So Little A has apparently decided he wants to be a cop when he grows up, rather than (or perhaps in addition to) a mad scientist. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s “in addition to”, given the plans he outlined to me today. And lest any of my activist friends be put off by this turn of events, you will be pleased to know that his definition of criminals includes more than just the usual kind….
Little A: “When I grow up and become a police officer, I’m going to create a bunch of huge cat robots, which will be controlled by our movements and will have big retractable claws and shoulder armour. We’ll be able to grab ALL the criminals with our claws!”
Muime: “Like a cat version of the robots from Pacific Rim?”
Little A (who has not actually seen Pacific Rim, but is fascinated by it nonetheless, and at one point insisted on me narrating it to him as a bedtime story): “Yes! Only BIGGER! One LEG of my cat robots will be as big as one of the robots from Pacific Rim!”
Muime: “Wow! And what kind of bad guys are you going to go after with your cat robots?”
Little A (without a pause): “NESTLE!”
Muime (trying not to crack up laughing and not quite succeeding): “Well, it sounds like you have your priorities straight… That’s the kind of bad guys the police at present can’t really do much about.”
Little A: “Well, *I* will! I’ll find ALL the places that sell ANYTHING made by Nestlé and make them all stop! And then the people who work for Nestlé won’t have any money, and they’ll end up out on the street and they’ll STARVE! THAT’ll teach them a lesson!”
Muime: “Sweetie, your plans for the future are inspiring and disturbing, in almost equal measure.”
. . .
And a bit later on the Don Mills bus:
Little A (jumping back to his future plans from an unrelated topic): “And when I catch criminals when I grow up, I’m going to put handcuffs on them and then hang them from the ceiling by the handcuffs, so it’ll really hurt!”
Muime: “Sweetie, there is this thing called the Geneva Convention that you are going to need to familiarize yourself with at some point… Torture is kind of frowned upon these days.”
Little A: “…And I’ll make them watch nothing but kids’ shows! Like BARNEY THE DINOSAUR!”
Muime (thinking that that might be a bigger violation of the Geneva Convention than the cat robots and hanging-by-handcuffs put together): “You know sweetie, hurting people actually isn’t a very good way of stopping people from being bad, in the long run.” (He looks up at me curiously.) “Think about a day when people have been mean to you — maybe some kids at school picked on you, and then maybe Mama or Daddy was in a bad mood and yelled at you… Did that make you feel like being nicer, and treating people better?”
Little A shakes his head no, looking thoughtful and a bit disturbed.
Muime: “I bet it made you want to kick and bite people, right? Because being treated like that made you really angry?” (He nods, with a little half-smile.) “Well, it’s the same with grownups — except maybe with less biting. Being treated badly doesn’t make you into a better person. The real way to get people to stop doing bad things is to make them understand why the things they’re doing are bad — to get them to have more understanding of, and respect for, other people. And that’s a lot harder to do.”
Little A: “Well…” (He thinks for a minute) “OK, I’m still going to hang them up by their hands, but I’ll make it less high, so they have the floor under their feet. So that’ll be nicer, right?”
Muime: “Sweetie –”
Little A: “And that way they can entertain themselves by swinging back and forth, so it’ll be fun for them!” (I try again not to crack up laughing, and fail again.) “Except that sometimes I’ll put the cuffs on their ankles instead, and attach them to the wall. That’s not mean — it’s just like when you tie Kiska’s leash to something to keep her from running away! And the only reason I’ll be doing it is so that they don’t run away or attack me when I’m up in front with a chalkboard TEACHING them!”
Muime: “OK, this is starting to sound slightly less creepy…”
Little A: “And I’ll let them watch My Little Pony, so they can learn ALL about friendship!”
. . .
So there you have it: Little A, of the future Mad Science Police, will end crime — corporate and otherwise — with giant cat robots, manacles and My Little Pony. You heard it here first… (Note: my friend Sabotabby has drawn an awesome comic based on this, which will be posted here once she declares it fully finished.)