Tuesday, November 29, 2005

NFTV: Maps on the Wall

When the young man of letters got to be four, his interests branched out a bit. He was now interested in countries, especially country names, and flags, and maps. That year he asked Santa for a globe for Christmas. He still believed in Santa Claus. He was only four and a half. His favorite reading was the Doubleday Children’s Atlas. It had words like industrial and economic.

The spelling curse was finally fading. At last we were moving on. My husband was all for anything that didn’t involve the words, “What’s that spell.” So he went looking on the Internet for a program that involved countries and maps. He found a simple PC program called, “PC Globe,” and installed it for our son. I should point out that this was 1990 and there were no MAC or color screens. Everything was ugly green monochromatic giant square pixels.

PC Globe was a nifty little program. It did provide four entries—the flag, the anthem, a political map and a geographic map showing four levels of elevation—for 150 countries of the world. Our son spent an hour work-day on the computer, stopping only for lunch. The accordion-like sound of the national anthems playing constantly was not the most pleasant background noise. But he was happy and we were not spelling. So life was good at the Nerd Family house.

The next day was a Saturday. The Nerd child was in his room. Things were quiet for the longest time. As any mom knows that long quiet sets off an alarm. Kids are not meant to be quiet for long periods of time. I went to see what was happening. What I saw would have shaken any parent. It was scary.

On the walls were 150 country maps drawn from memory to four levels of elevation.

But that wasn’t the scary part—They were in alphabetical order!

My son, ET, was sitting on the floor still drawing maps.

I asked what he was doing.

“I’m starting over. They’re not quite right,” he said.

So ends another episode of Nerd Family on TV.
—me strauss Letting me be


mojo shivers said...

Man, he sounds like my brother. My brother in Sixth Grade became the California Representative to the Nationwide Geography Bee. He got his name in all the papers. He was scary with the names of countries, rivers, &c.

Come to think of it, he's still scary when it comes to stuff like that.

The Taorist said...

Well! You got quite a kid there! We may see him in Discovery Channel someday. He'd be climbing the walls of Egypt or the walls on the Moon base!

Cool kid. Cooler parents.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Patrick,
Yeah, he was in the Geography Bee and the Spelling Bee and took both quite seriously. But as I recall the Globe was the only thing he ever really asked for for Christmas. Still has it too.


ME Strauss said...

Hello my taorist friend,
I think he may end up making movies. He's got quite a brain, but art and video come naturally to him. He's just in his challenge phase right now, doesn't know to value what you can do easily.
He's also a very caring person.
Actually much nicer than I am.

mergrl said...

wow that is one amazing kid, just like his mama (hugs)

ME Strauss said...

Hi mergrl,
I don't think I would have put them in alphabetical order. Well, maybe . . . :) I guess you'd have to ask my mom and these days that's a very long distance call.


Jennifer said...

That's one smart kid. As I recall I was more interesting in coloring at that stage. I loved to draw.

Ahhh art and film fascinate me...something I've always wished I knew more about. I'm finding lately I'm interested in everything I don't know much about. Is this some stage in life? My most recent conquest was learning web pages...I've got a list with many more things on it.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Jennifer,
Yeah, you might call it a stage. It's the "I'm not in school and don't have-to learn it" stage so now it's interesting. :P

Jennifer said...


So that's it! Now I get it!

ME Strauss said...

Funny how that works. Isn't it.
How's the juice. Need more?

Doug said...

Now I see why he's ET.

ME Strauss said...

Yeah, Doug,
Kind of hard to miss with this one. He was only 4+.
Wait until you hear what's yet to come. My little alien child. *grin)


Betty said...

Boy, it's a good thing that ET had you and your husband as parents. Few people could have offered such a learning environment, especially in 1990. I loved the globe I got for Christmas too, and it's the only item from childhood which I still own. It'll be an antique soon, I'm thinking...

ME Strauss said...

Hi Betty,
I think he learned despite us, not because of us. He had his learning genes well in place and ready to go from the beginning. Nothing was going to get in the way.


Antique you say? :)

The Hungry Writer said...

Precious. Really! Nice post.

ME Strauss said...

Thanks, Lane.
I really appreciate that.