Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ah-vah Akbar

The Common Man has a problem. It's The Boy. He loves the "ah-vah". He loves the vacuum cleaner.

The Common Man knows what you're thinking. "What's the big deal?" you wonder, "He's just a kid, and it's just a vacuum." But you don't understand. The Boy loves the vacuum. Any vacuum. All vacuums. And brooms. And mops. And rakes. And swiffers. If it cleans, he loves it.

It began, The Common Man believes, on a trip to Bah-bah (Grandpa)'s house. While The Common Man and The Uncommon Wife were checking out some pyramids and some statues and some Nile, The Boy was sequestered with his grandparents. Now, The Boy had always shown some interest in "ah-vah". He followed The Common Man around while he vacuumed, tried to play with the cord, and wondered at how the stem of the vacuum reclined and stood upright.

The Common Man has since discovered that, while his parents were away, The Boy convinced his bah-bah to give him rides on the vacuum. Up the hall. Down the hall. The Boy would ride on the base of the vacuum, while his grandfather pushed him. He would feel it vibrate and hear it churn beneath him.

So, when The Common Man returned, he found a child obsessed with that damn vacuum. He would point to it. He would cling to it. He would push it. When it wasn't visible, he would search for it, calling "ah-vah! ah-vah!" It became his solitary concern (other than food), and he was never happier than when he wrapped his fingers around the cord or the handle.

And so, tonight, when The Common Man got out ah-vah to vacuum the living room, The Boy's eyes glowed bright. For a moment, he stood back in awe, his face breaking into a grin. "Ahhhh-vahhhh!" he cried and ran toward it. The Common Man started the motor and The Boy stood back, confused as to why his friend did not want him to ride. And so, as The Common Man ran the vacuum up and down the carpet, The Boy went and got his toy ah-vah, which his father bought for him. The one with googly eyes and a big smile. And The Common Man and his son vacuumed the carpet together.

Now, you might think this was cute (and it was). But The Common Man is worried that The Boy's worship of this false idol may have drastic implications on the rest of his life. What if The Boy is simply too clean? What if he refuses to enter his parents' room because it is cluttered? What if he won't eat off a plate that hasn't been boiled first? What if the other kids make fun of him for being too neat? What if he becomes a neat-freak, like Julia Roberts's abusive, yuppie husband in Sleeping With the Enemy?

What if he ends up as Julia Roberts's husband in Sleeping With the Enemy? What if he grows that mustache??? And what if, when he grows that mustache, he looks like Jason Giambi?

What if he uses steroids??? Wait, is it better to be an abusive, controlling yuppie who tries to kill Julia Roberts or Jason Giambi, rocking the porn 'stache and injecting steroids in your butt? The Common Man is unsure; he's been listening to sports talk radio too much.

As you can see, The Common Man is a little irrational about this whole thing. Maybe he should find other, more important things to worry about. Like, hey, did you hear that Israel is going to attack Iran?

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