• Mel Jones

Dragons, Obesity, and the Future

This was originally posted in April 2011:

I didn’t blog yesterday, but I wrote, or rather, I edited. I rewrote. Yeah. I have 10 of the 20pgs I need to have done next week. And I’ll do the other ten this weekend.

I had planned to start on Thursday night. I came in from work, about 8:30. Ian was cooking. I walked through the back door, computer in one hand, Mary Poppins bag in the other.

“Tell Ryan there are no dragons!”

“Well, ok?” I was a little confused by this request. I mean, I thought Ryan had outgrown this nonsense. He’s fourteen. And we had worked so hard on the denial of mythical creatures – and making sure your source information was sound; that you could back your research up.

I was immediately transported back to another conversation with Ryan years before…

“Of course, there’s a Loch Ness monster!” Ryan had insisted.

It’s hard to argue and drive. But I did my best. “Ryan, there is no solid evidence on Nessie. It’s supposition. Some blurry photos by tourists and drunk Scotsmen do not stand up to rigorous scientific inquiry. It just doesn’t.” I tried to be kind about it. “Where did you hear about the Loch Ness Monster? In school?”

“No. On TV.”

“The Discovery Channel?”


“National Geographic?”

“No.” he was getting exasperated, his raised his voice ever so slightly, “Scooby Doo said so!

Scooby effing Doo? I hit the brake, thankfully no one had been behind me. “Scooby Doo? Ryan, there is no evidence that the Loch Ness Monster exists. And Scooby Do doesn’t count as educational TV!”

Every time Ryan has presented questionable facts we ask if Scooby told him. It’s sort of a standing joke.

So, I came in from a long day at work and Ian said, “Tell Ryan there are no dragons!”

“Well, ok. Ryan, there are no dragons.” I said it with finality and moved to put my bags down. I didn’t really feel like this was a discussion.

“Yes, there are, you can’t prove there aren’t!”

Ian rolled his eyes as he stirred the spaghetti.

I was working out exactly where in the universe this conversation would be considered rational.

“Ryan, there…”

I can prove it!

Ian laughed. “Maybe once upon a time.” His voice was dripping with sarcasm.

Ryan darted across the room and snapped up his laptop.

I wondered do kids who own their own laptops believe in dragons? Apparently so, I would have to digest this information slowly.

He turned the screen so that I could see it, “Well what do you think that is, huh?

“A frozen shark?” It was one of those blurry pictures that really defied definition, sort of like Nessie. I was trying to be empathetic, clearly he was impassioned. It was difficult.

Ian laughed.

“It’s true! This isn’t a cartoon, it’s Animal Planet!”

“Ryan, just because you see something on TV…”

“It’s not TV, it’s the Internet!”

“I’ve been trying to tell him. Maybe there were once dragons, but we have no dragons today.”

“There are legends of dragons in every culture! How do you explain that, Ian?”

“Um, there used to be some sort of dinosaur that looked like a dragon-thing?” He moved to drain the pasta.

Ryan looked to me for support. “I’ll show you!” He proceeded to show several blurry pictures from Animal Planet, while telling us about skeletons of medieval knights found, swords drawn, around such a frozen creature.

I considered trying to explain that if the dragon was frozen, the knights would be too. But he was so insistent. and you really have to pick your battles. I just nodded and replied, “Well, maybe once there were dragons.” I was tired, it had been a long day. I sank on to the sofa, thinking, glad we got that settled.

Ian came out of the kitchen and announced that he knew why all Asian people were so thin.

I closed my eyes and braced myself.

“It’s about the rice. Rice expands when it is moist – so it gives the illusion that you’re full. So Asian people don’t eat as much.”

Really? Really? I just stared at him blankly. “Sumo wrestlers?” was all I could muster to say.

He hung his head in a defeated sort of way and turned to go back into the kitchen. I worry about the future… they’re going to need an adult there.


And I haven’t seen any solid candidates.

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Yesterday started as any normal day; my daughter Jaime and I took the boys to school, as always. My grandson Ryan, ten, goes all day and my son Ian, fourteen, only part. The remainder of the day he is