Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Monday, January 01, 2007

Smart kid

I did an afternoon family Christmas party on Friday. Because children were there, I had to tone down my material. It was fun coming up with the occasional impromptu double entendre that would go over the kids' heads yet keep the adults amused.

The kids ranged in age from five to eleven. Dexter and I did about a half hour. One of my kid bits is about Isaac Newton and the story of the apple falling from the tree. I begin asking Dexter if he knows what Isaac Newton discovered. "Fig Newtons?" he guesses. Then Dexter asks the kids if they know. An eleven-year old boy who looks a lot like Harry Potter held up his hand. "I know," he said. When I asked him to tell us, I was expecting him to tell the story of the apple falling. Instead he said, "The three laws of motion." That was a surprise. Not only is it right, but those discoveries postdate Newton's observations about gravity and are what establish him as the father of modern physics. And eleven year old kids don't generally know about them. I learned later that the young man is a prodigy who has already finished much of his college work. I talked to him later and found him to be an engaging kid with the usual interests of an eleven year old. And a superior brain.

You never know what to expect. I wondered then if my veiled adult quips got by the young genius but didn't want to push it. So I asked him instead how he liked the show. "It was funny," was all he'd say. Good enough for me.


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