You know the line about there being known knowns, known unknowns and then unknown unknowns? Well, unknown knowns are my favorite.
Because kids are so trusting. Suckers.
I don’t know why I love to be sarcastic with people who don’t know, yet, what sarcasm is – but it’s so much fun. It delights me to no end. Here I’m going to re-create a conversation, to the best of my memory, that I had one day.
A few years back my niece came into my bedroom when I was playing the playstation. She was bored and interested in me playing with her. I was interested in the Madden game I was playing. I decided we’d meet at a middle ground – not play, just talk.
But wait, that’s right, I’m an uncle.
This means I can’t just talk with her, I have to mess with her.
“Did you know you know Chinese?”
“No I don’t!”
She didn’t even bother to have me clarify, “do you mean Cantanese, or Mandarin?” Four year olds are so dumb. (Note: I don’t know how old she was at the time, but it’d ruin my joke line to include that clarification. Like you wouldn’t yell, “FORGET YOU! … Well, not literally forget you, I mean like … you know, forget this particular incident because I’m frustrated with you.”)
(Note: Maybe you would yell that, that’d actually be pretty good.)
“Yeah, you speak Chinese, you just haven’t grown into your brain enough yet to know it.”
“I’d guess you’ll learn it in a few years. Like one day you’ll just start speaking Chinese.”
“That’s not true.”
“I know! It sounds crazy” (we’ll pretend that I just got an interception, take that opposing team!), “SWEET! … but yeah … you know Chinese.”
“Fine. Don’t believe me. But you’ll see. I mean, how would you know something’s not true if you haven’t experienced it?”
“I guess that’s true.”
“Yeah. It is.”
“Come play outside with me!”
“Nah, I’m pretty busy.”
I don’t know how the conversation actually ended. But I DID temporarily convince my niece she would one day tap into some wealth of knowledge she hadn’t used yet – and as part of that she would suddenly speak ‘Chinese.’
Another proud uncle moment was when my sister and I taught my nephew the phrase ‘hoochie mama.’ We got him to say it, then when he finally did (it took a while, he seemed uneasy about us – us!, can you believe it?!) we would clap and smile big and yell ‘yay!’ when he would say it. This encouraged him, and soon he was saying it with pride.
Turns out his parental units did not find this nearly as funny as E$ and I did.