Last weekend, we attended a neighborhood birthday party for a boy turning two. It was a fun event, and the kind of party where your kids swarm away to the basement and you don’t see them for an hour or so. Once dinner appeared, we rounded the kids up and sat down outside. The table where we were seated had upon it an iPod resting in a Brookstone BoomBucket, which is a handy iPod dock and speaker system. My son reads every snippet of text he can, so in no time he was reading the track names. My wife and I noticed this, but no one around us did since most of the song titles were innocuous phrases so that people paid no heed when they heard the words from a seven year old.
That changed when the song changed and my son announced, in a clear voice with no hesitation, “Sexual Healing.”
First off, I thought my host was going to swallow his tongue. Several people heard my son but hadn’t yet picked up on the music, so for them the non sequitur was even more pronounced. A few of them looked at my wife and me with the sort of look that says, “You perverts are raising another degenerate.” As Marvin Gaye’s voice carried across the terrace, looks of confusion and horror started to change to amusement and guffaws as people understood what had just happened. My favorite part of the whole thirty second ripple was how my son was oblivious of anything besides the words he was reading. Reading is such a visceral pleasure for him that it obscures the whole world around him. Sometimes that’s worrisome, but last weekend, it was just fine.