Both my boys love the song Smoke on the Water, which is so funny because I remember when I lived in Couer D' Alene, Idaho and hearing it for the first time. I was in 5th grade. It was one of two songs having a catchy and distinctive guitar riff—the other being Love is Like Oxygen—hard crunching, repeating, toe-tapping. It was common to see your friend tucking their lower lip under the front teeth and doing a spot-on imitation. It may have inspired many first-time air guitarists, and not a few of the real thing.
At the dinner table Emmett sang his own words to the song instead of eating, real imaginative lyrics such as, "Poop on the water, and farts in the sky," while mom and dad rolled their eyes and said for the hundredth time, "No poop-talk," (trying not to smile).
Then Jackson got into the action, as he didn't like what was on his plate either. When Jackson gets involved, it's like that mythical amp from Spinal Tap that cranks to 11. In other words, it gets loud and out of control.
"Ok, settle down boys," I said, which has the effect of a lion cub facing down a stampeding herd of wildebeests. But after a few gentle reminders that there is food on their plates and that there are people starving in the world that would kill for a single bite (yes, it's true, we've become our parents), the boys went back to a subdued state of planning their next diversion. It came in the form of a question. The question.
Jackson asked, "Where to babies come from?"
Easy: "From momma's belly."
"But how does it get there?"
My wife and I exchange The Glance.
I decided to dance around a bit. I am the master of diversion after all. "It's like a seed, Jackson. Like the flowers we started in the egg carton (irony, eh?) at the start of summer. The seed grows into a baby until its big enough to come out of mommy's belly."
That should hold him.
Jackson is in third grade now. Though it may not sound like much, it was in fifth grade when we were introduced to sex education. If the pattern held true, that's only two years away. Perhaps the timing for modern audiences is a bit late.
"But how does the seed get there?"
Is verklempt a word? If it means to be at a total loss for words, that was me. It was time to pass the baton. My wife smiled as she took it and used it for an air-microphone, took a deep breath and screamed, "SMOOOOKE, ON THE WAAATER…"
And we all joined in, "…and fire in the sky-hayyye."
And that is the story of how Rock and roll saved the day.