Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bedtime Stories

So Iain knows I teach history. He understands this to mean that I am available - at any time - to tell him a story about something gruesome.

His favorites include the Battle of Monongahela, the Battle of the Bulge, Richard the Lionhearted, and slavery (the general outline of North American slavery as a lived experience).

Tonight I told him about Henry VIII and his first 3 wives. I left out the beheading. He wasn't particularly interested and kept asking whether I'd tell him about the Bulge again. No. This is the story. The only part he really liked was Henry getting poked with a lance and falling from his horse in a dead faint for an hour. That was ok. He was also mildly interested in the symptoms of congenital syphilis.

Finally, I explained that if he'd make do with this story tonight I would tell him about the Spanish Armada tomorrow night. "Elizabeth saved England from the greatest threat she faced prior to the Nazis!" I said.

"What are the Nazis?"

"The Battle of the Bulge is the Nazis."

"Oh. So Armada tomorrow night, Nazis Tuesday?"

Yes, kid. Conflict and tension every night at bedtime. You bet. Because there's nothing else in history, apparently. He'd fit right into a history department, circa 1952.

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