you can handle politics. What are your thoughts on the way the 2012 elections are shaping up?

R: Well, President Obama has done some interesting things, but I'm not all that impressed. He hasn't lived up to so many of his campaign promises and his handling of those issues he has addressed has been questionable. I just don't know if the GOP has anyone who can do a better job or is polished enough to be electable. I was sad to see Mike Huckabee drop out of the race, but hardly sorry to see Donald Trump go. He's a joker.

Me: A good take. I think I've taken up just about enough of your time, but let me ask you one more question. With all the work you've done incognito in the last fifteen months, I can't imagine simple baby toys hold your interest much. You build with blocks but hardly touch most of the other toys. What do you do for fun?

R: I love the blocks because they help me with my spelling skills. You may not have noticed, but I build towers that spell words when read from bottom to top. Do you suppose you could get some of those with Cantonese characters for me?

Me: We'll see, buddy. Anything else?

R: Chess. It exercises the mind, keeps me sharp. I've been invited to play in the Junior World Championship in Chennai, India, but I'm not old enough to buy a plane ticket.

Me: Wow, I'm blown away. Now, about that Oprah appearance...

R: Not a chance, dad.


Who knew? Fifteen months old and a certified genius. It's pretty cool to have a potential future Nobel prize winner in the house, but I don't care. I'd be proud of him if he decided to be a garbage truck driver. He's my son, and that's all that needs to be said about that.

Nevertheless, I'll continue to work on him, try to get him to agree to go on Oprah. There's money in this somewhere.....

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