This is my nephew Tyler. He just rolled up the big 1 on the odometer of life. As far as I can tell, he’s pretty smart for his age. He crawls and can pull himself into a standing position. Lately, he’s taken to pointing at things. And, he can clap his hands like a mother.
The thing I like about Tyler is that he’s smart without being creepy about it. I believe the term that some parents use is precocious. But you know what I mean. One time I went on a tour of Chichen Itza and there were one of those kids in our group. At first, his command of Mayan culture and history was cute. But then it got to a point where I found myself thinking, “Pump the breaks, Boy Wonder.” I found myself firing off answers just to shut him down. According to my wife, I was jealous. Probably.
But back to Tyler. The other night, we took him to Medieval Times in Buena Park. It’s great time. However, there is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief that must happen. If Tyler would have acted like one of those precocious kids, he would have wrecked the experience for all of the adults in his group.
For example, when he found out he was going here, he kept it to himself that the Medieval Period was a thousand year period in Europe that was ushered in by the fall of the Roman Empire and ended as the Renaissance was welcomed in.
And when the king welcomed us to his castle, Tyler kept it cool that it would have been impossible for the king to speak English in the 11th century. After all, as any one year old knows, the Norman conquest of England didn’t even take place until 1066.
At that time, folks in the British Isles still spoke something now known as Old English. Old English is a German-inflected language that would be completely foreign to our ears. Tyler might have also recommended an untranslated version of Beowulf if we didn’t believe him.
He also kept it to himself that even at the time of the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer’s version of English would actually sound a bit more like French to the modern ear. Clearly, we would all have to wait until the time of Shakespeare before we would get an English we would all be more comfortable with.
Thankfully, he let it slide. When the kings musicians played a fanfare on the their trumpets, he spared us one of those cute little lessons about how if truly were Middle Ages of Europe, the last thing we would ever hear would be a trumpet, at least not in its three-valve combination. As any toddler knows, the valve trumpet didn’t show up until the eighteen hundreds. Even Beethoven’s works featured natural trumpets.
Yes, kids do say the darnedest things sometimes. And all of the adults in Tyler’s immediate vicinity appreciate that sometimes it’s what they don’t say.