105 Ways to Give a Book

A Public Service Announcement

A while ago I read the book Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging. Funny book. (Note that I linked to the old cover, not the horrible new cover.) In the book Georgia decides to trim her eyebrows a little and ends up shaving them off.

I immediately stopped reading, found my oldest daughter, and told her this: “At some time in your life, it will seem like a good idea to shave your eyebrows. Resist that urge. It is never a good idea to shave your eyebrows. Do you understand? Come ask me for help if you need to, but never, ever shave your eyebrows.” She nodded solemnly. I think she was six.

Every once in a while, something comes up to make me reinforce that message. Now, at ten years old, she says, “Got it,” and the conversation is over.

So, today a little article comes up in the Washington Post’s KidsPost that compels me to send a message to all of you. It is the third such article I have read recently, and so now I submit this as a public service announcement to parents everywhere.

If your family goes camping, please inform your child that if he/she should get lost and he/she should hear people in the woods, then please, for the love of Pete, GO TO THEM. THEY ARE SEARCHING FOR YOU.

Again, I fear we have freaked out our kids so much about bad people, that even when they are in danger, they wrongly think they are safer being lost than being found by a stranger. Please, parents, grown-ups in general, tell kids that most people are good. Avoiding conversations with strangers when you are alone is overall a safe thing. However, if you are lost in the wilderness, you are going to have to count on the laws of probability, which would say it is unlikely that you will be both lost and discovered by a murderer. Go to this site, print this out, and review with your child, before I hear yet another story of a child who hid from his rescuers.

Close QuartersAnd you know, while I am ranting about common sense (or teaching common sense), let me send a message to Tim Tate. An article in the Washington Post today tells how Tim Tate bought the opportunity to name the character for the D.C. 48 Hour Film Project (as opposed to the 48 Hour Book Challenge, the rules of which can be found here). He named the character after himself, and gave him his occupation, glass sculptor. Fine. But then to make it “fun,” he expanded the character title to gay glass sculptor extraordinaire. This nomenclature drew groans from the participants, but whatever. But then to be surprised that most of the films poked fun at him? Come on, dude. You called the character gay glass sculptor extraordinaire. Let me repeat, extraordinaire. That kind of title is going to call for an over-the-top kind of character, and that’s what you got. Now, I wish he would take a look at our film, where I think we handled the character very differently. We did choose to use the option of Tina Tate, but I think Tim might approve if he saw our film. So Tim, if you Google yourself and find this blog, watch our movie at Tohubohu Productions for a different take on it. Oh, and our character doesn’t die.

Advice recap: Don’t ever shave your eyebrows. If you are lost in the woods, go to the people looking for you. If you are going to make up an extreme character, don’t be surprised if people use it in an extreme way.

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